Next year's Moneyval report of crucial import - Bank of Latvia

While Latvia's main economic risks are related to the global market, next year the crucial event to determine the course of the Latvian economy will be an upcoming report by Moneyval, a Council of Europe body dedicated to anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CTF).

That's what Bank of Latvia council member Mārtiņš Kazāks told LTV October 3.

He said that events outside the Latvian economy will remain the chief influencing factors. "If the world economy slows down, we will feel it immediately as we're a small, open economy," he said.

Nevertheless in 2019 the chief influencing factor will be the Moneyval progress report. If Latvia is unable to meet its requirements, there may be problems with using foreign payment systems, which in turn would make it more expensive for Latvia to access other markets.

"If we look at the tasks for next year's government, one of the main ones remains dealing with the finance system, stability risks, as well as money laundering and terrorism financing problems," said Kazāks.

He claimed that while Latvia is taking the right measures in this area, there's very little time and therefore ambitious goals should be set and institutions should cooperate closely to meet them.

Recently a long-awaited report over AML and CTF was published, mapping out the situation in Latvia's finance sector.

With the report, Moneyval put Latvia under further future scrutiny as it says institutions have failed to comply with recommended practices in preventing criminal proceeds from being laundered in the country.

Data for the report was collected in on-site visits late last year, well before ABLV Bank folded after being hit by US sanctions over anti-money laundering and before Latvia hastily introduced a number of initiatives designed to curb the flow of illicit proceeds. 

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