Events in Vilnius on European Sanctions and Illicit Finance Monitoring and Analysis Network jointly organised by the Center of Excellence in Anti-Money Laundering and RUSI

As a part of the Euro SIFMANet Project, the Center of Excellence in Anti-Money Laundering (AML Center) and the Royal United Institute Services Institute (RUSI) hosted roundtable discussions for experts on sanctions and illicit finance yesterday in Vilnius, Lithuania.

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    SIFMANet Project at a glance

    Euro SIFMANet brings together European research institutions to raise awareness and inform policymaking against the illicit financial flows that continue undermining our democracies including by addressing identified shortcomings and unanswered challenges that EU Member States face.

    This project aims to:

    1. Promote the effective implementation of EU sanctions on Russia through bolstering the under-resourced and over-stretched capacity of EU Member States;

    2. Highlight the importance of applying a national security lens to the threats posed by illicit finance to the EU and connected states and their democratic systems;

    3.  Create a network of EU academic and research institutions that work together to ensure sanctions and illicit finance remain central to the EU security and policy agenda, as part of the wider EU focus on defending democracy.

    Eimantas Vytuvis, Director of the Center of Excellence in Anti-Money Laundering in Lithuania highlighted: “Governmental institutions, law enforcement agencies, financial institutions – public and private entities collaboration play a significant role in building European financial resilience and ensuring effective implementation of the European sanctions regime. We are glad that today Lithuania is the first country participating in the SIFMANet’s project and is taking a part in building stronger cooperation within the EU sanctions and illicit finances. Only through collaboration, we can ensure effective implementation of the European sanctions’ regime.”


    “In recent years, countries across the EU have upgraded their responses to financial crime. However, the security threat posed by illicit finance is still under-acknowledged, a fact sharply illuminated by the Russian war in Ukraine. Our new project, in partnership with a consortium of institutions across the EU, including the AML Center in Lithuania, seeks to highlight the need to address this security threat as it seeks to undermine our democracies and open societies” Tom Keatinge, Director of the Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies (CFCS) at RUSI.

    “RUSI has enjoyed a productive partnership with the AML Center on a number of previous occasions, including on the development of public-private partnerships and strengthening responses to terrorist financing. This latest project, at a critical moment in the development of responses to illicit finance, and in the face of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, is a perfect opportunity to take forward our partnership with the AML Center” – highlighted Kinga Redlowska, Programme Manager for CFCS at RUSI Europe.


    Zoom in on SIFMANet-related events in Vilnius

    To effectively implement SIFMANet’s goals, AML Center and RUSI convened senior officials from key Lithuanian ministries, members of the Financial Intelligence Unit, and experts from the private sector for a private roundtable discussion at Radisson Blu Hotel in Vilnius on ‘Imposing Sanctions Regime As An Element For National Security’ moderated by Tom Keatinge, Director of the Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies (CFCS) at RUSI and by Elčin Mamedov, Tactical Cooperation Group Coordinator at the Center of Excellence in Anti-Money Laundering.

    Discussions invited attendees to share their experiences of implementing sanctions, the impact of legal and structural changes in the sanctions architecture in Lithuania, the role of information sharing, and the challenges created by a lack of implementation harmony between EU member states. Discussions also focused on the challenges posed by the shortage of sanctions expertise at a time of heightened demand for staff across both public and private sectors; and the impact of the shift in national attitude in addressing illicit finance caused by the Russian war in Ukraine.

    Following up on the roundtable meeting, the AML Center and RUSI will also organize an online webinar on Illicit finance and sanctions implementation challenges in today’s context’ open to the public on 10 October. The online webinar will raise awareness of the challenges presented by the effective implementation of sanctions and discuss the national security dimension of illicit financing. NGOs, representatives from the Financial Intelligence Unit, members of the financial sector, and journalists will have the opportunity to share their own views and concerns on this topic. More information about this event will be announced soon.

    More than 3,500 Lithuanian financial market participants have already participated in the Center’s training.

    2 trillion EUR

    It is estimated that around EUR 2 trillion is laundered by financial fraudsters worldwide every year.


    Average score by which participants assess the quality of training.