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European Parliament agrees to support amendments to combat money laundering

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUOn Tuesday, 28 February, members of the European Parliament agreed to support amendments to the directive against money laundering. Amendments provide for more transparency and control in order to enhance efforts to prevent money laundering, tax fraud and terrorism funding.

«The European Parliament supported the proposal from European Commission to publish information about actual beneficiaries in businesses registered in the European Union. The commission presented its position shortly after the Panama documents scandal, which revealed a number of businesses and individuals who do not pay taxes in their home country or hide their actual income,» reports Delna – Society for Openness Director Janis Volberts.

One of two rapporteurs who prepared EP’s response to EC’s proposal was Krisjanis Karins, who represents the European People’s Party in Brussels, Volberts said.

He explains that the next several months will be decisive, because this is when amendments will be coordinated with member states. It is planned that the final redaction of the directive will be ready at the beginning of June, when presidency over EP will be handed to Malta.

Delna views EP’s position as support for long-term strengthening of EU’s financial system and honest entrepreneurship.

«Delna requested creating a registry to compile information regarding true beneficiaries in business immediately after the Panama scandal. Amendments to the directive against money laundering will be a major addition to Saeima’s recently approved accounts registry, which is meant to prevent the use of Latvia’s financial system to launder illegal money,» Volters added.

He reminded that Latvian research journalists had found out that at least 16,000 entries in Panama documents scandal were associated with Latvia, specifically the services provided by local banks to non-residents.

Delna believes that in recent years it was possible to reduce the number of money laundering cases in Latvia. An important impulse came from the Finance Capital and Market Commission, which has made supervision over banks more detailed and penalties for banks with improper money laundering prevention measures stricter.

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