Finance Ministry maps out shell company ban

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Latvia's Finance Ministry has mapped out a bill with amendments to the Latvian Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism, banning finance bodies from doing business with shell companies.

"It is planned, with a new article in the law, to stipulate a ban for credit institutions, payment institutions, investment broker associations and...investment management associations to cooperate with shell bodies or shell companies that fit certain criteria," the Finance Ministry said.

These criteria include having no proof of doing real business; being registered in a tax haven; and having no business address (location). 

"It is expected that the law will decrease the possibility of using Latvia's financial system for funneling laundered money. Credit institutions and the other subjects of the law...will have to take the necessary steps to lower the volume of their risk profile," the ministry said. 

Among other things, the amendments also attempt to increase cooperation and information exchange between the public and the private sector. 

The government is to examine the bill on April 10. It expected to go through a fast-track procedure at the parliament. 

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