Europe lacks common approach to coordination and application of sanctions - FIU head

  • 2022-03-30
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The European Commission should come up with clear proposals on how to coordinate and apply the sanctions that are imposed by the European Union (EU), Ilze Znotina, head of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), said in an interview to TV3 channel. 

Znotina voiced concerns that not all European countries are treating EU sanctions seriously and responsibly enough. Although sanctions have been announced, the European Commission lacks coordinating guidelines as to how the sanctions should be applied and how to ensure they cannot be dodged. 

Another factor that can impede the application of the EU sanctions imposed for the war in Ukraine is that not all EU member states' solidarity with Ukraine is equally strong. Znotina refrained from naming specific countries but noted that in some EU member states sanctioned persons are still able to open bank accounts.  

The FIU head repeatedly underlined that in Latvia sanctions mechanisms are working fairly well. A number of attempts to get around sanctions with the help of professionals have been detected as well, Znotina said. "We have already figured out some cases and are working to take further action together with law enforcement authorities," the FIU head added, warning that dodging sanctions is a criminal offense. 

The FIU chief revealed that many sanctioned persons are hiding behind long chains of companies or have registered their assets with relatives, including minors. In such cases, assets can only be frozen if they can be proven to be proceeds from crime. 

Znotina said, however, that attempts to get around the sanctions have not been massive in Latvia.