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Council of Europe demands action from Albania on money laundering

The Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering body, Moneyval, has published a new report calling for much greater action from Albania on money laundering.

The report says Albania has a good grasp of where the risks lie in terms of it money laundering protections and does have mechanisms in place for prevention and resolution, however the problem is that the mechanisms are not functioning adequately and need to be refined and expanded.

Corruption is a major problem for money laundering in Albania. Organised crime is a substantial problem and requires large scale “washing” of money, but it also tends to weaken the judiciary. Albania understands this but has given little resources to combatting the problem.

The authorities do investigate money laundering appropriately in most cases but the issue is a very low proportion of cases brought to conviction; they are usually dismissed by the prosecution.

A similar picture emerges with regards to confiscations. The measures, in theory, are in place. But the performance isn’t there; very few assets have been recovered.

On terror financing the report is more damning, with Albania seemingly not well prepared on understanding where risks lie. There is no systemic approach to monitoring.

The Bank of Albania seems to be coming along well with risk measures but the FSA has much more work to do to get up to speed. Neither the Bank of Albania nor the FSA consistently adopt a risk-based approach and there is significant work still to do.

Overall, there has been some improvement and some advances but taken as a whole there is considerable progress still to be made.

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