RIGA - Latvia is doing a good job of implementing recommendations issued by the Council of Europe's Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (Moneyval), Finance Minister Janis Reirs (New Unity) said in an interview with LETA.
As reported, Moneyval has placed Latvia in enhanced follow-up procedure because of the number of Low and Moderate ratings awarded for Effectiveness. Two areas were considered to have low levels of effectiveness - relevant beneficial ownership information and preventing proliferation financing.
In Reirs' words, implementation of Moneyval's recommendations has been proceeding very well and the recommendations will be implemented on time.
"Furthermore, implementation of Moneyval recommendations will not be formal, the financial system will be overhauled," said Reirs. "I emphasize at meetings with private banks' representatives that financial operations will continue in Latvia in the future, but they will have to be transparent."
The Financial and Capital Market Commission and the Office for Prevention of Laundering of Proceeds Derived from Criminal Activity (Control Service) are two institutions that are responsible for implementation of most of Moneyval recommendations. When asked if the two institutions could be merged in order to better enforce measures against financial crime, Reirs said that they had different functions and therefore they could not be merged.
"The Control Service does not supervise banks, it reacts to banks or supervisory authorities' reports and data obtained through investigations. The Control Service cannot initiate probes, which can only be done by the financial institution itself or the Financial and Capital Market Commission. The commission and the Control Service have different profiles and merging the two institutions is not on the agenda at the moment, furthermore, no recommendations call for such a merger," stressed Reirs, adding that merging the Financial and Capital Market Commission with the Bank of Latvia was not being considered either.