“The Bank of Lithuania has a zero-tolerance approach to money laundering and is committed to upholding the highest standards in the fight against such illicit activities. We are ready to help our colleagues to ascertain whether the facts that have surfaced in the media are true. The nature of our cooperation will depend on the level of assistance needed – we will investigate facts, share information and, if necessary, take collective supervisory actions. In turn, we will thoroughly examine the situation in Lithuania’s Swedbank to make sure that no suspicious transactions were ever conducted at the bank,” said Vytautas Valvonis, Director of the Supervision Service of the Bank of Lithuania, the Bank of Lithuania writes in a press release.
In terms of Lithuania’s banking sector, the share of foreign (non-resident) clients that may potentially pose money laundering risk is one of the lowest in the European Union: non-resident deposits in Lithuania account for 2.5% of total deposits, loans to non‑residents – 1.8% of total loans. Although factual data shows that the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing in Lithuania is not high, the Bank of Lithuania devotes considerable attention to this issue and has zero tolerance for such violations.
Last year, fines for money laundering-related infringements imposed on one market participant and its manager amounted to €1.2 million. In view of intensifying international financial relations and technological innovations, the Bank of Lithuania has been enhancing its supervision capacities: it has recently established the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing Division and the Electronic Money and Payment Institution Supervision Division as well as improved ML/TF risk management.
The Bank of Lithuania will continue investing in modern IT tools in order to analyse available data on money laundering risks faced by financial institutions more effectively and, if necessary, take timely measures to prevent criminal activity. Seeking to manage money laundering risks, the Bank of Lithuania takes all measures within its competence: performs financial institution inspections, reviews procedures and documents, provides consultations to potential and existing market participants.
Legal acts regulating the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing impose strict requirements on financial institutions when providing financial services to their clients. They have to acquire sufficient information on their clients, verify the identity of the client and beneficiary, continuously monitor the clients’ business relationships and operations that they perform, carry out internal investigations, and, having identified suspicious operations, report them to law enforcement authorities.