Bordāns: Prosecutor General's Office and the next Prosecutor General to play a key role in implementing the recommendations of the OECD Anti-Corruption Working Group 28.04.2020
On Tuesday, April 28, the Cabinet of Ministers supported the plan of measures developed by the Ministry of Justice and other responsible institutions to implement the recommendations of the Phase 3 assessment of Latvia conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Working Group on Anti-Bribery with the aim to improve Latvia’s capabilities in identifying and investigating cross-border corruption and related crimes (money laundering, financial crime, including accounting irregularities).
Minister of Justice Jānis Bordāns: "Latvia has approved its roadmap for the next two years to ensure the implementation of recommendations and strengthen the rule of law, promote economic growth, ensure a transparent decision-making process and a stable legal environment. The plan is mainly focused on detecting criminal offenses related to cross-border bribery schemes or money laundering. The Prosecutor General's Office, and, of course, the next Prosecutor General, will play a strategic role in implementing these recommendations. Therefore, the Council of for the Judiciary should select and the Parliament should appoint a new Prosecutor General who is best suited to this task.”
In October last year, the assessment of Latvia published by the OECD Working Group on Anti-Bribery indicated that positive changes in legislation need to be transformed into effective further practical application. In total, the OECD Working Group on Anti-Bribery issued 44 recommendations to Latvia, setting out practical measures aimed at more effective detection, investigation and prosecution of bribery of foreign public officials and related money laundering, with effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties.
The action plan approved by the Cabinet of Ministers identifies the responsible institutions for the implementation of the recommendations, as well as provides tasks with specific implementation deadlines. The Ministry of Justice will provide training for judges, prosecutors and investigators to develop a punitive policy on bribery and ensure effective sanctions for bribery of foreign officials, while the Prosecutor General's Office will ensure effective use of the prosecutor's criminal procedural powers and improve the existing control mechanism for prosecutors. One of the tasks for the implementation of the recommendations is the establishment of the Economic Court in order to increase the number of convictions in money laundering cases. From the beginning of its operation on January 1, 2021, the Economic Court will hear cases on complex economic and financial crimes, as well as money laundering. The Prosecutor General's Office will also have to ensure priority, timely and active supervision and prosecution of money laundering cases.
The responsible authorities must submit information on the implementation of the recommendation plans to the Ministry of Justice by September 1, 2021.
The draft law is available on the website of the Cabinet of Ministers.
Since Latvia's accession to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, the Ministry of Justice has been coordinating the work of all institutions regarding the fulfillment of the requirements of the Convention.
The Ministries of Justice, Finance and Foreign Affairs, KNAB, the State Police, the Prosecutor's Office and the courts, the FCMC, the FID, the SRS, the State Chancellery and Altum will have to ensure the fulfillment of the tasks specified in the action plan approved by the government.
In October 2021, Latvia is due to submit a report on the implementation of the recommendations. The Phase 3 assessment of Latvia by the OECD Working Group on Anti-Bribery can be found here.