Financial Services, Latvia, Legislation

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Thursday, 18.10.2018, 23:34

Latvian anti-money laundering service freezes EUR 45.6 mln in 2017

BC, Riga, 11.01.2018.Print version
The Latvian Office for Prevention of Laundering of Proceeds Derived from Criminal Activity froze EUR 45.6 million last year, which is EUR 9 million more than a year before, the anti-money laundering service's head Viesturs Burkans told LETA.

Burkans praised the anti-money laundering service's performance in 2017, noting that materials of 225 suspected money laundering cases were forwarded to law enforcement agencies over the past year. Based on the facts contained in these materials most of these cases qualified as money laundering offenses.


The anti-money laundering service has been sending investigation materials mostly to the Tax and Customs Police and the Economic Crimes Department of the Latvian State Police. By the end of the year, 85 criminal procedures were started based on the materials supplied by the anti-money laundering service.


Burkans indicated that busting large money laundering schemes has been the service's priority already since 2005. The annual amount of illegal proceeds frozen by the anti-money laundering service has grown from EUR 36,170,000 in 2016 to EUR 46,600,000 in 2017.


"Last year we saw a slight drop in large fraud schemes. The criminals have learned their lessons. The schemes have become faster and are no longer that big," said Burkans.


The head of the anti-money laundering service said that nowadays payment transactions are performed very quickly, so anti-money laundering officers have very little time to take their decisions. The existing legislative regulation, however, allows for stopping and analyzing suspicious transactions swiftly enough, Burkans said.


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