Europe’s Human Rights Watchdog

The task of Moneyval is assessing compliance with the principal international standards to counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism and the effectiveness of their implementation, as well as making recommendations to national authorities in respect of necessary improvements to their systems.

  • E.g. “Report card on Vatican transparency to be released”, The Guardian, 18 July 2012
  • Request by the Principality of Monaco to be evaluated by the Select Committee of Experts on the evaluation of anti-money laundering measures, Rapporteur Group on Legal Co-operation, Council of Europe, 13 May 2002

Money laundering serves to legalise the profits made through criminal activities like drug trafficking, prostitution, illegal arms sales, trafficking in human beings, smuggling, embezzlement, insider trading, bribery, computer fraud etc. Therefore, it is being combated at national as well as international level.

The principal intergovernmental stakeholders in the global fight against money laundering are the United Nations (UN), the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the European Union (EU) and the Council of Europe.

Between them, they have developed a number of international treaties, protocols, recommendations and directives on this topic and their expert bodies are working closely together.

Council of Europe treaties

Two of the Council of Europe’s treaties focus explicitly on money laundering:

MONEYVAL – the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism – is the Council of Europe’s chief monitoring instrument in the fight against money laundering.

When it was established in 1997, MONEYVAL was an expert committee subordinated to the Council of Europe’s European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC). In 2011, however, its status was raised to that of an independent monitoring mechanism within the Council of Europe, answerable directly to the Committee of Ministers.

Each signatory state is entitled to appoint up to three experts to MONEYVAL. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) appoints two. All representatives have to be experts in either legal-, financial- or law enforcement matters.

Several non-member states of the Council of Europe, a number of UN bodies as well as organisations like, for example, INTERPOL, the European Commission of the EU or the World Bank have observer status with MONEYVAL and are entitled to send a representative each to the plenary meetings taking place in Strassburg 3-4 times a year.

The Bureau acts as a board to MONEYVAL and as such prepares the work of the Committee. It consists of a Chairperson and a Vice-Chairperson, elected for a period of two years, as well as further three elected members. The Bureau is assisted in all matters by a Secretariat, headed by an Executive Secretary.

MONEYVAL is entrusted with the task of assessing member state’s compliance with the principal international standards to counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism as well as the effectiveness of their implementation.

Furthermore, it is asked to provide recommendations to national authorities in respect of necessary improvements to their systems. Finally, it is to help improve the capacities of national authorities to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism more effectively through

MONEYVAL carries out its evaluations in rounds and has started its 5th round in 2015. The Rules of Procedure are being defined specifically for each round.

Several evaluations are conducted each year by multidisciplinary teams composed typically of 4 experts – a legal expert, two financial experts and a law enforcement expert – and assisted by a member of the MONEYVAL Secretariat.

In order to find out as much as possible about the approach taken by a state with regard to fighting money laundering and terrorist financing, the team meets on site with practitioners from ministries, tax-, judicial- and law enforcement bodies, customs, financial intelligence units, banks and currency exchange bureaus as well as lawyers, notaries, insurance brokers, auditors, traders in precious metals and stones etc. for in-depth talks.

On behalf of the Committee of Ministers, MONEYVAL publishes an annual report on its activities, which is made available to the public.