Tax board wants to widen money laundering due diligence on key state posts

The Internal Security Service (ISS - Estonian Kaitsepolitsei) director is among those the MTA wants to add to the list of those requiring additional anti-money laundering due diligence. Source: ISS

The Tax and Customs Board (MTA) wants to extend the list of key national security positions requiring due diligence measures in the fight against money laundering.

"We propose extending the list … to the post of Chief of the Intelligence Intelligence Center (kaitseväe luurekeskus), Deputy Director General of the Internal Security Service - the ISS (appointed by the Minister of the Interior, with significant influence in the fight against money laundering-ed.), Deputy Director General of the Foreign Intelligence Agency (Välisluureamet), Director of the Central Criminal Police (Keskkriminaalpolitsei), Head of the Financial Intelligence Unit (Rahapesu andmebüroo) and Chairman of the Administrative Court (who authorizes security authorities on information procurement activities-ed.)" Meelis Rohtlaan, Head of the MTA's legal department, wrote in a proposal to Minister of Finance Martin Helme (EKRE).

Banks in Estonia implementing anti-money laundering (AML) rules have been asking the state for some time for a clear and definitive list along these lines, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.

Danske Bank was ordered to close its Tallinn branch late last year after it emerged that over €230 billion in potentially illicit funds had passed through its portals in the period 2007-2015, with Swedish-owned SEB bank being handed fines totaling €1 million in Estonia, and a little under €100 million in its home country, in respect of shortcomings in its AML activities in Estonia.

An investigation by Swedish public broadcaster SVT in March last year claimed that within a 10 year period, around €135 billion in high-risk money moved through Swedbank's Estonian branch. The prosecutor's office launched an investigation into Swedbank Estonia last year.

Martin Helme sent for approval a draft regulation last week, listing the positions that are considered to be of national interest and which require additional due diligence measures relating to business relations and transactions.

The draft's explanatory memorandum says that the identification of potentially politically exposed persons is vital due to the possible higher money laundering risks related to those performing key public tasks.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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