FIU Latvia urges the public to recognise financial crimes


On 3 March, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU Latvia) launched a month-long informative educational campaign to inform the public about the types of financial crimes, risks and actions to avoid them. This year's campaign "Footprints of Crime Cannot be Washed Away" highlights crimes that are at the root of money laundering such as drug trafficking, terrorism, corruption, fraud and human trafficking.

“In recent years, a lot has been done to inform the public about financial crimes and the risks related to them. In general the Latvian public is becoming less tolerant of financial crimes. However, there is still a fairly considerable section of Latvian society that is prepared to engage in financial crimes and does so. Therefore, communication, cooperation, and awareness are important preconditions for everybody to be able to recognize and prevent a potential financial crime, and not get involved in it,” explained the Acting Head of the FIU Latvia, Toms Platacis.


The results of the public opinion survey conducted by the FIU at the end of last year show that, in general, society understands that tax evasion, corruption, money laundering and smuggling of contraband goods have negative impact on public welfare and quality of life. However, the survey also indicates that a significant section of Latvian society is prepared to commit financial crimes in their own interests or to use the benefits derived from them.


The opening conference of the campaign was attended by the Republic of Latvia's Minister of Internal Affairs, Māris Kučinskis, the Acting Head of the FIU Latvia Toms Platacis, the Director General of the State Revenue Service Ieva Jaunzeme, the Deputy Chief of the State Police, Chief of the Main Criminal Police Department Andrejs Grišins, KNAB Chief Jēkabs Straume and well-known influencer Edgars Bāliņš.


Opening the event, the Minister of the Interior stressed that the fight against money laundering is a matter of national security, because unbridled organised crime undermines the country's legitimacy and threatens the safety of society, causing significant harm to the country's security, welfare and sustainability.


“Unbelievably fast technological development has transformed money beyond recognition. It has become digital. Sooner rather than later, money's familiar characteristics like the clinking of coins or the rustle of banknotes, will become history. It will be possible to recognise and experience them in museums or among collectors who dream of bring time to a standstill. Today, one of money's principal characteristics is its incredible speed of movement: a few clicks on a computer keyboard, and enormous sums of money from Latvia can end up elsewhere in Europe, Asia or America. Of course, money also flows in the opposite direction. Although money can arrive in Latvia from anywhere in the world in an instant, this does not resolve questions about the origin, purity or dirtiness of such money,” said Minister of the Interior Māris Kučinskis during the campaign opening event.


Talking about Latvia's struggle with both the financial proceeds of crime and more mundane violations that comprise the shadow economy, SRS Director General Ieva Jaunzeme reiterated that, “Both the world of organised crime and every entrepreneur who pays his employees envelope wages must realise that the sense of impunity is illusory. Investigators have modern technology and data analysis tools at their disposal, with which to detect unlawful activities. And if we are joined by a knowledgeable and honest society, we can protect our economy.”


In recent years, KNAB has instigated quite a large number of criminal proceedings based on information provided by the Financial Intelligence Unit in connection with money laundering by foreign officials. KNAB Chief Jēkabs Straume stressed that, “It is a lot easier for citizens to see, recognise and condemn crimes that are clearly visible to the human eye and whose consequences are directly measurable. Financial crimes, including corruption, are not like this. Law enforcement agencies and other services are working side by side to combat this invisible enemy. I implore the public to understand and acknowledge the destructive harm caused by this invisible enemy and to join the fight, reporting instead of remaining indifferent.”


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Financial Integrity Newsletter – June edition


Financial Integrity Newsletter – June edition

FIU Latvia and Latvijas Banka implement knowledge development activities under an EEA grant project


FIU Latvia and Latvijas Banka implement knowledge development activities under an EEA grant project