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Jean Castellini, Government Counsellor - Minister of Finance and Economy: The National Risk Assessment, a collective ambition.

Jean Castellini, Government Counsellor - Minister of Finance and Economy, discusses Law n°1008, a new tool in the fight against money laundering, and the National Risk Assessment, an opportunity for collective action involving SICCFIN, the Department of Finance and Economy and professionals.

 

What is the importance for Monaco of law n°1008 passed last December which reinforces the fight against money laundering, terrorist financing and corruption?

The text transposes into Monegasque domestic law the 5th European Directive on the fight against money laundering, terrorist financing, corruption and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It is a broadening of the spectrum of legislative tools at our disposal, following on from the vote by the National Council, within a very short timeframe, of the transposition of the 4th Directive into Monegasque domestic law at the end of 2018.

 

How can we demonstrate the Principality's willingness and ability to implement the best international standards?

The real challenge is not only to have the necessary laws, but to demonstrate to external assessors that the texts are well respected and that professionals implement the recommendations and comply with their obligations.

If this is not the case, the public authorities undertake to take all necessary measures, particularly in terms of sanctions, to remedy these failures. What we have done at OECD level in the area of cooperation in tax matters, we are now doing in the area of the fight against money laundering.

 

What is the timetable?

We are currently working on the publication of the Sovereign Order implementing the December 2020 law, which is eagerly awaited by professionals. By the end of the first quarter of 2021, the Sovereign Order should be published.

Then we have certain obligations, in particular those that we imposed on ourselves in the context of the debates with the National Council, namely the publication of guidelines adapted by profession in the second quarter of 2021.

The aim is above all educational, in order to achieve greater efficiency in the application of the law while demonstrating that the particularities of each profession are taken into account.

The obligations are proportionate to the nature of the activity, the nature and the frequency of the transactions according to the professions.

Finally, we will finalise the National Risk Assessment process. I would like to pay tribute to the work of Michel Hunault, Director of SICCFIN, and his teams, as well as to the commitment of all the professionals. This National Risk Assessment will be a success if everyone adheres to its principle and collaborates actively.

 

How can we motivate this adhesion?

It is an exercise that I would describe as introspection: looking at ourselves and judging ourselves as we are. This really allows for an assessment, a realistic evaluation which may depend on the professions, activities, possible risks identified, and of course the actions taken following this assessment to reduce the risks or even make them disappear.

Our objective is the MONEYVAL assessment, scheduled for the end of 2021. It will be necessary to prove the effectiveness of the implementation of the texts. Thanks to a strong adhesion, the National Risk Assessment will show the assessors that the Principality, in terms of anti-money laundering, collaborates in the most efficient and coordinated way possible.

 

What happens in case of professional misconduct?

In 2018, the transposition of the 4th Directive established an independent commission: the Commission d'Examen des Rapports de Contrôle (CERC), which is now responsible for examining the files transmitted by SICCFIN and determining, within the framework of an adversarial procedure, whether or not there are grounds for sanctioning the institutions that have been found to be in breach.

 

So the CERC investigates the cases?

Yes, it is made up of independent people, notably former magistrates, who will investigate and exchange views with the institutions inspected as part of the adversarial procedure. The CERC then makes recommendations and possibly proposes sanctions to the Minister of State, who decides whether or not to follow them.

 

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