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Statement by the Ministry of Finance Regarding the EC Reasoned Opinion
The Ministry of Finance of Estonia is of the opinion that Estonia has transposed the fourth AML Directive completely into Estonian law. We have received the Reasoned Opinion of the European Commission and will respond to it within the given two-month period. In our response we will detail how the Articles pointed out in the Reasoned Opinion have been transposed.
For example, the Opinion points out that Estonia has failed to transpose the Article concerning submitting data on beneficial owners of companies, while provisions concerning the register of beneficial owners were adopted by the Estonian parliament last year and the register itself was implemented last month. Also, Estonia has implemented a risk-based approach both in supervision and procedures of obligated entities already in 2008. The existence of anonymous accounts is entirely precluded in Estonian law, which is also the reason why there are no due diligence measures foreseen.
However, the Ministry of Finance will analyse the Reasoned Opinion of the European Commission thoroughly and is prepared to adjust the wording of some provisions of the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act, if necessary.
Regarding the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive the Commission has opened so far infringement procedures for non-communication of transposition measures against 21 Member States: three are currently at the stage of court referrals (Romania, Ireland and now Luxembourg), with one on hold (Greece), nine at the stage of Reasoned Opinions, and eight at the stage of Letters of Formal Notice.
Today, the European Commission also sent Estonia and Denmark a reasoned opinion and letter of formal notice respectively as part of this same assessment.
On Friday the 28th of November, at the session of the Government Committee on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, the members of the committee received an overview of the activities of the Financial Supervision Authority, the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Prosecutor's Office within the last months, concerning investigations of different money laundering cases.
The government of Estonia approved the draft legislation presented by the Ministry of Finance, which significantly improves the state’s possibilities to combat money laundering through substantially increased fines in the financial sector.