At today’s sitting of the Riigikogu, deliberation of the matter of significant national importance “The problem of the prevention of money laundering” was held at the initiative of the Legal Affairs Committee. Chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee Jaanus Karilaid, Director of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute under the International Centre for Defence and Security Kristi Raik, Chairman of the Management Board of the Financial Supervision Authority Kilvar Kessler and sworn advocate Maria Mägi-Rohtmets made reports.
In his report, Jaanus Karilaid said that there were serious flaws in the functioning of public administration. “It is the task of the Riigikogu to correct such flaws and to make the state function better,” he said. “We want an honest and open discussion that would help us become stronger and function more efficiently and honestly as a state in the future,” Karilaid added. In his words, there are three aspects in the money laundering case at Danske Bank: financial, legal and political. “In the first, financial aspect, we need clarity. In the second, legal aspect, the Riigikogu needs legislative initiatives. And in the third, political aspect, we also need political responsibility,” Karilaid said.
Kristi Raik gave an overview of the security threats related to international money laundering. “Money laundering undermines the credibility of our economic system and the rule of law both in the eyes of our citizens and in the eyes of foreign observers. ‘Dirty money’ involves a risk of corruption and the possibility of using the money as a means of political pressure,” Raik said. She stressed that money laundering was a form of transnational crime that was mainly managed at the national level. “In order to fight cross-border problems and crime, including money laundering, cross-border cooperation is needed of course,” Raik said. She added that, besides domestic measures, Estonia had to take action through the European Union, so that international money laundering would become more difficult in the future.
Kilvar Kessler spoke of the practice of the Financial Supervision Authority in the issues of international money laundering. In his words, the part concerning misdemeanours and misdemeanour procedure in the Estonian penal law is not suitable for the financial sector, because the limitation period is short, and the procedure is very complicated or expensive and the rates of punishment are low in the case of legal persons. Kessler said that a centre for strategic analysis of money laundering could be established in Estonia and, in his words, the European Union needed an authority responsible for preventing money laundering. “This might enable better organisation of cross-border exchange of information, and this would enable better measurement of the quality of the activities of different parties,” Kessler said.
Maria Mägi-Rohtmets said that the Danske Bank case was extremely deplorable, but at the same time it was good that it had made politicians, members of society, bank employees and the employees of the Financial Supervision Authority to think about the credibility and transparency of the financial market. Mägi-Rohtmets said that, in terms of ensuring correct and fair supervision in the financial market, the current law was mostly sufficient, but it was not clearly understandable to everyone. “I very much wish that the wording was better in the interests of legal clarity,” Mägi-Rohtmets said. Speaking about the Danske Bank case, the sworn advocate said that it had an impact on the credibility and reputation of the country which was harmful.
During the debate, Jürgen Ligi (Reform Party), Jaanus Karilaid (Centre Party), Martin Helme (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Külliki Kübarsepp (Estonian Free Party), Raivo Aeg (Isamaa), Oudekki Loone (Centre Party), Artur Talvik, Jüri Adams (Estonian Free Party), Arto Aas (Reform Party), Valdo Randpere (Reform Party) and Peeter Ernits took the floor.
The Riigikogu changed membership of a study committee:
At today’s sitting, the Riigikogu approved the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Amendment of the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Formation of the Riigikogu Study Committee to Solve the Demographic Crisis”” (732 OE), submitted by the Faction Isamaa. 54 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Resolution, one was against, and there were seven abstentions.
With the Resolution, Helir-Valdor Seeder was appointed a member of the study committee to solve the demographic crisis, to replace Maire Aunaste. Priit Sibul continues as a substitute member of the study committee. The study committee also includes the Chairman Siret Kotka-Repinski, the Deputy Chairman Raivo Põldaru and members Yoko Alender, Monika Haukanõmm and Heljo Pikhof.
The first reading of three Bills was postponed to tomorrow:
The second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the European Union Common Agricultural Policy Implementation Act, the Fisheries Market Organisation Act, the 2014–2020 Structural Assistance Act and the 2007–2013 Structural Assistance Act (687 SE), the Bill on Amendments to the Government of the Republic Act (702 SE) and the Bill on Amendments to the Status of Members of the Riigikogu Act (669 SE) that had been scheduled for today will take place at tomorrow’s sitting.
The sitting ended at 1.59 p.m.
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu
(NB! The recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
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