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Lithuania announces AML ‘centre of excellence’ for information sharing and assisting private entities

By Dan Byrne for AMLi

A ‘CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE’ in anti-money laundering has been given the seal of approval by the Lithuanian government.

Described as a “unique public-private partnership,” by the Bank of Lithuania, the initiative aims to act as a platform for the exchange of information on money laundering and terrorism financing typologies.

It is also being set up to assist banks and other financial institutions in the private sector in developing and conducting their AML/CTF protocols.

Director of the Supervision Service of the Bank of Lithuania Jekaterina Govina said that the decision, “definitely sends a strong signal in the AML fight.”

“It confirms that Lithuania takes a proactive, high-level approach in the field of anti-money laundering (AML), by joining the efforts of both public sector institutions and financial market participants.”

The news comes as part of a period of progress for Lithuania the field of anti-money laundering – at a time when the issue commands more and more attention in European politics.

Earlier this year, the council of Europe’s AML body MONEYVAL praised the improvements made by Lithuanian authorities in cleaning up their AML frameworks – mitigating risks and putting in place appropriate countermeasures.

Lithuania recently appeared in the FinCEN files list of countries through which dirty money had been transferred over an extended period since 2000, however the majority of relevant transactions are almost a decade old, which Govina previously stated are “incompatible with Lithuania’s current requirements.”

The Centre of Excellence was established in the country with combined input from the Lithuanian Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Lithuania and the country’s commercial banks.

Other financial market participants will be invited to participate in activities in future, the bank advised.   

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