Armenian law-enforcement bodies' access to banking secrecy expands

22.01.2020 18:18
Armenian law-enforcement bodies' access to banking secrecy expands

YEREVAN, January 22. /ARKA/. Armenia's National Assembly has approved today in the second and final reading a set of amendments to the laws on criminal procedure and on bank secrecy. Before coming into force they need to be signed into law by the president of the country.

Under the current law, Armenian banks are required to provide tax and law-enforcement authorities with information about financial accounts of only those clients who are accused or suspected of certain crimes. Besides, investigators need permission from prosecutors and courts before demanding access to such data. According to the Minister of Justice Rustam Badasyan, the law in its current form prevent criminal investigations into bribery and other corrupt practices.

Under the new amendments, requests of the law- enforcement bodies for access to bank accounts must be well grounded. Secondly, the entire procedure is to be supervised tightly by prosecutors and such requests must be approved by the Prosecutor General or his deputy.
The amendments provide the full list of crimes for which a petition for disclosing banking secrecy can be submitted.

In addition, the court must present a reasoned decision on the request and to assess whether there are other ways to get access to required information.

The amendments were opposed by an MP from the Bright Armenia faction Mane Tandilyan, who claimed they contained certain threats. She also added that Armenia has already a legislation designed to combat money laundering, which provides for access to suspicious bank accounts.
She also noted that the adoption of this law could adversely affect the investment climate, and, consequently, the economic growth -0-


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