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Speech of the Chairman of the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL)


3 December 2012

Secretary General, Mr Jagland
President of the Parliamentary Assembly, M. Mignon
President of the Financial Action Task Force, Mr Aamo
Distinguished guests,
and MONEYVAL delegations, experts and colleagues

Firstly, let me thank you most warmly, Secretary General, for your remarks and continuing strong support of our work.

May I also thank M Mignon for his intervention. We thank you for joining us here on this occasion. We very much share, M Mignon, your views on the importance of creating synergies between monitoring mechanisms (where this is possible) and we will most certainly explore ways in which we can develop even closer contact with the Parliamentary Assembly as we move forward with our work.

And, of course, I thank my colleague, Bjorn Aamo, for his warm words on behalf of the FATF, which is of course MONEYVAL’s key external partner in the global network of assessment bodies.

It gives me great personal pleasure that this anniversary falls during my Chairmanship of MONEYVAL. I am very pleased to welcome back my immediate predecessor, Dr Vasil Kirov, who served as our Chairman from 2006 to 2009, and his predecessor, Mr Klaudijo Stroligo – who was both our very first chairman, holding office during the first round of evaluations and who subsequently became our 3rd Chairman. I am sorry that Dr Camilleri, who as Chief Justice of Malta has important domestic business today, cannot be here. He was our first vice chairman and then our second chairman. I understand he has kindly sent a message via his compatriot, Dr Bartolo, who will read this to the plenary shortly. It is important that today we also mark the leadership and great service that these 3 former chairmen gave to this Committee in shaping its development.

I have been directly involved in MONEYVAL as head of the Russian delegation, Bureau member, vice chairman and now chairman for almost ten years. It has been a privilege for me to work with MONEYVAL and I firmly believe we have much to be proud of.

I was particularly pleased that during my chairmanship, the work of MONEYVAL was recognised so clearly by the Committee of Ministers, in 2010, by the elevation of the Committee to be a permanent, independent monitoring body of the Council of Europe reporting directly to them. This, together with the spread of MONEYVAL’s reach from 2006 beyond Council of Europe member States to Israel, the Holy See and now the UK Crown Dependencies of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man, would indicate that we are perceived externally as a very effective mechanism, playing a vital role in the global network of anti money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism assessment bodies.

We have never been just a body which writes reports and puts them in the bottom drawer. Since the decision in the second plenary in 1998 to institute a system of progress reports, underpinned by Compliance Enhancing Procedures, there has always been an emphasis on follow up. This is what a monitoring body should be about, in my view.

We have not been not been afraid to use our compliance procedures on many occasions even up to the level of public statements about one of our States – which resulted in real progress in that jurisdiction. I think we have been creative in the range of our follow up procedures and flexible in their use, so that, where necessary, we have been able to react to urgent situations, which merited immediate intervention. And we have done so with great success where circumstances required urgent action. In my chairmanship the immediate imposition of a MONEYVAL high level visit, where we had concerns about the possible effects of a Court decision on a national suspicious transaction reporting system produced quick and satisfactory legislative change so that those compliance procedures could be lifted within a matter of months. This ability to react quickly if necessary is very much a part of our strength.

I should also like to say a special word of thanks to all who have served on Bureaus during the last 15 years. A lot of hard work is done in those meetings by Bureau members in monitoring country’s follow up and developing legislation to meet MONEYVAL recommendations so we can fairly and accurately advise the plenary on whether we consider further peer pressure is necessary between evaluation visits. This unseen work by Bureau members is also vital to MONEYVAL.

I would like also to thank our scientific experts for their valuable contributions to our work and for their important role in commenting on draft evaluation reports for quality and consistency before our debates. This too adds to the quality of our products. It is good also to welcome back here today one of our distinguished former financial scientific experts, Mr Herbert Laferla, who was one of our founder members – and we look forward to hearing from him shortly.

Last but not least, I would like to thank John (Ringguth), our Executive Secretary of almost ten years, and his small but very professional secretariat, for everything that he and they do tirelessly to ensure that MONEYVAL’s work does credit to this organisation and to the global network of assessment bodies.

I think MONEYVAL is now firmly established as part of the international architecture in this field and I trust that it will only build further on its many achievements in the coming years.

Thank you.