Estonian govt okays amendments for more effective prevention of money laundering

  • 2019-12-19
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – The Estonian government on Thursday endorsed and forwarded to the Riigikogu a bill to amend the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act that would substantially complement existing possibilities for the prevention of money laundering and increase protection for whistle-blowers.

The bill would set out a legislative framework for the establishment of a register of bank accounts on the basis of the existing  electronic seizure system and enable access to it for the Financial Intelligence Unit, the government's communication office said.

In addition, the circle of obligated persons will be expanded and a legal mechanism established for improving the quality of the database of beneficiaries. The change is important for increasing the transparency of the Estonian business environment more broadly.

The bill would also set out the basis for the establishment of a list of politically exposed persons in Estonia to whom stepped-up requirements would apply in the prevention of money laundering. Such persons include government ministers, members of the Riigikogu, heads of various constitutional institutions and institutions of the state, as well as members of the governing boards of political parties.

The bill would increase protection for whistle-blowers and expand the circle of persons who in their actions must take into account the requirements related to the prevention of money laundering. 

The explanatory remarks accompanying the bill describe the adoption of the bill as an important step by Estonia in transposing the European Union's Fifth Money Laundering Directive (AMLD V).