On 24 October, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the draft law “Amendments to the Law on International and National Sanctions of the Republic of Latvia” for submission to the Saeima for consideration. The draft law provides for the establishment of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) as the competent authority for the application of exemptions provided for in EU regulations and decisions on the imposition of sanctions. This creates a fully centralized system without creating a new authority.
All decisions on exemptions and authorizations will be taken by a single authority - the FIU, unless specific issues are regulated separately by law, thus ensuring uniformity and efficiency. At the same time, it ensures that there is one initial point of contact and one central authority for all enforcement matters, thus facilitating and simplifying communication between the private and public sectors.
The draft law also provides that the FIU becomes the main authority for the enforcement of sanctions in Latvia, including decisions on freezing of assets. This means recognizing certain persons as sanctioned persons and issuing binding decisions on freezing their assets if the FIU has information on the person’s obligation to comply with sanctions but the sanctions have not been complied with in accordance with the requirements of the legislation.
The FIU will also be responsible for answering questions from the private sector and public authorities on the implementation and enforcement of sanctions, organising and conducting training, developing and publishing information materials on the implementation and enforcement of sanctions, as well as liaising with foreign institutions (including EU institutions) on the implementation and enforcement of sanctions in Latvia. The procedures for the implementation of the functions will be laid down in binding Cabinet Regulations.
The new functions of the FIU are fully legally and structurally separated from the core functions of the FIU under the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism and Proliferation Financing, according to which the FIU is an independent and autonomous institution and the information obtained within its framework may be used by the FIU only as provided for in the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism and Proliferation Financing.
Ministry of the Interior