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Council of Europe Secretary warns against relaxing AML regulations

By Elizabeth Hearst

In an address to MONEYVAL, the Council of Europe’s Secretary Marija Pejčinivić Burić warned against relaxing anti-money laundering controls, adding that we need to “double down” on existing standards. 

Praising MONEYVAL, the Secretary General said the body’s “on-site visits” are “extensive and thorough” and described its subsequent reports as “specific and comprehensive”. Ms Burić stressed the importance of strengthening compliance across the board, in line with international standards. 

Speaking about the current Covid-19 pandemic, she warned that criminals must not be allowed to take advantage of the current crisis as it would “only make the economic situation worse” but it would also “outrage citizens” and further “strain our social fabric”. 

Ms Burić called on MONEYVALs members to “study the emerging trends carefully” to ensure that “we are ready to act”. She urged members to “monitor the accelerated development and application of virtual technologies”. 

She also highlighted the new role of “blockchain and virtual currencies like Bitcoin” and added that Covid-19 has “brought an innovation which may have the potential to aid crime”. The Secretary General underlined the dual role of MONEYVAL, as a specialised Council of Europe monitoring body and of its relationship as a contributing member of the global Financial Action Task Force (FATF). 

She added that it is within the scope of the body to submit recommendations to the Committee of Ministers and said that the Council of Europe was ready and willing to facilitate necessary reforms in member states. 

During its current plenary session, MONEYVAL is examining its mutual evaluation reports on Georgia and Slovak Republic as well as issuing follow-up reports on Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Isle of Man. 

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