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Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise, member of the Constitutional Committee Kalle Laanet and Chairman of the Finance Committee Annely Akkermann made reports on bringing the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act, the Credit Institutions Act, the Law of Obligations Act and the State Fees Act into conformity with the Constitution.

The Riigikogu supported the proposal of the Chancellor of Justice to bring into conformity with the Constitution the provisions in the Acts that do not allow a person to pay a state fee or to take legal action to protect their rights where a bank has prevented them from using their bank account in connection with money laundering and terrorist financing prevention requirements.

According to Madise, there is a whole range of such complaints in different variations. “Going to court and generally living your life as a reasonable member of society is a fundamental right,” Madise stressed. She added that, in the interaction of the Acts that were the subject of that proposal, a situation had emerged where a person lost those possibilities, including the possibility of going to court, if they did not use covert identities or shadow accounts, all of which, as was known, were also prohibited. “Banks can also be understood because suspicions of money laundering and the need to prevent terrorism are indeed serious national objectives. And banks are subject to very strict financial supervision, especially in Estonia,” Madise said.

The Chancellor of Justice proposed solutions which can broadly be divided in two. “One is to encourage and expand cash flow. The second option, which our administration would urge you to consider very seriously, is to create such a regulation that any person – even if they have been convicted of money laundering and are at liberty, but most of these people who are in trouble have not been convicted of anything – can still have a bank account where transactions are clearly monitored,” Madise explained. In her opinion, it is perfectly possible to set up such a system, and it will not result in the cessation of dollar payments, in a conflict with European Union law or anything else. However, provisions of the law are still needed if the Riigikogu decides to go down that route,” Madise said.

Laanet gave an overview of the discussion that had taken place in the Constitutional Committee, where it had been found that the Chancellor of Justice’s proposal was justified and the Riigikogu should bring the Acts into conformity with the Constitution.

According to Akkermann, the Finance Committee had also decided to support the Chancellor of Justice’s proposal to solve the problem and introduce an amendment to the Act that would oblige banks to open a bank account for a person, even if with restrictions, under certain conditions. Setting restrictions on the use of account could reduce the risks of money laundering or terrorist financing.

She also pointed out that anti-money laundering requirements were relatively strict. There is in fact a contradiction between different directives, and it is being tried to be resolved. According to the explanations that the representative of the Ministry of Finance had given to the committee, a Bill on the Law of Obligations Act and the Credit Institutions Act was in the process of being finalised and the Ministry was planning to send it for approval in May.

The Finance Committee had also discussed the European Commission’s report analysing the Anti-Money Laundering Directive and the directive on the access to the payment service. The European Commission had also come to the conclusion that the two directives were in principle in conflict with each other in some respects.

Andre Hanimägi took the floor during the debate.

65 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the proposal of the Chancellor of Justice. The President of the Riigikogu instructed the Finance Committee to initiate a Bill to bring the Acts into conformity with the Constitution.

Minister of the Interior Lauri Läänemets replied to the interpellations submitted by members of the Riigikogu concerning Russian citizens’ right to vote in municipal elections in Estonia during Russia’s war against Ukraine (No. 624) and the alleged vandalisation of Andrei Šumakov’s car (No. 630).

Rain Epler took the floor during the open microphone.

The sitting ended at 5.22 p.m.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian)

Video recording will be available to watch later on the Riigikogu YouTube channel.

Riigikogu Press Service
Gunnar Paal,
+372 631 6351, +372 5190 2837
[email protected]
Questions: [email protected]

 

 

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