Latvian government to expand Money Laundering Prevention Service’s capacity
On Tuesday, 25 September, Latvian government reached an agreement on the need to reorganize the supervision Cabinet of Ministers has over Money Laundering Prevention Service. At the same time, members of the government also agreed to expand the service’s capacity, Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola told journalists.
In total, it is planned to invest approximately EUR 6 million in the next two years, added the minister.
In addition, it is planned to invite experts from OECD to assist. This will cost an additional EUR 218,000. Reizniece-Ozola explains that OECD experts will arrive before the end of the year. They will help determine how efficiently Latvian banks uncover true beneficiaries. It is also planned that they will assist with evaluating Latvian legislation, which includes assistance with development of guidelines to improve investigation of cases dealing with money laundering.
According to the minister, reorganization of the Control Service would help speed up decision-making processes regarding the necessary procedures in money laundering prevention. «For example, when information about suspicious transactions is received, its forwarding to law enforcement institutions could be performed without coordination with the prosecutor general’s office,» added ReiznieceOzola.
As previously reported, Control Service is currently the only state institution that works under the wing of the prosecutor’s office. Finance Ministry notes that its efficiency and quality of completion of its main duties will benefit from reorganization into an administrative-type finance supervision institution under management of the Cabinet of Ministers and performed with mediation from Interior Affairs Ministry.
In accordance with Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, Control Service is a specially-formed state institution that supervises monetary transactions and intercepts suspicious ones. The service receives, registers, processes, stores, analyses and passes information to investigative authorities, prosecutor’s office and courts of justice so that this information can be used to combat money laundering or other financial crimes.