TALLINN – The legal affairs committee of the Riigikogu has decided to send to the prime minister six proposals for improving the combating of money laundering in Estonia.
The proposals build on the hearings held in the legal affairs committee during the past half-year, at which the problem of money laundering was dealt with on the basis of the Danske Bank case.
The chairman of the legal affairs committee, Jaanus Karilaid, said in a press release that a committee dealing with the prevention of money laundering and terrorist finance, led by the minister of finance, was set up with the government back in 2006.
"What happened at Danske Bank unfortunately didn't make the focus of that committee, from which it can be concluded that on the level of the state the problem was not acknowledged in a timely fashion," Karilaid, MP from the ruling Center Party, said.
"Judging by the example of the Danske Bank case, information about a suspicion of money laundering did not reach the political level on time. The aim of the committee's proposals is to improve the movement of such information and better define the responsibilities of the institutions dealing with the issue of money laundering," said Uno Kaskpeit, deputy chairman of the legal affairs committee.
The committee is making a proposal to the prime minister to analyze and improve the work of the government committee dealing with the prevention of money laundering. It also recommends to strengthen the political level of the work of the government committee and oblige the minister of finance or, in the absence of the minister of finance, another member of the government to chair its meetings.
Among other things, the committee recommends to establish a control mechanism over the actions of the Financial Supervision Authority and the Financial Intelligence Unit. In addition, the committee proposes to draft a legislative amendment that would allow surveillance to be used in the prevention and detection of all money laundering related offenses.
Since the end of July, ten hearings have taken place in the parliamentary legal affairs committee on the subject of prevention of money laundering. Representatives from the central bank, the Office of the Prosecutor General, the FSO, the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Central Criminal Police, as well as other individuals connected with the topic have participated in these meetings.