Lithuania plans to establish an anti-money laundering competence centre, a response to several scandals that hit Nordic and Baltic banks in recent years.
The new institution’s operations would be funded with contributions from the Bank of Lithuania and commercial banks.
“Potential money launderers are getting increasingly smart and use new ways to legalise illegally obtained funds,” a draft resolution by the Lithuanian government reads. “As the environment of money laundering and terrorism funding is ever-changing, representatives of the private sector find it increasingly hard to identify potentially illegal activities.”
“By not taking action, Lithuania finds itself in a disadvantaged position in terms of risk managements, and the country’s reputation negatively affects investors’ behaviour,” according to the document.
The founders of the competence centre include the Finance Ministry, the Bank of Lithuania, SEB, Swedbank, Luminor Bank and Šiaulių Bankas. The Financial Crime Investigation Service would also be involved in its activities.
Lithuania’s 2018 assessment by the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL) showed that the country lacked financial and human resources, training and consultations for financial market participants.
Nine institutions are currently responsible for the prevention of money laundering and terrorism funding, including the Bank of Lithuania, the Cultural Heritage Department and the Gaming Control Authority.