Money Laundering Roundtable (part 1)

Chair: opens meeting and lays down the rules of the roundtable.

Full title is “international cooperation: countering money-laundering and promoting judicial cooperation”.

Secretariat: Money laundering is a problem connected to the international trade in drugs. More countries criminalised money laundering in 2013 than in 2012. Many banks have started conducting better checks on accounts, and keeping better documents, and looking out for criminal transaction. Member states have also put in more measures. However, a lot of laundered money is still getting through undetected. It requires more law enforcement. States need more support to follow the money and confiscate money from crime and need to get better at sharing information and working together.
Current statistics show that money laundering runs to the trillions of dollars and only a small percent is intercepted. This is a risk to financial systems and states. UNODC is ready to assist member states. UNODC has been providing support, especially in hot spot areas like Latin American and the Caribbean. There is a scarcity of information on the issue. It is important that member states work together formally, but also work together informally using existing international structures to limit money laundering.

Algeria: Money laundering is a priority for Algeria. Created a financial investigation unit in 2002. In 2004 the law was changed to allow for better ability to identify and prosecute money launderers. Continuing work on strengthening money laundering laws and many amendments have been made. Measures have taken to prevent laundering. Working with financial institutions to better checks. Training sessions have been run in collaboration with UNODC, World Bank, IMF and others. Other organisations have been set up within financial ministry, and police force.

Norway: Norwegian drug policy includes strong measures against money laundering and trafficking. They are essential issues. Regional issues, like the Paris Pact, have been important. Action oriented plans are. UNODC container programme is very good tool. Support the decision last year to create a task force on organised crime. Purposeful efforts on cash flow mean confiscation can happen. Countries need to be able to provide data and potentially take on the trial. Operationally, we also need to disrupt production as close to source as possible. NGOs and press are important as watch dogs on our efforts, and efforts of member states. We must strengthen regional cooperation, law enforcement efforts against organised crime are essential tool against production and trafficking of illegal drugs.

Japan: Agrees with previous speakers. Japan customs has been expanding where they have made customs agreements. Working on information exchange with specific areas. Money laundering has been important in the past, trafficking has also been recognised as important revenue stream for terrorism, eg: Taliban in Afghanistan. “Invisible money laundering” is of growing importance. Potentially in used cars.

Argentina: Since the adoption of political declartion Argentina has taken action agaisnt money laundering. They have attacked the financial structure of those involved. Since 2009, a new legal framework has been put in place. New laws introduced meant have strengthened FIU and how allowed for preventive action, special prosecutors, training for security forces and prosecutors and now specialised investigation teams. Other countries in our region have also adopted measures which has made it easier for us. Tax havens are a problem. Information needs to be shared better. Strengthening cooperation at regional level is very important.

Ghana: Announced new measures to combat money laundering. HAs recently seized five properties under new law. The economies of West Africa are informal which makes it harder to track. People bring money over the border. They often bring $400,000 – $600,000 and try to bribe officals.

Mexico: Has worked based and implemented recommendations of FATF. Strengthened the FIU, unit in charge tracking proceeds of crime. Bilateral agreements have been made. Money laundering threatens, and undermines prosperity and governance. Multilateral treaties should be basis for extradition and cooperation.

Russia: (puts on a powerpoint) The Russian Federation has a dedicated financial investigation body. Main routes for afghan heroin go thru Karachi in the south and from there thru Africa to the USA. There the drugs are turned into money. Afghan produces a lot of money, but where are the proceeds? Questions where the money is laundered. Refers to power point and shows that money is not going back to Afghanistan. The money tends to leave the producing and consuming country to a third country. From here they go to a fourth country for spending. Russian delegate explains the flow in great detail with aide of a sweet powerpoint with animations. Essentially, money launderers extend the flow of money to be as long as can be to mask identities.

Morocco: National Anti-money laundering agency has been consolidated. Morocco is a monitoring programme. They look at crimes, including international drugs trade. Crime of laundering exists even when laundering took place outside of Morocco. A new law makes it easier to combat money laundering.

Burkina Faso: Has recently passed a new law on Money Laundering. Has created a new organisation to monitor and identify  money laundering. They have an action plan which they were helped to develop by the UN. Working regionally in an informal agreement to combat laundering.

United States of America: One trillion has been laundered every year. 320 billion is made by drug trafficking organisations. Underscores the importance of this issue. USA welcomes the advances made internationally. Asset sharing agreements with 19 countries, over 200million dollars worth of property shared. 4 challenges. Establish central authorities, meaningful guidance, quality control, put in place workable mechanisms. The US will continue to provide bilateral assistance to investigate and prosecute complex financial crimes.

Kenya: Have received a lot of training and expertise in applicable areas. Central bank has had a promulgation and there are new laws (from 2009) and penalties. Has been working regionally as well. There is a need for international cooperation.

The Vienna NGO committee on drugs: NGOs are not involved directly in measures to combat money laundering. They do have experience in issues around it. We have seen some advances but there are still many challenges. Corruption is an issue for all governments. Need to ensure that measures to not target petty crimes or misused against people who use drugs.

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