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Estonian government aims to intensify fight against money laundering

Estonia is stepping up efforts to combat money laundering.
Estonia is stepping up efforts to combat money laundering. Source: Arvo Meeks/Eesti Meedia/Scanpix

The Estonian government at Thursday's Cabinet meeting instructed the government committee at the Ministry of Finance to present proposals by October for intensifying the combating of money laundering.

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) underscored Estonia's commitment to zero tolerance towards money laundering in Estonia, according to a government press release.

"Legislation on money laundering and terrorism financing has become stricter in recent years," Ratas said. "The regulation today differs significantly from the one in force at the time of large-scale questionable transactions. It is important that good cooperation between the state and financial institutions continues in order to prevent these kind of situations in the future."

According to Minister of Finance Toomas Tõniste (Pro Patria), our institutions have made significant efforts to minimise the risk and keep the integrity of the Estonian financial and banking sectors high.

"In the case of Danske Bank branch activities, the Financial Supervision Authority, Estonian financial supervision and resolution authority, took decisive steps in 2014 and 2015 resulting in the bank ending its high-risk non-resident portfolio in Estonia," Tõniste noted. "The findings in Estonia were also presented to the Danish financial supervisory authority."

The government committee responsible for the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing was tasked with making additional proposals for combating money laundering and enhancing the responsibility of financial institutions.

Financial Supervision Authority board chairman Kilvar Kessler, Financial Intelligence Unit chief Madis Reimand and Prosecutor General Lavly Perling provided the Cabinet with an overview of actions taken and possible future proposals.

The work of the Financial Supervision Authority has resulted in a clear reduction of high-risk non-residents in the Estonian financial system in the past four years. The Financial Intelligence Unit of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) likewise concluded that the number of questionable transactions has significantly decreased to date.

Estonia's Office of the Prosecutor General launched an investigation into potential money laundering in the Estonian branch of Danske Bank on Tuesday, 31 July. Prosecutors in Denmark launched their own investigation into the matter a week later.

The Financial Supervision Authority had issued injunctions to the bank in 2007.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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