Anti-money laundering plan to be submitted to Saeima by June 2019

On 25 September, the Latvian government approved what it called a "comprehensive Action Plan" in response to the recommendations included in Moneyval’s recent evaluation of Latvia’s anti-money laundering system, which has been in sharp focus ever since ABLV bank's fortunes nosedived in the wake of money laundering accusations from the U.S. authorities.

"The plan merges existing initiatives and provides a robust framework for all government institutions involved, as well as the private sector, to implement reforms identified by Moneyval’s evaluation system," a government statement said.

The "key priorities" were listed as:

1) strengthening risk-based supervision and introducing preventive measures, including management of a controlled, transparent and professional liquidation process of ABLV Bank;
2) facilitating efficient exchange of information to contribute to ML investigation, harmonization of approaches and guidelines;
3) providing supervisory, controlling and law enforcement institutions with adequate human resources by enhancing their analytical capability and capacity;
4) introducing IT solutions for timely and efficient data management and sharing among institutions;
5) improving the targeted financial sanctions system by developing a common understanding among cooperation partners about this system and the need for its operation.

"The Action Plan also includes new measures to further disrupt financial crimes. The government
will strengthen the legal framework for international sanctions enforcement, to make it easier to
punish institutions who try to evade their obligations. Latvia will also ensure greater cooperation
among intelligence institutions to identify potential violations, and commit further resources to
allow law enforcement institutions to investigate cases thoroughly and promptly," the statement said, without going into detail on any of these measures or providing a copy of the actual plan itself.

The cabinet committed to complete the implementation of the fifth European Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD5) before the set term and submit it to the Saeima (Parliament) no later than 1 June 2019 - giving itself eight months' grace.

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