Money­val re­quire­ments should be a pri­or­ity for Latvia next year

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Next year, Lat­vian government’s main pri­or­ity should be com­pli­ance with re­quire­ments of Euro­pean Coun­cil’s Com­mit­tee of Ex­perts on the Eval­u­a­tion of Anti-Money Laun­der­ing Mea­sures and the Fi­nanc­ing of Ter­ror­ism or Money­val, said Bank of Latvia Coun­cil mem­ber Mār­tiņš Kazāks in an in­ter­view to Rīta Panorāma pro­gramme of LTV.

«If we have a look at the government’s tasks for next year, we will no­tice the one of the most im­por­tant ones is sort­ing the coun­try’s fi­nan­cial sys­tem, deal­ing with sta­bil­ity risks, money laun­der­ing and ter­ror­ism fi­nanc­ing prob­lems,» says Kazāks. He says that if Latvia fails to com­ply with Money­val re­quire­ments next year, there may be prob­lems with trans­ac­tion pro­cess­ing, such as de­nied ac­cess to pay­ment pro­cess­ing sys­tems of other coun­tries, which could in turn in­crease the prices of re­sources and bud­get deficit costs for Latvia.

«If the sit­u­a­tion does not im­prove, it may be­come dif­fi­cult for lo­cal com­pa­nies to per­form in­ter­na­tional trans­ac­tions, which would make it more dif­fi­cult for them to ac­cess lend­ing services, make a num­ber of prod­ucts more ex­pen­sive and neg­a­tively af­fect the coun­try credit rat­ing. The lat­ter would make it more ex­pen­sive for the coun­try to ser­vice its debt and force the government to di­vert more money to this,» says Kazāks, adding that 60% of Latvia econ­omy con­sists of ex­port.

At the same time he ad­mits that mea­sures re­al­ized by the government so far are promis­ing. «The steps un­der­taken so far are headed in the right di­rec­tion – there is an ac­tion plan, and work is per­formed to enhance the Con­trol Ser­vice [Money Laun­der­ing En­force­ment Ser­vice]. But a year is a short pe­riod of time, which means all re­spon­si­ble in­sti­tu­tions should world very closely with one an­other every day to achieve am­bi­tious goals,» he says.

On 25 Septem­ber, the Cabi­net of Min­is­ters ap­proved the ac­tion plan for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of rec­om­men­da­tions pro­vided by Money­val. Prime min­is­ter’s ad­vi­sor for mat­ters of strate­gic com­mu­ni­ca­tion Guna Šnore said that the government has ap­proved a com­pre­hen­sive ac­tion plan for im­ple­men­ta­tion of rec­om­men­da­tions in­cluded in the fifth round of eval­u­a­tions by Money­val to help im­prove Latvia’s money laun­der­ing and ter­ror­ism fund­ing preven­tion sys­tem. The ac­tion plan’s di­rec­tion com­plies with Money­val eval­u­a­tion sys­tem’s eleven per­for­mance in­di­ca­tors.

The ac­tion plan’s main pri­or­ity is en­hanc­ing risk-based su­per­vi­sion and im­ple­men­ta­tion of pre­ven­tive mea­sures. This in­cludes con­trolled, trans­par­ent and pro­fes­sional gov­er­nance of ABLV Bank’s liq­ui­da­tion process; ef­fec­tive in­for­ma­tion ex­change among in­ves­ti­ga­tion au­thor­i­ties and equal­iza­tion of ap­proaches; pro­vi­sion of hu­man re­sources for su­per­vi­sory, con­trol and law en­force­ment in­sti­tu­tions to ex­pand their ca­pac­ity and re­sponse ca­pa­bil­i­ties; in­tro­duc­tion of new in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions for bet­ter data pro­cess­ing; im­prove­ment of sanc­tion sys­tem in co­op­er­a­tion with part­ners to as­sist with its fur­ther de­vel­op­ment and its ne­ces­sity. It is im­por­tant to men­tioned that along with adop­tion of reg­u­la­tions, Latvia has al­ready adopted a num­ber of mea­sures de­tailed in the anti-money laun­der­ing di­rec­tive – a cen­tral­ized bank ac­count reg­istry, vir­tual cur­rency reg­u­la­tion, a true ben­e­fi­cia­ries open­ness prin­ci­ple, re­duced su­per­vi­sion thresh­olds for cir­cu­la­tion of elec­tronic money (down to EUR 150). When im­ple­ment­ing this plan, the Cabi­net of Min­is­ters com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing full adop­tion of the an­ti­money laun­der­ing di­rec­tive ahead of sched­ule, re­view­ing nec­es­sary doc­u­ments be­fore 1 June 2019 to en­sure their sub­mis­sion to the Saeima as quickly as pos­si­ble.

Ieva Leiniša/LETA

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