The Government was quick to issue a press statement on Monday morning following the release of a critical MONEYVAL report that may lead to the Principality being placed ‘under observation’ next month. The 12-month observation period could lead in turn to Monaco being put back on the so-called grey list of countries that fail to comply with international standards on transparency and money-laundering.

Central to the MONEYVAL report is the criticism of delays in anti-money laundering procedures and lengthy appeal processes. Several financial publications jumped on the report to emphasise MONEYVAL’S criticisms. One publication described the report as ‘withering,’ while Bloomberg picked on the accusation that Monaco had failed to devote the needed resources to compliance.

The statement from the Government reads:

“After reviewing the full contents of the MONEYVAL Report published earlier today (Monday 23 January 2023), the Princely Government fully endorses the recommendations put forward in this document. Furthermore, the State of Monaco is determined to rapidly implement these recommendations to align itself with the best international practices in relation to the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

“The Government also highlights that the Report congratulates the Monegasque authorities on progress already made and work undergone to deliver significant improvements on such issues.

Pierre Dartout, Minister of State, said: ‘In accordance with the vision set out by HSH Prince Albert II upon his ascension to make Monaco exemplary in terms of ethics, transparency, and the fight against money laundering, the MONEYVAL recommendations are a priority for the Principality.

“Over the next twelve months, Monaco is determined to successfully implement the report’s recommendations so that it is aligned with the highest international standards in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism. This is essential for Monaco’s attractiveness on the world stage. We will therefore continue to further enhance our actions in this fight. I am confident that the Principality has the capacity and resources to reach the highest standards within the timeframe that has been outlined.”

Jean Castellini, Minister of Finance and Economy added: “Steps have already been taken to strengthen our system and I can say that substantial progress has been made to date. In light of the recommendations made by the MONEYVAL assessors, Monaco’s parliament passed a significant number of laws in late 2022, notably pertaining to vital questions such as international legal assistance and the seizure and confiscation of instruments and proceeds of crime. The coming months will allow us to further strengthen our policies and practices and I know we will be ready to meet the March 2024 deadline.

“The Government has established a Monitoring Committee responsible for the adoption of the report’s recommendations, and experienced and well-respected experts will also support us throughout the entire process.”

Established in 1997, MONEYVAL is a permanent monitoring body of the Council of Europe tasked with assessing compliance with the principal international standards to counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism as well as the effectiveness of their implementation. It is also responsible for making recommendations to member states in respect of necessary improvements to their systems. Through a dynamic process of mutual evaluation and regular follow-up of its reports, MONEYVAL aims to enhance and develop the capacities of national authorities.

FILE PHOTO: Minister of State Pierre Dartout