Prime Minister: sanctions and AML efforts can significantly curtail Russia’s capacity in sustaining war and bring back peace in Europe sooner


2023 05 17


As Russia seeks to corrupt and weaken institutions and societies in democratic countries, the effective prevention of money laundering also gains political and national security importance, Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė said at the annual conference of the Centre of Excellence in Anti-Money Laundering, organised jointly with the Bank of Lithuania, on Wednesday.

In her welcoming address at the conference, On the Front Line of the New Reality, the Lithuanian Head of Government has highlighted the effective implementation of the international sanctions against Russia, which, together with anti-money laundering measures, can significantly restrict Russia’s capacity to continue its war against Ukraine, and play an important role for the future of European security architecture.

‘Anti-money laundering institutions and experts safeguard values that underpin the effective functioning of democracy – the rule of law, transparency, and respect for freedoms and human rights. As it is the autocrats and their inner circle who are the largest abusers of democratic and our financial systems, of our rights and privileges. In doing so, they pose a grave risk to the integrity of our values and to the credibility of Western democratic system. The Western robustness is gaining an ever-greater significance, noted the Prime Minister.

While Russia tries to downplay the impact of the sanctions, at the same time, we see active attempts by Russia to seek the lifting or easing of sanctions. We are also witnessing various ways of circumventing sanctions, which, according to the Prime Minister, endangers the national security of Europe and poses the risks to the lives of Ukrainian soldiers and prolongs the war.

‘The experience of the recent years has shown that the implementation of sanctions and the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing are interconnected, and that government efforts alone are insufficient to address them effectively’, said the Prime Minister.

On national level, Lithuania has made substantial efforts and it has been pro-actively engaged with the European Commission and other EU countries on the issue of sanctions evasion and has been submitting concrete proposals to close the loopholes. Effective implementation of sanctions requires international cooperation, the decisions to limit sanctions circumvention must be made on the global, or European, or, at the very least, regional level. At the same time, financial institutions must respond in real-time and move quicker, and the private-public cooperation must be closer. Regulatory frameworks need to keep pace with technological developments to ensure that the financial system remains safe and reliable, said Ingrida Šimonytė.

‘In this new geopolitical reality, the AML efforts and effective implementation of sanctions can significantly curtail Russia’s capacity to sustain its war against Ukraine, thus playing an important role for the future of European security architecture. It can bring peace sooner and can make our continent safer’, said the Head of Government.