Latvia submits important anti- money laundering report

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Latvia has submitted a progress report to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on its efforts to crack down on money laundering, and related financial crimes, the Financial Intelligence Unit of Latvia (FIU) said November 20.

The report centers on the implementation of recommendations made by Moneyval experts to improve the existing system of anti-money laundering measures and the combating of terrorism and proliferation financing (AML/CTF/CPF).

The report demonstrates the work done by the Latvian responsible institutions since the end of 2017, when the visit of experts from Moneyval to Latvia was concluded and is a crucial part of Latvia's efforts to avoid further punishment for offenses committed in its banking sector before the changes were made - and particularly to avoid being placed on any international lists of known money-laundering countries, which could have a drastic efffect on its economy as well as its reputation.

Ilze Znotiņa, Head of the FIU said:

“We have achieved substantial and irreversible changes in the fight against financial and economic crimes in Latvia...Our joint work focuses on protecting the legal interests of Latvian citizens and entrepreneurs, ensuring the stability of the global financial system and protecting Europe's common market."

According to the FIU release, the progress report demonstrates that political will and support by allocating the necessary additional resources is finally in place to enable more effective prevention and combating of financial crimes.

It also says the reorganization of the financial sector by prohibiting financial transactions with shell companies, limiting suspicious foreign deposits and deposit transfers, and strengthening supervisory authorities has led to results.

The Financial Intelligence Unit froze EUR 275.8 million during the first 10 months of 2019 and has greatly increased the numbers of criminal proceedings for money laundering (by 158%) compared to the number for 2017, it said. 

It also flagged up the strategy elaborated and adopted by the Latvian State Security Service, which was previously reported by LSM and included some fascinating case histories.

At the beginning of December in Strasbourg, the Moneyval plenary session will take place, in which a previous technical report, submitted by Latvia on 30 August 2019, will be discussed.

Then the Latvian delegation will have a face-to-face meeting with FATF experts in mid-December to discuss the country's progress in improving the efficiency of the AML/CFT/CPF system according to the report just submitted. Following that, Latvia’s progress and compliance with the requirements are scheduled to be reviewed in the FATF plenary session in February 2020.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. 

The FATF monitors the progress of its members in implementing necessary measures, reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures, and promotes the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures globally. The FATF's decision making body, the FATF Plenary, meets three times per year.  

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