The Bank of Albania revoked 12 currency exchange licenses in the last year, mostly for non-compliance with anti-money laundering measures, according to the institution’s annual monitoring report.
Previous MONEYVAL reports have identified these offices as critical sources of money laundering and other financial crimes. In response, the Bank of Albania and the Money Laundering Prevention Directorate inspected some 90 stock exchanges in 2021.
Of these, 12 had their licenses suspended and 26 were fined, meaning more than a third were found to be non-compliant in one form or another.
Investigations revealed that money changers did not identify or verify the identity of customers when required by law and that they did not take preventive measures when collecting data. Many were unaware of their legal obligations and failed to follow sanctions lists, among other failings.
The Bank of Albania also carried out inspections in five banks and 13 financial institutions. The inspectors found that the institutions did not comply with their internal regulatory frameworks and lacked increased vigilance.
Various institutions had failed to determine the source of income or collect the necessary documents from their clients, including signatures, stamps and vouchers for the commercial transfer. Customers of these institutions were also allowed to use personal accounts for business purposes.
Albania is currently on the Financial Action Task Force’s gray list on money laundering, and subsequent US State Department reports have found little progress in tackling the problem.