TALLINN – The government discussed on Thursday how to best protect the interests of the Estonia state in international money laundering investigations and decided that in money laundering investigations the prosecutor's office of Estonia will be given the helm, while the legal advisor contract agreement with US law firm Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP will be terminated.
Since when it comes to money laundering investigations, we are talking foremost about investigation proceedings and cooperation in the field of legal assistance, the government decided to give the helm in representing Estonia in these investigations to the Ministry of Justice and the Office of the Prosecutor General, spokespeople for the Ministry of Finance said.
In the coming few months, legal cooperation between Estonia and the United States will strengthen further, as a justice attache of Estonia will start working in the United States.
The three-million-euro legal advisor contract agreement with Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP will be terminated.
Minister of Finance Keit Pentus-Rosimannus said that Estonia's investigation and oversight institutions have affirmed that they have good and intense direct contacts with their US partners and active cooperation in the framework of money laundering investigations is taking place seamlessly.
Information exchanges related to money laundering investigations have been taking place and will take place in the future by means of direct communication between the institutions of the two countries.
Also the capability of the Estonian state to represent its interests in the field of justice in the United States is about to grow, as Estonia is to send a justice attache in the next few months to work in the United States. One of the most important tasks for the justice attache will be to represent and defend the interests of the Estonian state in large money laundering investigations, in order for Estonia to possibly be part of the sharing of penalties in the future.
The total size of the legal advisor contract agreement concluded by Estonia and terminated by a decision of the Cabinet on Thursday is three million euros.
As on Thursday, Estonia had paid to the law firm 581,500 euros. The money freed up upon the termination of the agreement will be directed towards the conduct of other anti-money laundering activities.