The US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has updated its list of jurisdictions with “strategic AML and CFT deficiencies.”
Albania has remained on the list along with Barbados, Botswana, Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, Ghana, Jamaica, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Syria, Uganda, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.
New additions to the list include Burkina Faso, Cayman Islands, Morocco, and Senegal. This was after determining a lack of effective implementation of their respective AML/CFT frameworks. FinCEN did note however that they have “high-level political commitments” to strengthen them.
The Bahamas was removed from the list after it was determined that the government had implemented a number of reforms.
Albania remains under “increased monitoring” for another year, meaning little has changed despite a number of reforms.
In February last year, the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) included Albanian in its greylist for 2020. The FATF greylist includes 18 of the 20 regimes with the worst legal framework and agencies to counter money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing.
The Albanian government will need to implement a detailed action plan if it wants to get the country out of this list. All of the six most important points of improvement highlighted by the FATF seem to be basic:
– In-depth analysis to understand its money laundering and other risks sufficiently;
– Improving the timely handling of mutual legal assistance requests;
– Establishing effective mechanisms to detect and prevent criminal infiltration of the economy;
– Ensuring that accurate and up to date basic and beneficial ownership information is available;
– Increasing the number and improving the sophistication of prosecutions and confiscations for money laundering;
– Improving the implementation of targeted financial sanctions.
In March, the US State Department reported that the Albanian government had made “no significant progress towards thwarting money laundering and financial crimes in 2020.”
It added that the country is a “major money laundering destination” due to corruption, weak legal and governmental institutions, and the prevalence of organized crime networks.