The recent decision by the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) to suspend the membership of Rosfinmonitoring is a significant and commendable move. This decision underscores the fundamental importance of upholding international law and the core principles of trust and cooperation within the global financial intelligence community.
The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has demonstrated a clear disregard for international law and has disrupted the long-established peaceful order. It is somewhat ironic that Russia, having breached international rules, would audaciously demand that others continue to adhere to them. This behavior not only defies logic but also reflects the Kremlin's self-interest.
Given Russia's blatant disrespect for international law, a strong and principled response from other governments and international organizations, including the Egmont Group, is necessary. The decision to suspend Russia's membership signifies a clear stance that Russia can no longer enjoy the privileges provided by the international order, including the exchange of information among Egmont Group members.
Russia's ongoing military aggression against Ukraine has had severe consequences, not only for Ukraine but also for the State Financial Monitoring Service of Ukraine (FIU of Ukraine). The erosion of trust within the Egmont Group has been attributed to Rosfinmonitoring's alignment with its government's actions and policies.
Furthermore, there has been advocacy for recognizing Rosfin's political dependence and its role as a tool of the Kremlin's aggressive ideology. The intelligence requests from this FIU have consistently shown political influence and have been used to manipulate the rule of law, often targeting political opponents or those who have criticized certain business practices.
The decision to suspend Rosfinmonitoring's membership sends a strong message to the global financial intelligence community. However, it is important to recognize that merely severing ties with Rosfinmonitoring is not enough. The Egmont Group, along with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and governments enforcing sanctions against Russia, should collaborate to address investigations involving Russia's illicit financial flows.
Many legal systems still rely on information related to predicate offenses, and not all have the expertise to investigate standalone money laundering. With the cessation of information exchange with Russia, questions arise about the continuity of investigations.
This decision by the Egmont Group underscores the need to revisit and revise attitudes towards specific outcomes related to international cooperation and investigation. While the path ahead is undoubtedly complex, a collective commitment to transparency, accountability, and the rule of law is essential to navigate the challenges of these unprecedented times.
The Egmont Group's decision serves as a beacon of principled action, demonstrating that the global financial intelligence community remains resolute in its pursuit of justice and integrity.
By fLEXI tEAM