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Improvements in fighting money laundering and terrorist financing in Albania led to upgraded ratings MONEYVAL report states

Strasbourg 8 June 2022
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Improvements in fighting money laundering and terrorist financing in Albania led to upgraded ratings MONEYVAL report states

Albania has improved measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, demonstrating good progress in the level of compliance with the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) standards, the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering body MONEYVAL states in its new follow-up report (link to the report) published today.

The positive steps taken by the authorities resulted in the upgrading of the country’s ratings from “partially compliant” to “largely compliant” in two areas related to transparency and beneficial ownership (BO) of legal persons, and regulation and supervision of financial institutions; as well as in further upgrading from “partially compliant” to “compliant” in the area of mutual legal assistance (MLA) regarding freezing of assets and confiscation.

The report examined Albania’s beneficial ownership register, market entry requirements for financial institutions and the MLA concerning confiscation. MONEYVAL has further reviewed a range of legislative, regulatory and institutional measures introduced in these areas. Due to procedural limitations, the Council of Europe’s body did not assess the degree to which measures have been effectively implemented in practice.

Further positive developments noted by MONEYVAL include the adoption of the Law “On the BO register”, which has established the necessary mechanism to obtain and keep accurate and up-to-date BO information. In addition, Albania has enhanced its legislation to ensure the accuracy of basic information of legal persons submitted to the Commercial register and has also introduced new sanctions for non-compliance with the registration requirements. However, they still fall short from being considered proportionate.

Albania has taken necessary steps in the area of licencing of non-banking financial institutions with the view to preventing criminals and their associates from either holding (or being beneficial owners of) a significant or controlling interest or holding a management function.

In the area of mutual legal assistance Albania has established the necessary mechanisms to execute foreign confiscation orders, share confiscated assets with foreign countries and provide assistance to non-conviction-based confiscation.

All in all, Albania has met MONEYVAL’s general expectation by addressing most - if not all - technical compliance deficiencies within three years after the adoption of the mutual evaluation report.

The jurisdiction has achieved full compliance with seven of the 40 FATF Recommendations constituting the international AML/CFT standard. There are still minor deficiencies in the implementation of 29 recommendations where Albania has been found “largely compliant”.

The country remains “partially compliant” with four recommendations relating to targeted financial sanctions on proliferation financing; new technologies; the transparency and beneficial ownership of legal arrangements; and the supervision of designated non-financial businesses and professions”. Albania has no “non-compliant” ratings.

Albania will remain under MONEYVAL’s enhanced follow-up and is expected to report back on progress to strengthen its implementation of AML/CFT measures in two years’ time.