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On the motion of the Finance Committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act, the International Sanctions Act and the Estonian Central Register of Securities Act (157 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The amendments specify the definitions used, extend the range of obligated subjects and explain their obligations upon application of diligence measures and performance of the notification obligation. The provisions regulating the independence and competence of the Financial Intelligence Unit are also amended. According to the amendments, in the future, the Act will also apply to undertakings engaging in buying up or wholesale trade in precious metals, articles of precious metal which have become unusable, and precious stones. The initiator stated that the Financial Intelligence Unit had noted, as of the second half of 2010, a trend of handling and also trading of used articles of precious metal (including broken gold items) and gold granules of unknown origin in large quantities in Estonia. According to the suspicions of the supervisory authorities, a part of them have been acquired as a result of crime or bought up through the intermediation of illegal buying up centres. In addition, in gold sale schemes, “cover enterprises” are used through which value added tax which, as a general rule, no one has ever paid is reclaimed from the state. Thus, because of known transactions of gold sale alone, the amount of value added tax not received by the state was no less than 10 million kroons last year. The obligated subjects within the meaning of the Act also include non-profit associations and foundations to which the Act applies in the case of transactions where payments are made in cash in an amount of EUR 15000 or more. In connection with that, non-profit associations and foundations will be obliged to apply diligence measures for identification of the person of the other party of such transactions and for preservation of relevant data. Also, suspicions of money laundering or terrorist financing will have to be reported to the Financial Intelligence Unit. In the text of the International Sanctions Act, the amounts denominated in kroons are corrected and set out in euro, and the issues of jurisdiction in administrative proceedings are specified. The Bill was sent to the third reading.

On the motion of the Finance Committee, the first reading of the draft Resolution “Increasing the Holding of the Republic of Estonia in the Council of Europe Development Bank” (196 OE), submitted by the Government, was concluded. With the Resolution, the Riigikogu grants its consent to increasing Estonia’s holding in the Council of Europe Development Bank to the extent of 5086 participation certificates totalling 5,086,000 euro. The Government of the Republic will be authorised to perform the acts necessary for the subscription of the certificates. The increasing of capital will enable the Council of Europe Development Bank to better meet the increased loan needs of customers in the post economic and financial crisis situation, and, according to the approved development plan for 2010–2014 of the bank, to direct funds in the first place to the least developed member states that have less financing opportunities. The draft Resolution was sent to the second reading.

On the motion of the Legal Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Penal Code and Other Associated Acts (191 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The aim of the Bill is to reduce in Estonia the number of persons in detention who have citizenship of a foreign state, and to motivate the convicted offenders who have citizenship of a foreign state to return to the country of their citizenship. The Bill amends penal law by adding the regulation according to which accused or convicted citizens of foreign states will have the possibility to conclude an agreement for leaving the Republic of Estonia. If such an agreement is concluded, the court may order suspension of the imprisonment for a specified term in full or in part on probation with regard to a convicted citizen of a foreign state, or release him or her before the term of imprisonment, if the citizen of a foreign state leaves the Republic of Estonia under the conditions and pursuant to the procedure provided in the agreement and does not return during the period of validity of the prohibition on entry established with regard to him or her. The Bill was sent to the second reading.

The Riigikogu Press Service