From: Alice Taylor
MONEYVAL Finds no Significant Anti-Money Laundering Improvement in Albania

Albania has failed to significantly improve measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing in line with the recommendations set down by the FATF.

This is according to MONEYVAL, the Council of Europe unit that deals with financial crime and its prevention in the Member States. 

Following an assessment made in 2018, a number of issues and deficiencies in tackling financial crime were observed. Albania was placed into an enhanced follow up procedure and required to report on an annual basis on progress it has made in relation to recommendations made by the FATF.

It’s expected that countries will have addressed most if not all of the recommendations by the end of the third year, yet it seems Albania has not done so.

Deficiencies with technical compliance were identified with respect to targeted financial sanctions, transparency of legal arrangements, supervision of financial institutions and non-financial businesses and professions. 

MONEYVAL also examined a range of legislative, regulatory and institutional measures implemented by Albania to address these shortcomings. It found that only few positive steps were taken by the authorities concerning targeted financial sanctions, which prompted the rating for the FATF Recommendation 6 to change from “non-compliant” to “partially compliant”. 

Issues raised include the “fit and proper” requirements for casino licenses. There is no mention in Albanian law of beneficial owners who are criminals or criminal associates being excluded from the licensing process. They also noted there were limited measures to stop criminals and their associates from controlling and managing businesses. 

Any sanctions were not proportionate and do not provide a deterrent to those wishing to engage in criminal activity.

“Limited steps have been taken to improve compliance with the other Recommendations, but gaps remain. Albania is encouraged to continue its efforts to address the remaining deficiencies.”

Albania is expected to address the outstanding issues and report back to Plenary within one year.