According to Minister of Finance Martin Helme, the fight against money laundering in banks must be smarter and more thought-out, so that honest companies are not affected in the process and Estonia does not lose new investments.
"Countering money laundering remains one of our priorities, but today we tend to get to another extreme with it. This has at times started to hinder the development of normal business environment. We do not need more bureaucracy but smarter risk management. Estonia as an e-state certainly has the potential to create these smarter solutions,” Minister of Finance Martin Helme said.
"The rules today implemented by banks in the fight against money laundering, are in part stricter than directly foreseen by legislation. Today we have many examples where several large investments have not been made in Estonia, as no bank wants to risk opening an account for them", Helme said.
"At the meeting with leading Estonian banks, we jointly recognised that there is a need for clearer and simpler rules for both banks and their customers, which we should follow in the fight against money laundering,” said Helme. "An important part in this process is a better exchange of information between banks, as well as supervisory institutions and solutions are being sought in this field.
"Training employees certainly has a role here, as are improvements to risk assessment systems, so that normal settlement and business activities are not affected," added Helme. ‘The state can be of assistance here by improving the register of beneficiary owners pursuant to the amendments to the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act approved by the Cabinet in December.”
A meeting attended by the Minister of Foreign Trade and Information Technologies as well as representatives of the Estonian Banking Association, banks, financial supervision, Eesti Pank, FinanceEstonia, the Competition Authority and the office of the Chancellor of Justice took place at the initiative of the Minister of Finance, Martin Helme, at the Ministry of Finance.