The Estonian Government creates the legal basis for developing a bank account register based on the existing electronic arrest system and provides the anti-money laundering bureau with access to it, the Estonian government press service said on Thursday, December 19.
The circle of persons obliged to apply measures to combat money laundering will also expand, and a legal mechanism will be created to improve the quality of data on real beneficiaries. The changes are important for increasing the transparency of the Estonian business environment, the press service of the government said.
The bill also creates the basis for compiling a list of persons related to the interests of the state, for whom increased requirements to combat money laundering will begin to apply. Such persons include, for example, ministers, members of the Riigikogu, heads of various constitutional institutions and state institutions, as well as members of the board of parties.
In addition, the bill strengthens the protection of persons reporting violations and broadens the circle of people who should consider the requirements for combating money laundering in their activities.
According to the press service of the Estonian Government, this draft amendment is an important step in implementing the requirements of the European Union Anti-Money Laundering Directive.
It is worth noting that the Estonian authorities very peculiarly understand the term “money laundering”. Sputnik Estonia editorial staff received letters from the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board containing threats of criminal prosecution. These letters emphasize that justice may also apply to those who, having any information about legal entities or individuals related to Sputnik, do not report this to the Money Laundering Bureau.
At the end of October 2019, Estonian branches of international banking groups froze wage transfers, tax payments and rental payments for the Sputnik Estonia office. The justification was the inclusion in 2014 of Brussels by the director general of the Russia Today MIA Dmitry Kiselyov in the EU sanctions lists for his position on events in Ukraine. At the same time, Kiselyov is not the owner of MIA “Russia Today”. The news agency belongs to the Russian state, is not listed in any sanctions list, and no measures are applied to its employees in any EU country.