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Minister of Finance: The key to preventing money laundering is a thorough grasp of the risks

2. May 2019 - 14:23

At its meeting today, the AML/CFT Committee (the Anti-Money Laundering Government Committee, and the Countering the Financing of Terrorism Committee) approved a broad national risk assessment methodology to be introduced by summer 2020.

According to the Minister of Finance Martin Helme, the prevention of money laundering is a definite priority of the new government, which was also included in the coalition agreement.

“There is no place for money laundering in Estonia, and this government will do everything to keep our financial environment fair and transparent. The better our awareness of the current and future risks, the better our ability to prepare for these and prevent these,” Helme said.

The purpose of the national risk assessment on money laundering and terrorist financing prevention is to identify and understand the future risks and to contribute to their prevention. The risk assessment methodology was developed by PricewaterhouseCoopers and is based on World Bank methodology, but tailored to fit Estonia’s conditions and particularities.

At the end of last year, the AML/CFT Committee submitted a thorough analysis and a number of proposals on enhancing the prevention of money laundering. The proposals mostly concerned both the institutional and legal frameworks, and were further developed by two expert working groups. As the cases of money laundering that have recently been reported in the media are old cases and the current situation has now changed, the proposals are mainly based on the current perspective and future risks.

In response to the proposals, a strategic monitoring and analysis centre on money laundering and terrorist financing prevention will be established at the Financial Intelligence Unit. This will be complemented by significantly increased fine rates in the financial sector and tougher regulations on virtual currency service providers.