Albania fails to make significant progress in money laundering, report shows

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times October 11, 2018 13:55

Albania fails to make significant progress in money laundering, report shows

TIRANA, Oct. 11 – Albania only slightly improved its ranking at the 2018 Basel anti-money laundering index, an annual ranking assessing the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing around the world, as it continued remaining a medium risk country, lagging behind two regional competitors.

The 2018 report ranked Albania as the 55th country most at risk of money laundering out of 129 countries worldwide with mere 0.08 improvement in its score compared to 2017 when it ranked 85th out of 145th. The 2018 report placed Albania a 5.57 score in a scale of rating where zero indicates low risk and 10 a high risk, better than Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, but significantly worse compared to Montenegro and Macedonia, the region’s top performers.

“Most countries are making little or no progress towards ending corruption and public transparency is showing signs of decline, with governments making less information available about how they manage public funds,” says the report.

An earlier 2018 report by the US Department of State said Albania remains at significant risk for money laundering due to rampant corruption and weak legal and government institutions.

“Real estate (particularly in the coastal areas), business development projects, and gaming are among the most popular methods of hiding illicit proceeds,” said a money laundering report by the US Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

Commenting on the report, main opposition Democratic Party MP Jorida Tabaku said the Basel Index sounds alarm bells on the situation with money laundering in Albania.

“After the US Department of State, the Basel Index once again points out Albania as a money laundering country which has made no significant progress compared to a year ago. Gambling, construction, hotels and currency exchange shops are the main sectors where this happens,” says Tabaku, a deputy chair of the parliamentary economy committee.

Albanian law enforcement authorities seized about €9 million in suspected money laundering transfers and bank accounts in 2017 with the majority of identified cases originating from drug trafficking and cultivation, according to an annual report by the country’s Financial Intelligence Unit.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times October 11, 2018 13:55