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The impact of the COVID-19 on the AML/CFT system

The Council of Europe published on 03 of September the „Money laundering and terrorism financing trends in MONEYVAL jurisdictions during the COVID-19 crisis” Report. https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/covid-19-trends-in-money-laundering-and-terrorism-financing.

The main goal of this paper is to provide MONEYVAL countries with an overview of the impact of COVID-19 crisis on AML/CFT systems from a regional perspective, the measures taken by jurisdictions to mitigate this impact and possible recommendations.

According to the key findings of the Report, the overall level of criminality during pandemic crisis remained stable or slightly decreased.

Because countries had to promptly implement emergency economic aid measures to support businesses and population - this created opportunity for abuse.

The need for specific medical equipment and supplies swiftly skyrocketed which provoked the rised overwhelming global demand.. To avoid an administrative blockage, some countries temporary suspended complex controls in public procurement procedures to avoid disruptions. This to have created a vulnerability for fraud and corruption.

The limits imposed to physical meetings and a significant increase in non-face-to-face business relationships and remote operations, which raised concerns concerning the full application of customer due diligence measures.

Based on key findings of the impact of pandemic crisis on anti-money laundering measures, the MONEYVAL Committee calls their members to adjust the private sectors risk-based approach matrixes to place sufficient emphasis on emerging risks and trends, such as new clients accepted during the lockdown, or remote operations.

In addition, law enforcements agencies should place sufficient focus on investigating frauds and cybercrimes committed during the pandemic crisis.

Border police and customs authorities should pay special attention to the cross-border movement of cash, which might be related to “late demand” to move illicit funds due to the second phase of Covid-19 that could be more relaxed.

The competent authorities should closely monitor the situation of public procurement, to detect possible cases of abuse and corruption, especially where public procurement controls have been relaxed.

It should be retaining that Republic of Moldova is the member of the MONEYVAL Committee of Council of Europe since 1997 and passed already fifths evaluation rounds.