In May 2000, based on the recommendations of MONEYVAL Committee of the Council of Europe, the Albanian Parliament approved the Law no. 8610 dated 17.05.2000 “On the prevention of money laundering” which provided, inter alia, the establishment of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Albania.
In August of 2001, the Directorate for the Coordination of the Fight against Money Laundering (DCFML) began work at the Ministry of Finance as the FIU in Albania, organized under the administrative model and responsible for collecting, analyzing and disseminating information to the competent authorities regarding laundering of criminal products or terrorist financing.
In the framework of continuous approximation of the Albanian legislation with international recommendations on the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing, the Albanian Parliament approved Law no. 9084, of 19 June 2003 “On some amendments to Law 8610, dated 17.05.2000 “On the prevention of money laundering””.
One of the innovations of this law was the establishment of the National Coordination Committee for the Fight Against Money Laundering (CCFAML), under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister and having as members the Attorney General, the Governor of the Bank of Albania, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Interior, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Justice and Director of the State Intelligence Service. This committee sets the strategic direction and overall national policies for the prevention and fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
In July 2003, the Directorate of Coordination of the Fight Against Money Laundering became a member of the Egmont Group of FIUs, which represents a significant achievement at the international level. GDPML continues to be an active member of Egmont group, which allows the regular and secure exchange of information with partner FIUs around the world.
In August of 2005, the Directorate of Coordination of the Fight Against Money Laundering is upgraded to the General Directorate for Prevention of Money Laundering (GDPML) at the Ministry of Finance, a measure which provided further increase of its operational independence in accordance with international recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Based on changes of international recommendations of the FATF and international efforts on the fight against terrorism, the Albanian Parliament approved in 15 July 2004, Law no. 9258 “On measures against the financing of terrorism”, which constituted an important instrument toward the fulfillment by the Republic of Albania of obligations stemming in the implementation of Security Council resolutions of the United Nations.GDPML plays an important role in collecting and managing information on the implementation of this law and also in coordination with state institutions for identifying and administering the information for the persons desginated as terrorists or terrorist financiers at the international level.
In March 2006, GDPML published for the first time the annual report of its activities which presented an overview of the its activity regarding collection and analysis of information, cooperation on national and international level, supervision of the reporting entities and coordination of efforts with supervisory and licensing authorities.
The process of integration into the European Union is associated with the continous need to take a series of legislative reforms, among which the most importants are the ratification of the CoE Convention “On prevention of terrorism” and the Warsaw Convention “On Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation the proceeds of crime and financing of terrorism”.Both conventions contain specific obligations relating to the work of GDPML also further strengthening international cooperation in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
The following twinning projects implemented in the framework of the continuous enhancing of human and technical capabilities, have had an important role in the activities of the directorate that have been undertaken in cooperation with the competent authorities of a number of countries of the European Union:
- Fight against money laundering and financial crime in Albania” .This project took place during 2007 – 2009, in cooperation with the German Federal Criminal Office (BKA);
- Support for the structures of the fight against money laundering and financial crime investigation in Albania”. Project implemented during 2011- 2013, in collaboration with the Spanish, Italian and Bulgarianauthorities;
as well as logistical support with modern hardware and software thanks to the generous support of the European Union Delegation in Tirana. In this context the establishment in 2008, of the Department of Information Technology consitutes an important development.
Since its foundation GDPML was also provided with significant international assistance. In this context a special role until 2007, have had the experts of the Treasury Department of the United States(US) working jointly with GDPML. US assistance has continued further in the framework of the OPDAT project, of the Department of Justice, in the context of the establishment and functioning of the Joint Investigation Units for Corruption and Economic Crime and ICITAP project (International Programme for the Training Assistance in Criminal Investigations) of Department of State.
In furtherance of the legislation reform and pursuant to the recommendations of the Moneyval Committee of the Council of Europe (CoE), the Albanian Parliament adopted in May 2008 the Law no. 9917 “On the prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism”, which has been subject to further amendments in 2011 and 2012.
The drafting during 2008 – 2009, of the National Strategic Document “On the investigation of financial crime” consitutes a qualitative leap for GDPML and other relevant state institutions.This was the first document envisaging for the period 2009 – 2015, medium and long-term objectives in combating the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing. GDPML has played a leading and coordinating role in the process of drafting this document, that was approved the Council of Ministers Decision no. 1077, of 27 October 2010.
In the context of informing of Albanian Parliament, GDPML presented in November of 2009, its activity report before the Parliamentary Committee on National Security. This activity serves to further acquaint the members of the parliament and the general public, with the activity undertaken by GDPML, in order to fulfill its preventive role. Such reports have continued regularly during 2014-2015.
In November 2010, a team of evaluators of the International Monetary Fund, carried out an on-site mission in our country, in the framework of assessment of the implementation by the Albanian authorities of international recommendations on the prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism. GDPML has had an important coordination role in terms of timeliness and effectiveness of this process which was concluded with the adoption by the Moneyval Committee of the IV round evaluation report of Albania in April of 2011.
In October of 2012, GDPML, in pursuance of the objectives of the National Strategic Document “On the investigation of financial crime” presented to the CCFAML the document “National risk assessment of money laundering and financing of terrorism “. In addition to its relevant contribution in the drafting of this document, GDPML had also an important coordination role for all the institutions involved in the implementation of this strategic document.
In April of 2013, the project “Support for the of the fight against money laundering and financial crime investigation in Albania”, in which GDPML was one of the beneficiary institutions came to an end. The purpose of this project was to further increase human capacities of the Albanian institutions involved in preventing and combating money laundering and financing of terrorism in our country.
In the capacity of a member country of the Egmont Group of the FIUs, GDPML’s senior representatives have participated in the plenary session that the group held in July 2013. The Egmont Group plays a growing role in strengthening international cooperation between FIUs, the expeditious and secure exchange of information, strengthening of human and technical capabilities and effective implementation of the FATF recommendations. GDPML has continued during 2014 and 2015, its active participation in the plenary sessions of this group.
In the framework of regional cooperation, GDPML organized for the first time in October of 2013, the regional conference of heads of FIUs whereby directors and experts from FIUs of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia Greece, Italy, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia attended. Such conferences are held annually and have a tangible impact in the growth of regional cooperation, exchange of experience as well as information on trends/ typologies of money laundering and financing of terrorism encountered in our region.
In order to implement international recommendations for the prevention of terrorist financing and the amendments that must be made for this purpose to Law No.9258 / 2004 “On measures against the financing of terrorism”, GDPML has led the working group that was set up to this end in 2012. The membership of the group counted experts from the Bank of Albania, the General Prosecutor Office, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Finance. Based on the project law drafted by the working group, the Albanian Parliament approved in October 2013, the Law nr.157 “On measures against the financing of terrorism”.
In February 2014, the Albanian Prime Minister approved the new structure of GDPML, entailing a reorganization of its directorates whereby the institution is now composed of the Legal and International Relations Directorate, the Strategic Analysis and Suspicious Transaction Report Directorate as well as the Compliance and Information Technology Directorate.
In October of 2014, the Prime Minister convened the meeting of the CCFAML that was attended by the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Interior, the Deputy Minister of Defence, the Deputy Minister of Justice, the General Prosecutor, the Deputy Director of the State Intelligence Service as well as the General Inspector of HIDAA.
GDPML’s General Director reported during this meeting about the main developments and activities of the institution, demonstrating the progress achieved through statistical data regarding the amounts of funds frozen and seized, suspicious money laundering and terrorism financing cases disseminated to the competent authorities in the country, oversight of the reporting entities as well as international cooperation with partner FIUs. The Regulation “On the functioning of the Committee of Coordination of the Fight Against Money Laundering” was also approved during this meeting.
In fulfilling its mission, GDPML is cognizant of significant challenges lying ahead vis a vis the enhancement of cooperation and trust with reporting entities, strengthening of coordination and cooperation with the police, prosecution, intelligence agencies as well as partner FIUs with a view to undertaking operational, tactical and strategic analysis of the information.
GDPML’s main objectives for 2015 are:
- Further consolidation of its supervisory role;
- Strengthening inter-institutional cooperation and information of CCFAML;
- Enhancement of prevantative capabilities oriented on the risk-based approach;
- Further increase of human capabities and the effective utilisation of budgetary and technical resources;
- Continuous improvement of its compliance with the recommendations of international organizations;
- Growing contribution in the framework of cooperation with regional FIUs;