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The government takes combating money laundering very seriously

4. October 2019 - 14:25

Stenbock House, 3 October 2019 – At a cabinet meeting, the government took stock of developments in combating money laundering and stressed the need to further improve prevention and deterrence.

According to Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, combating money laundering is vital to Estonia, as the credibility of the economic environment is one of the pillars of the country's prosperity and competitiveness – that is why it is clearly stated as a goal in the government’s coalition agreement. ‘Today we got an overview of the developments in the field and discussed future risks as well. In 2020, we have decided to further fund the Police and Border Guard Board’s capacity of combating money laundering with 1.6 million euros and the Prosecutor’s Office with 0.3 million euros. We are also planning to modernise the legal system. The government is taking forceful steps forward in the fight against money laundering,’ the prime minister said.

On the legislative front, in the coming months the government wants to approve a number of bills needed to transpose the EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD V) on time by January next year. ‘In this regard, we want to significantly increase the fines for money laundering offences, as well as to expand the circle of persons who must comply with the requirements of the Money Laundering Prevention Act,’ explained Martin Helme, Minister of Finance.

In the coming years, Estonia is awaiting a new evaluation by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (Moneyval). This time, it will assess how Estonia implements the various laws and regulations in practice and the capacity of the authorities to actually tackle money laundering. ‘It is very important for Estonia to be prepared for the international assessment of money laundering risks, because it is used by many parties to draw conclusions about our country and its business environment,’ added Martin Helme, Minister of Finance.