TALLINN - Estonian Minister Mart Vorklaev took part in a meeting of ministers of Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (Moneyval) and affirmed that the committee continues to vigorously combat money laundering.
A high-level declaration and the Moneyval strategy for 2023-2027 were adopted at the meeting. Discussions were also held about raising awareness as well as current and future challenges in combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
Moneyval underscored how critical it is to acknowledge the dangers of money laundering and terrorist financing.
"The goal is to make the prevention of money laundering more effective in national systems," the Estonian finance minister, Mart Vorklaev said, adding that Estonia has contributed to Moneyval's work with human resources and plans to continue this practice in the future.
"Preventing money laundering is a priority for us and we continue to further regulate the area," Vorklaev said, adding that, for example, the risks of businesses handling cryptocurrencies remains high.
Of the 2,000 crypto businesses operating a couple of years ago, only 150 remain that have been permitted to keep their license.
"This number has greatly decreased due to efficient oversight, and we can monitor the activities of the remaining businesses. It is a good example of bold and much needed steps that have been implemented," the minister noted.
The declaration adopted on Tuesday deals with ways for strengthening political cohesion in the fight against money laundering and terrorism through Moneyval. The declaration also states that, together with the Council of Europe, the members show their support to Ukraine against the aggression organized by the Russian Federation. In Estonia, based on EU sanctions, nearly 20 million euros' worth of Russian assets have been frozen.
"It has been a great effort and we hope that soon we will be able to use these assets to support and rebuild Ukraine," Vorklaev said.
Among other things, the declaration also mentions the joint achievement of the goals set out in the strategy through national efforts. Moneyval, which is tasked with assessing compliance with key international standards for preventing money laundering and terrorist financing, wants to continue to make recommendations for improving national systems through mutual evaluations.
The declaration acknowledges that implementing the activities in the strategy requires additional resources and at present, only the key activities can be carried out. The document also recommends to improve political support.
Moneyval is the European regional organization for combating money laundering, to which each country has appointed experts in the field, who also participate in evaluations. Estonia successfully passed the assessment in 2021-2022 and a positive report was approved in January 2023.