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Minister of Finance G. Skaistė: „Lithuania’s ambition to become the European AML Competence Centre“

Date

2021 09 10

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In Slovenia Minister of Finance Gintarė Skaistė during the meeting with the Euro Commissioner for Financial Markets Policy Mairead McGuinness noted that Lithuania has the ambition to become the AML competence centre in Europe. According to the Minister, Lithuania supports the European Commission’s proposal to strengthen the AML/CFT system at European level and added that Lithuania could be a suitable location for the newly created EU-level AML/CFT institution.

According to the Minister, the creation and implementation of unified EU-level AML/CFT rules is an important and welcome step to ensure the overall implementation of risk management standards. The newly established  EU-level AML/CFT institution for which a mandate to supervise the most risky financial players is to be granted will play a key role in this regard.

„Lithuania has succeeded in becoming an international Fintech centre, and now we have the ambition to become an EU-wide competence centre for risk management in the financial sector, including money laundering risks. We have relevant institutional and regulatory experience in managing risks in this field, both in the banking and non-banking sectors. This experience is also useful in creating a future EU-level institution with ambitious objectives. We believe that Lithuania has something to offer as a possible place to settle this new EU institution“, – stated G. Skaistė.

Moreover, according to the Minister, in addition to the accumulated experience of AML/CFT risk management, Lithuania is distinguished by cooperation with the private sector. The Money Laundering Competence Centre in the country brings together public institutions and the private sector to maximise risk management and strengthen the framework for preventing money laundering and terrorist financing.

The Minister also noted in the meeting with Commissioner McGuinness that Lithuania already stands out for AML issues on the political agenda. At the same time, international assessments show that Lithuania is among the least risky jurisdictions in the world in terms of money laundering risk, e.g. Lithuania ranks 11th in the Basel AML Index rating.

„In Lithuania, we have a strong, talented pool of specialists with relevant anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism competences, partly due to the developed Fintech sector. This talent resource, together with a wider ecosystem would undoubtedly be important for the smooth functioning of the new institution", said Minister G. Skaistė.

The newly created European AML/CFT institution is expected to have around 250 employees. The institution is planned to be established at the beginning of 2023, while a direct supervision of financial sector entities is planned to start in 2026.