In a report published today, the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering Committee (MONEYVAL) calls on the Romanian authorities to address important concerns in respect of key institutional players in the anti-money laundering field, notably the financial intelligence unit and supervisory authorities, and their enforcement results.
The report sets out an analysis of the implementation of international and European standards on anti-money laundering/combating financing of terrorism. The main findings can be summed-up as follows:
- The money laundering offence is broadly in line with international standards and the number of investigations, prosecutions and convictions has positively increased. Further measures are required to strengthen the implementation of the money laundering offence, and to address structural and capacity deficiencies in the law enforcement and judicial processes.
- Romania has improved its legal framework and its ability to freeze, seize and confiscate proceeds of crime. However, law enforcement authorities need to conduct parallel financial investigations proactively alongside the investigation of proceeds-generating crimes.
- Romanian authorities need to strengthen the independence of the financial intelligence unit by divesting the government-appointed Board of its decision-making powers on core operational functions.
- The system for the detection of physical cross-border transportation of currency raises serious concerns given the significant vulnerability of the Romanian financial system to cash-based money laundering.
- The framework providing for customer due diligence requirements, reporting of suspicious transactions, and record-keeping is not yet fully in line with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations. Most financial institutions appeared to implement the required standards adequately. Implementation seemed weaker by non-financial institutions.
- MONEYVAL has several concerns regarding the effectiveness and consistency of the anti-money laundering and terrorist financing supervision, and of the application of sanctions for non-compliance with the relevant requirements by the relevant supervisory authorities.
- Further efforts are required to ensure that the national coordination mechanism in place regularly reviews the Romanian anti-money laundering and terrorist financing system and its effectiveness. Formal and informal cooperation by competent authorities appears to be conducted in an effective manner. However a number of deficiencies remain to be addressed concerning the legal framework for international cooperation by supervisory authorities with their foreign counterparts.