Viewing cable 05VILNIUS28
Title: LITHUANIA INCSR (INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS CONTROL

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05VILNIUS282005-01-10 14:39:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Vilnius
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 10 VILNIUS 000028 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR INL AND EUR/NB 
JUSTICE FOR OIA AND AFMLS 
TREASURY FOR FINCEN 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: SNAR EFIN KCRM PTER KTFN LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIA INCSR (INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS CONTROL 
STRATEGY REPORT) PART II (FINANCIAL CRIMES AND MONEY 
LAUNDERING) 2004-2005 
 
REF: (A) STATE 254401; (B) VILNIUS 01430 
 
------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
¶1.  Money laundering is not a significant problem in 
Lithuania.  Strict legal and regulatory controls and the 
GOL's cooperation with international regulatory 
counterparts explain the government's success.  The 
Lithuanian government increased controls to prevent 
financial crimes and money laundering in 2004.  It 
published regulations implementing earlier parliamentary 
statutes passed in 2003.  These regulations also expanded 
the criteria and rules governing the identification of 
suspicious transactions and management of registers 
recording them.  The proceeds from smuggling, principally 
cheap Russian cigarettes for domestic consumption, but also 
alcohol, Chinese goods and narcotics, and from VAT fraud 
and tax evasion, enter the Lithuanian economy.  Such 
"predicate crimes" constitute a greater problem for law 
enforcement than the consequent money laundering.  In 2004, 
law enforcement stepped up interceptions of smugglers, 
while the Financial Crime Investigation Service (FCIS) 
started nine money laundering pre-trial investigations. 
FCIS froze over USD 9.6 million in criminal assets in 2004 
(first ten months).  The FBI reports excellent cooperation 
with Lithuanian law enforcement on suspected money 
laundering cases.  Lithuania is a signatory to numerous 
international conventions on money laundering, concluding 
four additional agreements with European countries in 2004. 
Lithuanian law enforcement officials participated in two 
money laundering prevention workshops made possible with 
USG assistance in 2004.  End Summary. 
 
Sources of Illicit Money 
------------------------ 
 
¶2.  Local experts identify the informal economy, estimated 
at 18 percent of GDP, as the most likely source of illicit 
money in Lithuania.  The flow of smuggled goods, 
principally cigarettes and alcohol from Russia and Belarus, 
is driven by price differentials between these countries 
and Lithuania and the West.  A pack of cigarettes in 
Lithuania, for example, costs only one-fourth the price of 
a pack in the EU.  Experts anticipate that smuggling will 
increase when Lithuania adopts the minimum EU excise rate 
in 2009.  The demand for smuggled cigarettes is greatest 
domestically, a shift from 2002, when cigarettes transited 
Lithuania for Germany and the U.K. 
 
¶3.  Smuggled Chinese goods are also a source of illicit 
income, since smugglers underreport the value of the goods 
to Customs and the State Tax Administration to avoid VAT 
and profit taxes on such goods.  Smugglers avoid paying 
taxes on the goods by generally selling them at largely 
unregulated outdoor markets.  Following the removal of 
border checkpoints after Lithuania's accession to the EU, 
customs officials are only able to inspect Chinese goods if 
they receive information to track them down in Lithuanian 
warehouses. 
 
¶4.  VAT fraud is a third source of illicit income.  Experts 
note that VAT revenues are not increasing proportionally to 
retail sales.  In 2003, for example, VAT revenues 
constituted 6.7 percent of GDP, whereas in 2002, they 
constituted 7.5 percent of GDP. 
 
------------------------ 
LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITY 
------------------------ 
 
Smuggling 
--------- 
 
¶5.  Customs reports that it initiated 114 pre-trial 
investigations against smugglers in 2004, up from 101 in 
¶2003.  The agency provided a partial breakdown of these 
investigations: 
 
-- 33 investigations related to smuggling into Lithuania; 
-- 30 cases addressed a failure to re-export goods from 
Lithuania; and 
-- 13 investigations addressed document forgery. 
According to Customs data covering the first nine months of 
2004, the four top categories of smuggled goods, in terms 
of total value of goods intercepted were: 
 
-- Tobacco products, worth LTL 654,624 (USD 251,778), up 
from LTL 644,644 (USD 247,940) during the same period in 
2003; 
 
-- Stolen cars, worth LTL 400,000 (USD 153,846), down from 
LTL 1,246,097 (USD 479,268) during the first nine months of 
2003; 
 
-- Chinese goods, worth LTL 114,222 (USD 43,931), down from 
LTL 10,298,688 (USD 3,961,033) during the first nine months 
of 2003; and 
 
-- Metals, worth LTL 73,000 (USD 28,077), down from LTL 
92,000 (USD 35,384) during the first nine months of 2003. 
 
¶6.  Customs says that the major category of contraband it 
intercepts is cheap Russian cigarettes smuggled in from 
Kaliningrad.  It reports that small groups of mainly 
Lithuanian, but also Russian and Belarusian, smugglers 
control this trade.  This is a significant change from the 
situation before 2002, when large criminal groups 
controlled this illegal activity, and smuggled goods exited 
Lithuania for Western countries in exchange for illegal 
cash entering Lithuania.  A Border Guard press release 
stated that the agency had confiscated a record 3.2 million 
packs of smuggled cigarettes at the borders in 2004, up 
from 1.6 million packs in 2003, and 467,000 packs in 2002. 
The breakdown of the 2004 seizures is as follows: 
 
-- 2.4 million packs at the border with Kaliningrad; 
-- 540,000 packs at the Belarussian border; and 
-- 288,000 packs at the Latvian border. 
 
The Border Guards noted that smuggled cigarettes are sold 
at two or three times the purchase price in the black 
market, which is only half the legal price at shopping 
centers. 
 
¶7.  Customs also reports that it initiated four pre-trial 
investigations against alcohol smugglers in 2004.  The 
largest seizure of 2004 occurred in September along the 
Polish border and involved 26 tons of spirits of Belarusian 
origin.  Customs launched four pre-trial investigations 
(down from twelve cases in 2003) against criminals 
smuggling stolen cars from Western Europe.  In 2004, 
Customs started 52 pre-trial investigations against 
suspects smuggling Chinese goods into Lithuania, and 
another 30 cases against individuals who had broken their 
commitments to re-export Chinese and Turkish goods to 
Latvia. 
 
VAT Fraud 
--------- 
 
¶8.  In November 2004, the press reported that the FCIS 
intercepted a well-organized criminal gang, which had 
defrauded the state budget of more than LTL seven million 
(USD 2.7 million) in VAT revenues.  During 2003-2004, the 
group had established more than 30 shadow companies, 
according to FCIS, trading in timber, metal and other 
products.  Press reports state that FCIS seized LTL 200,000 
(USD 76,923) in cash, a dozen plastic bankcards, and 
falsified accounting books.  The agency froze a large 
proportion of the criminal group's property valued at LTL 
four million (USD 1,530,000). 
 
Narcotics 
--------- 
 
¶9.  The sale of narcotics does not generate a significant 
portion of financial crime and money laundering activity in 
Lithuania.  FCIS reported no cases of money laundering 
related to narcotics in 2004.  Customs reported that it 
started ten pre-trial investigations against narcotic 
smugglers in 2004, the same number as in 2003.  Law 
enforcement authorities estimate that the domestic drug 
trade is worth LTL 500 million (USD 200 million) per annum 
and is growing.  Lithuanian organized crime groups have 
begun to penetrate the German narcotics market.  Heroin is 
smuggled into Lithuania from Central Asia and the Balkans. 
Cocaine imports from South America travel through Western 
Europe into Lithuania.  Poppy straw is especially popular 
in the countryside, and is smuggled to the Kaliningrad 
district of Russia. 
 
Cash Couriers 
------------- 
 
¶10.  Customs reported three seizures totaling LTL 69,620 
(USD 26,778) during the first nine months of 2004, down 
from LTL 150,706 (USD 57,964) during the same period in 
¶2003.  On January 7, 2004, the Border Guards detained a 
Belarusian national on charges of smuggling LTL 123,000 
(USD 47,307) and on December 14, another Belarusian 
national was detained for carrying USD 30,000 in cash. 
 
Money Laundering:  Nine pre-trial investigations underway 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
 
¶11.  There are no precise estimates regarding the scale of 
money laundering in Lithuania.  One expert opined that 
money laundering is anywhere between LTL 10-100 million 
(USD 4-40 million) per year, but this is probably a low 
estimate, when viewed in the context of the size of the 
informal economy (LTL 10 billion, USD 3.8 billion)). 
Prosecutors launched criminal proceedings in nine suspected 
cases of money laundering, and seven additional cases of 
suspected tax evasion, document forgery, and smuggling. 
FCIS reported no convictions for money laundering in 2004. 
The nine suspected money laundering cases arose in part 
from FCIS-led investigations into 119 suspicious bank 
transactions, out of a total of more than one million 
transactions during the first ten months of 2004.  Banks 
reported 65-70 of the suspicious transactions, while the 
balance were identified by FCIS. 
 
¶12.  Authorities did not launch a single investigation 
against bank officials for complicity in money laundering 
in 2004.  Regulatory authorities exercise tight supervision 
of the country's ten commercial banks, two foreign bank 
branches and 58 credit unions, and laundering cash through 
the banking system is a high-risk activity.  FCIS stated 
that although there were many cases of credit card fraud, 
none were related to money laundering.  The Police report 
that financial crimes constituted four percent, fraud 
accounted for three percent, and the production of 
counterfeit currency slightly above one percent of all 
crimes committed in 2004. 
 
¶13.  Lithuania has good laws that have created adequate 
legal safeguards against money laundering.  Experts observe 
that GOL controls in the banking sector are adequate, and 
that the banking system, largely Scandinavian-owned, is 
vigilant against potential launderers.  They opine that the 
GOL dedicated adequate funds in 2003-2004 to its three law 
enforcement agencies (FCIS, Border Guards, Customs) 
responsible for combating money laundering.  FCIS's 2004 
budget increased by 23 percent over 2003, while the 
Customs' budget decreased by 13 percent.  The experts 
highlight, however, some deficiencies in law enforcement 
measures, such as a lack of adequate cooperation and 
information exchange among these agencies at the regional 
level, inadequate training of officers, and corruption at 
the regional level.  Additionally, following EU accession, 
Customs officials no longer routinely inspect goods at 
border posts with neighboring EU states, relying instead on 
mobile units to patrol the border.  The GOL currently has 
13 mobile units, and plans to establish an additional ten 
by the end of January 2005. 
Real Estate - a potential venue to launder money? 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
¶14.  Experts identify real estate purchases as a potential 
venue to launder money.  The State Tax Administration 
checks the income and property declarations of categories 
of high-spending individuals, such as those purchasing 
expensive real estate, jewelry, furniture or other luxury 
goods worth more than LTL 50,000 (USD 19,230), and large 
donors to election campaigns, and matches them with 
expensive purchases.  The agency told us they have many 
sources to gather this information, such as inspection of 
Lithuania's single Real Estate Register, information from 
construction companies and real estate agents, and review 
of the largest luxury good stores' records.  From January 
1, 2004, all taxpayers must submit one annual income and 
property declaration.  Before this change, only those 
purchasing property with a value in excess of LTL 46,000- 
50,000 (USD 17,700-19,230), politicians, and business 
managers were obliged to submit these declarations.  The 
tax inspectorate has closed the loophole that enabled 
potential launderers to purchase property in Lithuania 
worth less than the threshold, using illegal-source monies, 
without declaring the purchase or accounting for the source 
of the funds.  The agency told us that its data for 2004 
would only be available after the tax submission deadline 
of May 1, 2005. 
 
¶15.  Lithuanian officials and financial institutions do not 
encourage or facilitate money laundering or narcotics 
trafficking.  Lithuania is not an offshore or regional 
financial center.  The State Tax Administration informed 
us, however, that it has encountered cases of Lithuanian 
companies purchasing goods in Russia at lower prices, then 
attributing higher prices to offshore companies outside 
Lithuania, such that the Lithuanian companies are able to 
conceal the illicit profit they make. 
 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
LAWS AND REGULATIONS TO PREVENT MONEY LAUNDERING 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
¶16.  Money laundering is a criminal offence punishable by 
up to seven years in prison.  The Lithuanian parliament, on 
January 29, 2004, amended the definition of money 
laundering in Article 216 of the Criminal Code.  The law 
now defines a money launderer as "any person who carries 
out financial operations with his own or another person's 
money or property or with part of them knowing that such 
money or property acquired in a criminal way, concludes the 
agreements, uses them in economic or commercial activity, 
or makes a fraudulent declaration that they are derived 
from legal activity, for the purposes of concealing or 
legitimizing these proceeds shall be punished by 
imprisonment for a term of up to 7 years.  Enterprises 
shall also be held liable for the acts specified in 
paragraph 1 of this Article." 
 
Reporting Requirements 
---------------------- 
 
¶17.  Amendments to the law on the Prevention of Money 
Laundering went into effect on January 1, 2004.  FCIS now 
has the authority, upon receiving a report of suspicious 
financial activity, to direct financial institutions to 
freeze an account for 48 hours without prosecutorial 
intervention.  Article 9 of the Money Laundering Prevention 
Law requires financial institutions and other entities 
(auditors, insurance companies, investment companies, book- 
keeping companies and notaries) to report to the FCIS 
suspicious transactions of any size and the identity of 
clients involved within three hours of detecting such 
activity.  The FCIS may extend the freeze during an 
investigation. 
 
¶18.  The GOL published four regulations in 2004 to 
implement the new requirements of the Law on Money 
Laundering. 
-- In July, the Cabinet expanded the criteria to identify 
suspicious money operations.  The new list includes 25 
detailed criteria, such as an unusual increase in cash 
payments, cashing LTL 100,000 (USD 40,000) or more within 
seven days, splitting a cash transaction into a number of 
transactions in order not to reach the LTL 50,000 (USD 
20,000) threshold, and cashing more than LTL 100,000 (USD 
40,000) in seven days using a foreign credit card. 
 
-- The Cabinet also adopted new rules in July to identify 
persons involved in suspicious transactions, and on 
transferring this information to FCIS.  The regulation 
establishes a list of data and documents that a bank or 
another financial institution must request from a person 
whose identity must be established in accordance with the 
Law on Money Laundering. 
 
-- In July, the Cabinet adopted detailed rules governing 
the management of registers of suspicious money 
transactions, and transactions exceeding LTL 50,000 (USD 
19,230). 
 
-- On November 15, the Cabinet approved new "Rules on 
Stopping Suspicious Money Operations and Providing 
Information to the Financial Crime Investigation Service 
(FCIS) at the Ministry of Interior."  These rules entitle 
FCIS to request any legal or natural entities, except 
notaries, to freeze suspicious money operations for 48 
hours upon receiving an FCIS order, unless such action 
would inhibit the investigation of suspicious money 
transactions.  All entities except notaries are required to 
freeze such operations if they notice them, and to appoint 
individuals who will be responsible for monitoring money 
operations and who can freeze suspicious operations.  All 
entities except notaries must report details on all such 
operations to FCIS within three working hours after 
freezing the suspicious operations. 
 
Large Transactions 
------------------ 
 
¶19.  The law on money laundering requires financial 
institutions to identify and report to the FCIS within 
seven days any transaction exceeding LTL 50,000 (USD 
19,230).  The law also requires financial institutions to 
maintain a register of customers who engage in transactions 
exceeding LTL 50,000 (USD 19,230), or its equivalent in 
foreign currency, and to retain records for a minimum of 
ten years.  The press, however, has criticized the 
requirement to report transactions exceeding LTL 50,000 
(USD 19,230).  Banks are aware of their reporting 
requirements and although not very happy about the new 
reporting burden imposed on them, have been very 
cooperative and report and exchange information of their 
own accord, not only upon request of the FCIS. 
 
¶20.  Although Lithuanian law provides for confidentiality 
of commercial banking information, Article 16.4 of the 
Money Laundering Prevention Law protects bankers who report 
required information to the FCIS.  The "Law on the 
Financial Crime Investigation Service" of March 28, 2002 
authorizes FCIS to collect information from financial 
institutions. 
 
Cross-border Currency 
--------------------- 
 
¶21.  The law requires that individuals must declare to 
Customs cash they transport into or out of the country in 
excess of LTL 10,000 (USD 3,846).  Following Lithuania's EU 
accession, this requirement applies only to individuals 
from third (i.e. non-EU) countries.  Customs authorities 
must report to the FCIS as soon as possible, and no later 
than within seven working days, incidents where a person 
enters or departs the country transporting cash in excess 
of LTL 50,000 or equivalent (USD 19,230).  Customs has 
primary responsibility for border checks, the Border Police 
perform periodic checks, and the FCIS provides consultation 
support, as necessary. 
 
Other Reporting Requirements 
---------------------------- 
¶22.  The amendments to the Law on the Prevention of Money 
Laundering require that insurance companies identify 
customers whose annual insurance payment exceeds LTL 8,500 
(USD 3,269).  Casinos must register patrons who wager, win, 
or exchange for chips amounts larger than LTL 3,500 (USD 
1,346).  Although they are not obliged to report this 
information, FCIS tells us that they usually do.  Casinos 
are required to report any suspicious transactions and any 
transactions exceeding LTL 50,000 (USD 19,230). 
 
¶23.  The amendments also require lawyers to notify the 
lawyers' association about clients' suspicious 
transactions, and that the association inform the FCIS 
within three working hours of notification.  The lawyers' 
association must maintain a register of suspicious 
transactions and maintain relevant records for ten years. 
Lawyers protested that the new reporting requirements 
violate attorney-client privilege.  No other groups have 
voiced substantive objections about the new legislation. 
 
Record-keeping Requirements 
-------------------------- 
 
¶24.  Banks and other financial institutions are required to 
maintain records for ten years "after they break contact 
with the customer."  FCIS interprets this to mean ten years 
following the customer's last transaction.  Banks also 
retain information on the identity of an account owner ten 
years following the closure of the account. 
 
Bankers' Obligations 
-------------------- 
 
¶25.  The Code of Administrative Violations imposes a fine 
of LTL 2,000 (USD 769) on bank officers who negligently or 
inadequately identify and report money laundering in their 
institutions, or who do not keep the required records. 
Bank officials who are suspected of complicity in money 
laundering are subject to criminal prosecution and 
imprisonment of up to seven years under Article 24 of the 
Criminal Code.  The Central Bank may withdraw a bank's 
license for violating procedures designed to prevent money 
laundering. 
 
Witness Protection 
------------------ 
 
¶26.  Prosecutors and pretrial investigation officers may 
grant witnesses anonymity, per the Criminal Process Code 
(Articles 198, 199).  The Court protects the anonymity of 
witnesses under threat to life, health, freedom, or 
property, or when the witness's testimony is critical to 
the case.  There were no reports of retaliatory actions 
taken by traffickers or organized crime specifically 
related to money laundering investigations.  There have 
been minor incidents of vandalism of police officers' homes 
and cars, but these were not specific to money laundering 
investigations. 
 
------------------- 
TERRORIST FINANCING 
------------------- 
 
¶27.  The GOL has independent national authority to freeze 
assets linked to terrorism.  The amended Law on the 
Prevention of Money Laundering defines terrorist financing 
as an "activity by means of which individuals intentionally 
use money or other assets received by criminal or other 
means for the direct or indirect funding of terrorism." 
Article 9 of this law authorizes FCIS to freeze suspicious 
assets (including those related to terrorism) for a period 
of up to 48 hours, after which period, procedures outlined 
under the Code on Penal Procedure apply.  Article 72 of the 
Criminal Code permits confiscation of assets that served as 
the tool, or represent the result, of a crime.  Article 250 
of the Criminal Code, which came into force on April 10, 
2003, establishes financing terrorist acts as a crime, and 
prescribes imprisonment of between 4-20 years. 
¶28.  In 2003, Lithuania ratified the International 
Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of 
Terrorism, which came into force on March 22, 2003.  In 
April 2004, the Parliament passed a law on the 
"Implementation of Economic and Other International 
Sanctions" which makes international financial sanctions, 
including UN sanctions against terrorists, valid in 
Lithuania, and charges MFA with taking the lead in 
overseeing their implementation.  It also clarifies the 
role of other GOL agencies, such as FCIS, Customs, the 
Insurance Authority, and the Stock Exchange Commission, in 
this process.  The law provides that the Lithuanian Cabinet 
establish and amend, by resolution, implementation of 
international sanctions.  Provisions of the law apply to 
the actions of Lithuanian legal and natural persons in 
foreign countries, irrespective of whether foreign 
countries implement international sanctions as applied by 
Lithuania.  Lithuania does not have an "all serious crimes" 
anti-money laundering law. 
 
¶29.  The State Security Department is the lead GOL agency 
coordinating efforts against terrorism.  Together with 
FCIS, it circulated to financial institutions the names of 
all terrorist individuals and entities on the UN 1267 
Sanctions Committee's consolidated asset freeze list and/or 
whom the USG has designated and whose assets it has frozen, 
for names which we provided to the GOL on a non-close-hold 
basis.  For names provided on a close-hold basis, FCIS 
informed us it did a thorough search in its database.  The 
government has provided no indication that its searches in 
2004 have yielded any evidence of terrorist assets. 
 
¶30.  Charitable and non-profit entities do not play a role 
as conduits to finance terrorism.  Alternative remittance 
systems do not exist in Lithuania.  A press report noted 
that a Catholic priest accepted a donation of LTL 5-10 
million (USD 1.9-3.8 million) in November 2004 in violation 
of internal Church regulations that require the approval of 
a bishop for donations of more than LTL 10,000 (USD 3,846). 
The Church has started an internal investigation into this 
matter, while the parliamentary budget committee debates 
how best to regulate charities. 
 
---------------- 
FREE TRADE ZONES 
---------------- 
 
¶31.  Lithuania has Free Economic Zones (FEZ) in the cities 
of Klaipeda, Kaunas and Siauliai.  Klaipeda is the 
country's largest seaport, Kaunas is an air, road, and rail 
hub, and Siauliai hosts the largest airport in the Baltics. 
There are currently four businesses operating in the 
Klaipeda FEZ.  This largest of Lithuania's zones, with 130 
million euros (USD 174 million) in total foreign 
investment, has signed contracts with four more enterprises 
to begin operations in 2005. 
 
¶32.  Companies operating in the FEZ receive the same legal 
guarantees as those operating elsewhere.  Parliament 
approved a law on the fundamentals of free economic zones 
on June 28, 1995 that regulates conditions for the 
establishment of free trade zones and the legal status of 
firms operating in such zones.  Lithuania's EU Accession 
agreement permits the indefinite operation of existing 
FEZs, but precludes the establishment of new ones. 
Businesses operating in the zones enjoy the following 
advantages: 
 
-- 80 percent corporate tax reduction for the first five 
years of operation, and 50 percent for the next five years; 
 
-- Exemption from customs taxes; 
 
-- Exemption from Value Added Tax; and 
-- A 50 percent discount on land leases. 
 
FCIS has no indication that any of these free trade zones 
are being used in trade-based money laundering schemes or 
by the financiers of terrorism. 
 
------------------------- 
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION 
------------------------- 
 
¶33.  Lithuanian law enforcement cooperates with the USG in 
investigations and the exchange of information related to 
money laundering, financial crimes, terrorist financing and 
customs issues.  The Lithuanian FCIS exchanges information 
with the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the 
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Internal 
Revenue Service of the U.S. Department of the Treasury on 
suspicious financial transactions, and carries out joint 
investigations of money laundering cases.  FBI states that 
it has had excellent cooperation with law enforcement 
agencies in Lithuania.    In 2004, FCIS responded to five FBI 
and FinCen requests in 2004 for cooperation on money 
laundering and fraud cases, while FBI responded to several 
FCIS requests concerning individuals and businesses 
possibly associated with money laundering and fraud.  The 
police and FCIS continue to cooperate with U.S. law 
enforcement bodies on a significant Russian Organized 
Crime/Money Laundering investigation.  Through Mutual Legal 
Assistance Treaty (MLAT) and other requests, Lithuania 
provided bank records and other evidence to the United 
States to be used at trial.  Lithuania allowed bank 
officials to travel to the United States in 2004 to testify 
at trial.  FBIHQ is reviewing an FCIS proposal in 2004 for 
a Memorandum of Understanding between the two agencies to 
clarify their relationship. 
 
¶34.  Lithuanian authorities exchange records in connection 
with investigations and proceedings relating to terrorist 
financing and other crime investigations.  The USG-GOL 
MLAT, which entered into force in 1999, provides a 
mechanism for formal exchange of records.  Lithuania 
voluntarily exchanges with the United States information 
regarding on-site examinations of banks and trust 
companies.  FCIS joined the Egmont Group of Financial Crime 
Investigative Units in 1999, whose primary objective is to 
provide a mechanism to exchange information in a timely and 
secure manner to further the fight against money 
laundering.  FCIS joined the Egmont Secure Web in December 
2003, permitting communication via secure email, including 
the posting and assessing of information regarding trends, 
analytical tools, and technological developments.  In 
addition to Egmont, GOL officials exchange records via 
Interpol, and FBI, Customs and Internal Revenue Service 
liaisons.  The Lithuanian government has not refused to 
cooperate with USG agencies on important cases. 
 
¶35.  Law enforcement is working with other countries on 
significant organized crime money laundering 
investigations.  FCIS signed four agreements in 2004 
covering cooperation against economic and financial 
crimes, money laundering, and exchange of information 
with the European Anti-Fraud Office, the Azerbaijan 
Revenue Service, the Italian Guarda di Finanza, and the 
Estonian Tax and Customs Board.  Nine Memoranda of 
Understanding on cooperation for exchanges of financial 
intelligence information were signed with Financial 
Intelligence Units (FIU) from Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, 
the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Poland and 
Slovenia between 1999-2003.  Lithuania and Germany signed 
an agreement in 2001 to cooperate in the fight against 
organized crime and terrorism. 
 
¶36. USG assistance has provided advanced training to combat 
money laundering, including terrorist financing, and 
organized crime.  The East-West Management Institute 
(EWMI), a not-for-profit organization that promotes 
economic and legal reform in countries making the 
transition to a free-market economy, conducted the 
following workshops and seminars with USG assistance: 
 
-- A "Regional Workshop on Prevention of Money Laundering" 
(for law enforcement institutions) in Tallinn, Estonia, on 
June 10-11, 2004.  Lithuanian participants included two 
Supreme Court judges, two prosecutors and two FCIS 
officials; 
 
-- A "Regional Workshop on Prevention of Money Laundering" 
(for law enforcement institutions) in Vilnius on February 
26-27, 2004.  Lithuanian participants included six FCIS 
representatives, two judges, nine prosecutors and the 
Deputy Director of the Ministry of Justice's International 
Law Department.  In addition, there were participants from 
Estonia, Latvia, and Ukraine; 
 
-- In January 2003, EWMI organized a study tour to the 
United States for representatives of the three Baltic FIUs. 
Three FCIS officials traveled to the United States to meet 
with FINCEN, the U.S. FIU, to discuss money laundering; 
 
-- A "Regional Workshop on the Prevention of Money 
Laundering" (for law enforcement institutions) in Gdansk, 
Poland, on May 22-23, 2003, which served as a forum for 
specialists in financial crime to discuss cases and 
exchange opinions about the current situation in the field. 
Lithuanian participants included two prosecutors and one 
judge.  There were investigators, judges and prosecutors 
from Estonia, and Latvia as well; 
 
-- A seminar on "Prevention of Money Laundering" (for banks 
and financial institutions) in Riga, Latvia, on October 30, 
2001; and 
 
-- A seminar on "U.S. and Foreign Banks' Compliance with 
the US Patriot Act" (for banks and financial institutions) 
in Riga, Latvia, on October 30, 2002. 
 
In addition, the USG and the GOL signed a letter of 
Agreement on Law Enforcement on September 30, 2003, under 
which the United States agreed to provide training and 
equipment to the Lithuanian police to combat currency 
counterfeiting.  The USG provided USD 325,000 in 
surveillance equipment in 2003, pursuant to a Letter of 
Agreement signed on March 22, 2002, to combat corruption. 
 
¶37.  Lithuania is a signatory to the 1988 International 
(Vienna) Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic 
Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, which it ratified on 
March 12, 1998.  It is also party to the 1990 Council of 
Europe (Strasbourg) Convention on Laundering, Search, 
Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime, which 
it ratified in 1994.  On December 9, 2003, Lithuania's 
Parliament ratified the International Convention for the 
Suppression of Terrorist Bombings.  The country adheres to 
the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force and 
relevant EU policy directives.  The 2003 amendments to the 
Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering incorporated 
recommendations from EU policy directives issued in 1991 
and 2001. 
 
---------------------------------------- 
ASSET FORFEITURE AND SEIZURE LEGISLATION 
---------------------------------------- 
 
¶38.  Pretrial investigation agencies (police, FCIS, 
Customs, secret police) are responsible for tracing assets. 
A prosecutor may prohibit individuals suspected of 
involvement in money laundering or other financial crimes 
from disposing of property for a period of up to six 
months.  Freezing assets for a longer period requires a 
court order.  The court can seize only property which the 
criminal or his/her accomplice used as an instrument of a 
crime or a means to commit a crime or which was acquired as 
the direct result of a criminal act.  The court may seize 
assets in order either to ensure the possibility of 
forfeiture in criminal cases or to secure a judgment in a 
civil action.  Upon conviction of money laundering or 
terrorism financing, an individual may be subject to fines, 
restrictions on operation of his/her company, or 
liquidation of property. 
 
¶39.  The FCIS froze over LTL 25 million (USD 9.6 million) 
in assets during the first ten months of 2004.  In 2003, 
the FCIS froze over LTL 52 million (USD 20 million) in 
assets, and in 2002, LTL 35.1 million (USD 13.5 million). 
There are no figures available for the total value of 
forfeited crime-related assets.  The police lack adequate 
resources to perform property seizures. 
 
Disposition of Assets 
--------------------- 
 
¶40.  Proceeds from seizures and forfeitures go into the 
national budget, except for armaments, which go into the 
national weapons fund.  The police destroy seized 
narcotics.  Enforcement actions led to LTL 6.5 million 
(USD 2.5 million) in seized drugs in 2004.  Lithuania does 
not share crime-related assets with other governments. 
Seizures and forfeitures of assets have not generated a 
public or political reaction.  Following passage of the 
Criminal Process Code in 2003, the government is not 
currently considering other legislation on seizure and 
forfeiture. 
 
¶41.  The public and business community are supportive of 
GOL efforts against money laundering, so long as these 
measures are undertaken in a transparent manner. 
 
MULL