By Elizabeth Hearst
Lithuania is to establish a new anti-money laundering competence operation in an attempt to resolve several money laundering scandals that has engulfed the Baltic state in recent years.
The operation will be funded from the Central Bank of Lithuania in conjunction with the country’s commercial bank, as reported by The Baltic Times.
The operation will see cooperation between the Bank of Lithuania, SEB, Swedbank, Luminor Bank and Siauliu Bankas with both the Financial Crime Investigation Service and the Finance Ministry also involved.
A draft statement from the Lithuanian government reads “Potential money launderers are taking increasingly smarter steps and use new ways to legalize illegally obtained funds and as the money laundering and terrorism funding environment is ever-changing, representatives of the private sector find it increasingly harder to identify potentially illegal activities and their signs,”
“By not taking action, Lithuania finds itself in a disadvantaged situation in terms of risk management, and the country’s reputation negatively affects investors’ behaviour,” the statement added.
In 2018, an assessment by the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism stated that the country lacked financial and human resources.
It found the country had inadequate training and consultations for financial market participants, poor understanding about the risk of non-financial activities and unsatisfactory reporting on suspicious transactions. The report also stipulated that the country’s national risk assessment was not sufficiently comprehensive.
Nine institutions in Lithuania hold responsibility for the prevention of money laundering and terrorism funding including the Bank of Lithuania, the Culutal Heritage Department, Gaming Control Authority, Lithuanian Bar Association, the Chamber of Notaries, Auditors and Bailffs, the Lithuanian Assay Office and the Financial Crime Investigation Service.
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