On November 2, the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering body MONEYVAL released a report calling on Georgian authorities to strengthen the practical application of measures to combat money laundering and terrorism financing, including by making more efforts to use financial intelligence in detection and investigation, as well as by strengthening the supervision and regulation on high-risk sectors.
MONEYVAL highlights the gambling industry as a sector presenting the “highest money laundering, terrorism financing risks in the country,” noting that the Finance Ministry does not undertake any relevant supervision, meanwhile technical deficiencies in licensing requirements for casinos “seriously undermine” their effectiveness in preventing criminals or their associates from controlling or managing a casino.
According to the report, although Georgia has a fair understanding of its money laundering and terrorism financing risks, it needs to be furthered in areas such as the use of cash in the economy, the real estate sector, the activities of legal entities and nonprofits, as well as trade-based money laundering and terrorism financing.
Regarding other shortcomings, the report says that there are significant limitations on obtaining financial intelligence from the Financial Monitoring Service by law enforcement agencies investigating money laundering or terrorism financing.
Specifically, on terrorism financing, the report says that although Georgia shortened delays in implementation of the UN targeted financial sanctions, it is still not in line with the notion of implementation without delay. “Despite having convicted persons for terrorism and terrorism financing, Georgia has not listed any terrorists or terrorist organizations within the assessment period,” MONEYVAL adds.