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States must do much more to combat money-laundering

PACE has again urged Council of Europe member States to do more to confiscate illegal assets, including by reversing the burden of proof as to the illegal nature of the assets, pointing out that national and international efforts to combat money-laundering are still “falling far short of declared objectives”.

Approving a resolution based on a report by Thorhildur Sunna Ævarsdóttir (Iceland, SOC), the Assembly’s Standing Committee called on states to give their Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) sufficient resources and full autonomy to operate free from any political interference in their work.

All FIUs should also be given the power to temporarily block suspicious transactions pending further investigation, the parliamentarians said. Law enforcement bodies – such as the police, prosecution and courts – should also be strengthened, as should constructive dialogue with the private sector (reporting entities) to improve the quality of suspicious transaction reports.

Finally, the Standing Committee called for any citizenship-for-investment programmes to be closed down, as they risk undermining the fight against money-laundering.