Romanian Minister of Public Finance Ioana Maria Petrescu and Swiss Ambassador to Bucharest Jean Hubert Lebet signed Tuesday a project agreement as part of “Fighting Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing”, a Swiss-Romanian cooperation programme. The beneficiary of the CHF 2.15 million non-refundable funds project is the National Office for the Prevention and Combat of Money Laundering.
The agreement is part of the program aimed at narrowing economic and social disparities.
The National Office for Prevention and Control of Money Laundering is scheduled to receive CHF 2.5 million in non-reimbursable funds from Switzerland for purchasing the necessary software and hardware to perform expert financial analyses and provide professional training.
“The general objective of this project is to reduce money laundering activities by enhancing the National Office for Prevention and Control of Money Laundering’s analysis capabilities. In this respect, Romania has requested support for purchasing specialized software and hardware for the analysis of financial information and for consolidating the professional skills of the main parties involved in money laundering prevention,” Thomas Stauffer, head of the Swiss Contributions Bureau in Romania, stated at yesterday’s singing of the financing agreement.
The agreement is part of the Swiss – Romanian cooperation program aimed at narrowing economic and social disparities, through which an overall amount of CHF 181 million was allotted, of which Romania has contracted around 70 percent, according to Minister of Finance Ioana Petrescu, also present at the event. She stated that the agreement for the Romanian – Swiss cooperation program was signed four years ago and the program was initiated three years ago, showing visible results in energy, research, and education projects, and projects with a focus on promoting the civil society. Under this agreement, a Romanian – Swiss program for SMEs was launched in early 2014 with the objective of granting investment loans to SMEs. So far, 280 SME investment loans have been granted, Petrescu added. According to her, Romania should use the entire amount allocated by Switzerland through Swiss-Romanian cooperation program by the end of this year, the period of actual use being 2019.
“Switzerland is fully committed to fighting against corruption and cross-border financial crimes, and it has become one of the leading contributors to illicit asset reimbursement,” Stauffer said. “Cooperation relations between Romania and Switzerland are very efficient and we have not encountered any serious problems. Romania is a committed, trustworthy, and dependable partner,” Jean Hubert Lebet, Swiss ambassador to Bucharest, stated in turn. The prospects of Switzerland continuing to offer non-reimbursable financial assistance to Romania are positive, Lebet added, while failing to disclose the amounts our country could receive after the current agreement is finalized.
According to the Swiss official, no reimbursement cases were reported in Romania and no collaboration agreement has been concluded between Romania and Switzerland regarding tax evasion.
Ioana Petrescu announced negotiations are being had at present to attain CHF 1.3 million in financing for the National Agency for Fiscal Administration (ANAF). According to a press release issued by the Ministry of Finance, another project currently under implementation is ‘Pre-feasibility and Feasibility Studies on Construction of Metro Line 4: Straulesti Lake – Progresu Train Station, Gara de Nord – Progresu Train Station segment.’ Through this project, Switzerland will provide a CHF 8.5 million grant to SC METROREX SA.
In addition, a series of infrastructure investment projects focusing on the concept of ‘sustainable energy’ are undergoing final approval procedures. These projects have been allotted the largest financial support through the Program (CHF 37 million) and will be implemented in Arad, Brasov, Cluj-Napoca, and Suceava.