NATIONAL PREVENTION OFFICE
AND FIGHTING MONEY LAUNDERING
According to point 37 of the preamble of Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2015 on preventing the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering or financing terrorism, amending Regulation (EU) no. 648/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Directive 2006/70/EC of the Commission, published in the Official Journal of the European Union on June 5, 2015, The Financial Intelligence Unit must be autonomous and operationally independent to collect and analyze the information received in order to establish links between suspicious transactions and underlying criminal activities, in order to prevent and combat money laundering and terrorist financing. An autonomous and operationally independent financial intelligence unit should mean that it has the authority and ability to exercise its functions freely, including making the autonomous decision to analyse, request and communicate specific information. Suspicious transactions and other information relevant to cases of money laundering, related predicate offenses and terrorist financing should be reported to the financial intelligence unit, which should serve as the national central unit for receiving, analyzing and communicating the results of their analyzes to the competent authorities . All suspicious transactions, including attempted transactions, should be reported regardless of their value. The information reported may also include information based on the established threshold.
This is the model that Romania, as a member state of the European Union, has implemented, in terms of transposition, through Law no. 129/2019 for the prevention and combating of money laundering and the financing of terrorism, as well as for the modification and completion of some normative acts, with subsequent amendments and additions, of Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2015, as well as under the aspect of the organization and operation of the National Office for the Prevention and Combating of Money Laundering by Government Decision no. 491/2021 for the approval of the Regulation on the organization and operation of the National Office for the Prevention and Combating of Money Laundering.
The National Office for the Prevention and Combating of Money Laundering, as the Financial Intelligence Unit of Romania (FIU Romania) has completed the official notification procedure to the European Commission, for the full transposition of European directives in the matter, following the adoption of Law no. 129/2019, with subsequent amendments and additions, as well as Government Emergency Ordinance no. 111/2020 regarding the amendment and completion of Law no. 129/2019 for the prevention and combating of money laundering and the financing of terrorism, as well as for the modification and completion of some normative acts, for the completion of art. 218 of the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 99/2006 regarding credit institutions and capital adequacy, for the amendment and completion of Law no. 207/2015 regarding the Fiscal Procedure Code, as well as for completing art. 12 para. (5) from Law no. 237/2015 regarding the authorization and supervision of insurance and reinsurance activity.
The basic functions of the National Office for the Prevention and Combating of Money Laundering, in accordance with the relevant legal provisions, respectively Law no. 129/2019, with subsequent amendments and additions and Government Decision no. 491/2021 for the approval of the Regulation on the organization and operation of the National Office for the Prevention and Combating of Money Laundering, are the following:
The Office is part of the National System for Preventing and Combating Terrorism (S. N. P. C. T.), a system defined by Law No. 535/2004 on Preventing and Combating Terrorism, and is also represented in the Counter-Terrorism Operational Coordination Centre (C. C. O. A.).
The Office is one of the main authorities designated for the implementation of Chapter IV - "International Cooperation" of the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism" adopted in Warsaw on 16 May 2005 and ratified by Romania through Law no. 420/2006 for the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism, adopted in Warsaw on 16 May 2005, published in M.O. no.968 of 4 December 2006.
The Office has timely access, directly or indirectly, to the financial, administrative and law enforcement information it needs to carry out its tasks properly, working effectively with international partners and demonstrating good cooperation on law enforcement and information exchange, which is a guarantee for the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
The Office is the authority that coordinates the implementation of the national money laundering and terrorist financing risk assessment, which is carried out in cooperation with the authorities and institutions referred to in Article 1(1). (1) of the Law no. 129/2019, as amended and supplemented, ensuring the protection of personal data. The Office shall coordinate the national response to the assessed risks in cooperation with the Romanian authorities and shall inform the European Commission, the European Banking Authority and the Member States.
The risk assessments shall be drawn up taking into account the conclusions of the European Commission's assessment of money laundering and terrorist financing risks, shall be updated at least every 4 years at sectoral and national level, taking into account the evolution of the risks and the effectiveness of the measures adopted to mitigate them, and shall be used to allocate and prioritise resources to combat money laundering and terrorist financing effectively.
The Office shall ensure that a summary of the national risk assessment is published on its website and shall forward the relevant elements of the national assessment to the supervisory authorities.
The Office shall centralise the information received from the authorities and institutions referred to in Article 1(1). (1) (a), (b) and (d) of Law No 129/2019, as amended and supplemented, and shall submit a report to the European Commission on the measures taken to prevent and combat money laundering and terrorist financing in accordance with the action plan established by the national risk assessment, the authorities involved, the contribution of each of them, the internal cooperation arrangements, the human and financial resources allocated to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
The Office represents Romania in its own field of competence and promotes the exchange of experience in relations with international organisations and institutions, cooperates with foreign financial intelligence units, participates in the activities of international bodies and is a member of them.
By adopting Decision No 491 of 21 April 2021 approving the Regulation on the organisation and functioning of the National Office for Preventing and Combating Money Laundering, the Government approved the powers of the President and the organisational structure of the Office and established that the allocation of specific tasks to the structures shall be carried out at the level of the institution, by order of the President. This has led to the strengthening of the operational and functional independence and autonomy of the Office, fully in line with the Financial Action Task Force's Recommendation No 29 that the Financial Intelligence Unit should be operationally independent and autonomous, i.e. have the authority and capacity to perform its functions freely.
After the entry into force of Government Decision No 491 of 21 April 2021, in order to fulfil the Office's mission, the specific tasks of the structures established by the above-mentioned Government Decision were regulated by Order of the President of the ONPCSB No 138/27.05.2021, published on the Office's website under Legislation - Other legislation (http://www.onpcsb.ro/legislatie-onpcsb/alte-acte-normative).