The Judicial Council supports the Prosecutor General's proposal to amend Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism and Proliferation Financing in connection with the procedure for challenging and reviewing orders issued by the Financial Intelligence Unit, agreeing that orders issued by the Unit may be appealed to an investigating judge.

The Financial Intelligence Unit has historically been supervised by the Prosecutor's Office, and the Prosecutor General or a specially authorized prosecutor was entitled to review the Unit's decisions and orders. Since 2019, the law stipulates that the Unit is independent in its activities and the Cabinet of Ministers exercises institutional supervision through the Minister of the Interior. However, the procedure for appealing orders issued by the Unit has remained unchanged, the Prosecutor's Office continues to examine complaints about the challenged Unit’s orders. Persons shall appeal to the specially authorized prosecutor both the order regarding the temporary freezing of funds and the subsequent order regarding the freezing of personal funds for a specified period of time, as well as they shall appeal to the Prosecutor General the decisions of prosecutors.

In order to rule out doubts about the independence and impartiality of the final decision-making and to ensure the right of a person to a fair trial, the Prosecutor General proposes to amend the law by determining that orders issued by the Financial Intelligence Unit may be challenged by a subject of law or by the manager of the state information system and by persons, whose funds are frozen, to an investigating judge.

The Judicial Council supported this proposal, at the same time calling on the Saeima (Parliament) Defence, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee to assess the capacity of courts competent to hear complaints. The Judicial Council calls for the implementation and entry into force of the new regulation to be postponed until the issue of judicial capacity has been resolved, namely, when the workload of investigating judges is sufficient to deal with additional complaints.

The Judicial Council adopted the decision in a written procedure on 30 April.

 

Information prepared by

Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court

E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: +371 67020396, +371 28652211