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Government Committee: Estonia reacts quickly to the risks of the field of virtual currency

17. September 2021 - 15:37

The risks that have arisen in the field of virtual currencies require quick action to ensure a competitive and fair business environment. Estonia intends to quickly take serious steps in this direction, as stated at the meeting of the money laundering and terrorism financing prevention government committee. Different state institutions discussed at the meeting on Wednesday 15 September, activities in the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing.

The Head of the Government Committee, Minister of Finance Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, stated that the risks of money laundering and terrorism financing related to providers of virtual currency services have increased in Estonia and the current situation requires quick action by the state.

"The Estonian national risk assessment highlighted that our greatest risks are among the providers of virtual currency services. We received at the last meeting of the government committee from different supervisory and investigative institutions an overview of the growth in the volume of activity and risks related to the field,” explained Keit Pentus-Rosimannus. "The aim of the government is to ensure that in the field of virtual currencies the risks of money laundering and terrorism financing would be maximally mitigated. I am initiating the approval of a draft law that toughens the requirements and increases transparency of the field, relative to what has been valid until now. I also find that it would be reasonable for the Financial Intelligence Unit to consider temporarily suspending the issue of new licenses until the new regulation enters into force, to reduce the further accumulation of risks. The Estonian business environment is open to honest businesses and our aim is to limit any suspicious activity that could be a reference to financial crime.”

The government committee members received at the meeting an overview of the state of preparations for the Moneyval evaluation, prevention of financing of weapons of mass destruction, planned changes in the Estonian legal framework and the new European Union package on the prevention of money laundering. 

The current state of preparations for the Moneyval evaluation, scheduled for Spring 2022 was also discussed. Moneyval will analyse at the evaluation this time how Estonia applies laws and regulations in practice and what is the capacity and effectiveness of Estonian institutions to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing.

The activities of the government committee on money laundering and terrorism financing prevention, include the shaping of policy on the prevention of money laundering and terrorism, as well as coordination in the mapping of national risks and in the compiling of action plans for their mitigation. The Committee consists of the top heads of different ministries, the Financial Intelligence Unit, Tax and Customs Board, Prosecutor's Office, police institutions, Bank of Estonia and the Financial Supervision Authority.

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