RIGA DECLARATION
    on the fight against money laundering
    (14 November 1996)


    Realising the growing threat to national economies posed by the economic power of narcotics trafficking and other forms of organized crime;

    Realising the negative consequences of the use of financial institutions for money laundering, particularly upon their public image and upon international confidence in the financial system;

    Conscious that countries may be targeted by criminal organizations and exposed to the infiltration of criminal capital by reason of their geographic location, their levels of economic development and the simultaneous proliferation of organized crime;

    Convinced that the fight against money laundering requires the adoption of modern and effective methods to deprive criminals of the fruits of their crimes;

    Convinced that the fight against money laundering must be a concerted joint effort between States, notably those of the European Union and the Baltic Governments, so that organized crime cannot take advantage of gaps or differences in national legislation or procedures;

    Committed to the Baltic States being part of the anti-money laundering efforts of the international community, in a determined and constructive manner;

    Intending to give full effect to the provisions of the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988, The Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds of Crime, 1990, and to implement anti-money laundering measures based on the forty Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering;

    Desiring, in order to improve and facilitate international cooperation, to harmonize anti-money laundering measures with those already in force, in particular those embodied in the European Directive on Prevention of the Use of the Financial System for the Purpose of Money Laundering, 1991;

     

    We, on behalf of the Governments of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, reaffirm our commitment to prevent by any and all means the use of our countries' financial institutions for the purpose of laundering criminal proceeds, and we shall pursue as a priority, in harmony with other members of the international community:

    • the adoption, where not already in force, of national legislation against money laundering;
    • establishing as a criminal offence the laundering of proceeds derived from any serious offence, consistent with the definition set out in the 1988 Vienna Convention and the 1990 Strasbourg Convention;
    • providing for confiscation of proceeds derived directly or indirectly from criminal activity, including the property into which such proceeds have been transformed or converted and property with which such proceeds have been intermingled;
    • preventing the abuse of sectors of the economy by organized crime for money laundering, in the spirit of the instruments referred to above;
    • facilitating the cooperation of the banking and financial community, by means of measures providing for the identification of customers, the obligatory reporting of suspicious transactions, access to banking, financial and commercial records, and where necessary, the lifting of bank secrecy by judicial order for the purpose of criminal investigations;
    • permitting mutual legal assistance with other States in matters of money laundering investigations, prosecutions and judicial proceedings, including those relating to freezing, seizure and confiscation of assets;
    • the establishment of adequate means to strengthen international cooperation, permitting rapid and effective exchange of information and collaboration in investigations;
    • the establishment of central units to receive and process information and intelligence relating to money laundering, including disclosures from the financial sector;
    • the implementation of training programmes for those responsible for applying the law and in cooperation with the financial, real estate and other targeted sectors, training programmes for their personnel.

    We, on behalf of the European Commission, the United Nations International Drug Control Programme and the Financial Action Task Force, reaffirm our support for the commitment by the Baltic States in the fight against money laundering, and we undertake to work with those States in assessing their needs in this regard. The European Commission and the United Nations International Drug Control Programme also undertake, having regard to the circumstances of the Baltic States, to seek from the member States of their respective organizations, financial and other support in order to provide the necessary technical assistance in the following areas:

    -  drafting of laws and/or further legal instruments against money laundering;

    -  training and advisory services for those entrusted with the implementation of the law, including those involved in financial intelligence and financial investigation units, as well as personnel of the financial, real estate and other targeted sectors;

    -  facilitating international cooperation.

            We further agree to begin the process of defining these needs in a series of workshops to be held at Riga on 15 November 1996, with a view to putting forward an agenda by representatives of the legal, law enforcement and financial sectors, as to actions to be taken.

     

    Done at Riga, this 14 November, 1996

    For the Government of Estonia,
    Tiit Vahi, Prime Minister

    For the Government of Latvia,
    Andris Škele, Prime Minister For the Government of Lithuania,
    Mindaugas Stankevicius, Prime Minister

    For the United Nations International Drug Control Programme,
    Giorgio Giacomelli, Executive Director

    For the European Commission,
    Mario Monti, Member

    For the Financial Action Task Force,
    Fernando Carpentieri, President