Bahamas plans to introduce strong regulations for token and cryptocurrency sales, intending to make the country a better place for digital currency and blockchain businesses. The Securities Commission officially filed a draft of the bill back in March seeking to regulate token offerings that are not considered securities.
Bahamas is not the first island country to show interest in cryptocurrencies or introduce such bills. Back in June last year, Malta through its Financial Services Authority ( MFSA), passed 3 laws that enables the issuance and trade of digital currencies such as Bitcoin, Ether, Ripple, etc., within its borders, and this has attracted big exchanges such as Binance to take its services there.
In Gibraltar, there is an ongoing legislation seeking for enabling the digital assets to be issued and traded as well. Also, Bermuda, passed a law that enables the schemes doing or dealing with ICOs to ask for endorsement from the Bahama’s ministry of finance.
Registering a Token Project
It’s more likely that particular cryptos characterizing equity shares should be exempted from the nation’s securities law, nonetheless, the rules and regulations for this are still in the pipeline.
As per the bill, the novel rules and regulations will work on all token issuers, cryptocurrency exchanges platforms, wallet operators/providers, and any party facilitating an ICO. The companies are encouraged to get enough insurance coverage before starting the project.
During the registration process, the firm will be required to bring a comprehensive financial statement particularly of the token issuance that contains the technology of the venture, scalability, risks associated to AML & CFT rules and regulations, supremacy and governance, thus assisting the Bahama’s watchdogs to assess the viability of the venture.
KATOWICE, Poland – Increased drug flows into Europe and the threat of returning foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) are two key security concerns being addressed at an INTERPOL conference for the region.
The liberation of all Daesh-held population areas in Syria means FTFs are now likely to scatter around the globe, to other conflict zones, their countries of origin, or to carry out attacks such as the Sri Lanka bombings.
Ensuring frontline officers have access to information contained in INTERPOL’s global databases, including details of more than 50,000 FTFs and 86.2 million lost and stolen travel documents, is key for enhancing national and regional security.
Opening the 47th INTERPOL European Regional Conference, Poland’s Undersecretary of State Renata Szczęch said, “With criminal networks often the early adopters of technological solutions, we need to do our best to stay one step ahead, and INTERPOL has a key role to play in this regard.
“The need to further strengthen our cooperation persists and keeping this in mind, we commit ourselves to making another step on the way to a more secure Europe,” said Undersecretary Szczęch.
INTERPOL President Kim Jong Yang said the European region continued to spearhead police cooperation and innovation to address today’s global security challenges.
“As the saying goes, ‘the future belongs to those who prepare for it today’. This conference once again sees Europe at the forefront of INTERPOL’s work to make the world a safer place,” said President Kim.
Commander in Chief of the Polish National Police, Jarosław Szymczyk said: “These three days will help us focus on key issues and challenges faced by law enforcement in all European countries, and strengthen our ties in combating drug crime, money laundering and terrorism financing.”
To assist European member countries combat drug trafficking which is reaching record levels, in April this year INTERPOL launched the RELIEF database which was developed for the Organization by the Czech Republic.
RELIEF’s purpose is to help law enforcement better identify the origin and routes of drug deliveries and shipments through automatically comparing the tool-marks, logos and chemical compositions of drug packages.
INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock said whilst the threat of terrorism continues to dominate headlines, every day police officers on the ground continue to tackle a wide spectrum of crimes.
“Today there are no purely regional criminal threats. Women, children and men are enslaved by human traffickers and smuggled across borders, an unprecedented supply of drugs is being routed to Europe from Latin America, whilst cyber criminals carry out attacks from all corners of the globe.
“When an officer begins an investigation, they do not know where it will take them, but one thing is certain, INTERPOL’s global network means assistance can be provided from around the world. It also means there is nowhere for criminals to hide,” added the Secretary General.
INTERPOL’s European region is the most active, having already conducted more than 1.2 billion searches of the Organization’s databases in 2019, nearly half of all checks made globally.
More than 170 senior police officials from 55 countries are attending the three-day (29 - 31 May) meeting which will also address stolen works of art links to money laundering and enhancing biometric information sharing to counter terrorism.
The Moroccan Central Bureau of Forensic Investigations (BCIJ) has broken up a suspected terrorist cell in the northern city of Tangier.
"A terrorist cell consisting of eight extremists from the city of Tangier, aged between 20 and 31, has been neutralized,” the BCIJ said.
Among the detainees is a man whose brothers have fought alongside ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria, it added.
During the operation, the security forces seized several electronic devices, bladed weapons, a piece of black fabric symbolizing the ISIS flag, military uniform and two underwater firearms.
The detainees are suspected of spreading ISIS propaganda.
According to the same source, this security operation was part of continued efforts to preserve Morocco’s security and stability.
The statement added that the suspects were kept in custody while investigations are ongoing to arrest other accomplices.
A week ago, Morocco was internationally recognized for its effective and successful strategies in combating terrorism and its funding, revealed Dr. Jawhar Nfissi, the head of the Moroccan Financial Intelligence Unit.
Nfissi chaired the delegation representing the kingdom at the MENAFATF 29th Plenary Meeting & Meetings.
The meeting was held in Amman on April 23-25 and was attended by representatives of member states of MENAFATF (21), international observers, representatives of the World Bank and the UN, experts from the US, UK, France, Germany, Australia, and Spain, and experts from the international organizations in money laundering and terrorism financing.
For the first time under the FATF’s new, open-ended mandate, representatives from the 205 members of the FATF Global Network, the IMF, UN, World Bank and others will meet for FATF Week in Orlando, Florida.
During six days of meetings, they will discuss a range of important issues, focused on protecting the integrity of the financial system and contributing to global safety and security.
This includes further progress in the regulation of virtual assets, with strong support from the G20.
FATF Week will conclude with Plenary, the third and last under the U.S. Presidency of Marshall Billingslea, from 19 June. U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin will end the Plenary with closing remarks on 21 June.
On the agenda during FATF Week, key issues include:
In addition, FATF will receive reports from organisations including the IMF, World Bank, United Nations, OECD, OSCE, Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, CARIN, EBRD, ECB, Europol, GIFCS, IAIS, the 9 FATF-Style Regional Bodies and others.
JEDDAH: The fight against terrorism remains a global priority, Saudi Arabia said on Thursday, as the Kingdom emphasized the need for the international community to work together to eradicate the threat it poses.
The comments were included in a speech delivered by the Saudi delegation at the 28th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Geneva. Led by Interior Ministry adviser Abdullah Al-Ansari, the delegates presented a review of the Kingdom’s efforts in the realms of crime prevention and criminal justice. They highlighted the fact that no effort is being spared in the fight against terrorism, which is a high priority for the nation.
The Saudis also stressed the need for continued international cooperation to defeat terrorism, and said that the Kingdom has ratified most of the international measured designed to combat the threat. The country has also implemented a number of anti-terror measures, including: the establishment of a Presidency of State Security to address security challenges, in particular those posed by terrorism and its financing; the founding of a National Cybersecurity Authority to address cyber threats; and the amendment of counterterrorism laws.
The commission heard that the Kingdom’s security services had uncovered and disrupted active terrorist cells across the country. In addition, a number of initiatives have been developed to address the problem of returning terrorist fighters. These include the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center, the members of which includes the GCC states, and which is jointly led by Saudi Arabia and the United States. It maintains strict control over the banking sector, ensures the proper organization of the charitable sector, and imposes sanctions on those found guilty of financing terrorism.
The delegation pointed out that the Kingdom continues to lay the foundations for a long-term strategy to defeat extremism. This includes the founding of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, and the expansion of anti-extremism programs through the King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue to address the growing threat of radicalization and recruitment of young people by armed militias such as Daesh.
At the international level, the Kingdom has pledged $100 million to support the G5 Sahel counterterrorism task force in West Africa, and is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum. In addition, Saudi experts participate in joint military programs targeting terrorism around the world.
The country also hosted a meeting of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition to address the ideological, financial, military and media aspects of the fight against terrorism, and the Ministry of Interior has implemented numerous judicial and legal assistance requests to assist in the battle.
A number of draft resolutions arose from the session, the most important of which included: technical assistance for the implementation of international counterterrorism conventions; combating the online sexual exploitation and abuse of children; strengthening technical assistance and international cooperation to combat cybercrime; and the adoption of preparations for the 14th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in April 2020 in Kyoto, Japan. During discussions about these resolutions, most of the amendments suggested by the Kingdom were adopted to strengthen international cooperation.
The Saudi delegates also held meetings with officials from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, including officials from the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and the Bureau of Counterterrorism. They discussed ways to enhance cooperation and enhance the capability of law-enforcement officers to combat such crimes.
FUKUOKA (Reuters) - International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned on Saturday that the increasing presence of technology giants using big data and artificial intelligence could cause a significant disruption to the world’s financial system.
The rapid development of financial technology (fintech) has increased access to cheap payment and settlement systems for low-income households in emerging countries where traditional banking networks are scarce.
But it has raised concern about the increasing dominance of big technology firms in mobile payments, which could force global policymakers to rethink the way they regulate the banking system and ensure financial settlements are executed safely.
“A significant disruption to the financial landscape is likely to come from the big tech firms, who will use their enormous customer bases and deep pockets to offer financial products based on big data and artificial intelligence,” Lagarde told a symposium on financial technology held on the sidelines of the G20 finance leaders’ meeting in Fukuoka, southern Japan.
While such innovation may help modernize financial markets, they could make the financial system vulnerable such by putting payment and settlement systems under the control of a handful of technology giants, she added.
“This presents a unique systemic challenge to financial stability and efficiency, and one I hope we can touch on during the G20, and address in a cooperative and consistent fashion.”
Lagarde said China presents an example of the trade-off between benefits and challenges posed by financial technology.
“Over the last five years, technology growth in China has been extremely successful and allowed millions of new entrants to benefit from access to financial products and the creation of high-quality jobs,” she said. “But it has also led to two firms controlling more than 90% of the mobile payments market.”
Addressing the pros and cons of financial innovation is among topics of debate at the two-day meeting of Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank heads that began on Saturday.
Boosting regional security at INTERPOL South American Police Chiefs summit.
FOZ DE IGUACU, Brazil – South American Police leaders have concluded an INTERPOL summit with a call to boost the region’s collective response to transnational organized crime and terrorism.
The three-day (20 - 22 May) meeting in the Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay tri-border area concluded with police chiefs endorsing a number of conclusions aimed at improving regional police performance, particularly in the areas of corruption, terrorism, drug and firearms trafficking and the increased use of INTERPOL databases.
INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock said national expertise and knowledge is vital in developing a global policing architecture to address transnational crime.
“Each police chief knows very well the challenges they face. By bringing together the law enforcement leaders from across the region, we can identify what INTERPOL can do to unite their efforts in targeting both specific and emerging threats,” said Secretary General Stock. “To this end, your leadership is essential to both regional and global security,” the Head of INTERPOL told the Police Chiefs.
Boosting South American security
Maurício Valeixo Director General of the Brazilian Federal Police, highlighted the importance of INTERPOL’s annual meeting in shaping regional police cooperation.
“Only by addressing regional crime through a global lens can we tackle today’s pressing security challenges coherently and effectively. Cooperation is fundamental and the only way to realistically protect our national security, economies and people,” said the Brazilian Police Chief.
The Chief of Argentina’s Federal Police, who also serves as INTERPOL Vice President for the Americas, Néstor Roncaglia, said: “By holding this meeting in a strategic tri-border area, police chiefs are sending a strong message to regional crime groups that we are using the world’s largest police organization to hunt them down with a view to arrest and extradition. Their days of freedom are numbered.”
Stronger Latin American National Central Bureaus (NCBs)
Police leaders were briefed on a range of initiatives to support and modernize police forces, from operational and investigative support to enhancing database usage and expanding INTERPOL’s global communications network – called I-24/7 – to national police and border control agencies.
INTERPOL Secretary General Stock announced the launch of a new I-One initiative to strengthen the capacity of Latin American NCBs through IT equipment renewal and training, so as to pave the way forward for future I-24/7 connections at borders for systematic and automatic traveller screening.
The strong performance and optimal capacity of INTERPOL NCBs is central to international police cooperation, and a critical component of INTERPOL’s vision of a safer world.
Tackling local crime with global tools
The INTERPOL NCB in Brasilia manages a regional satellite INTERPOL office in Foz de Iguacu to help local police conduct international and regional police cooperation.
“Every day, we intercept smugglers using our land borders and waterways to smuggle illicit products into South America,” said Police Chief Mozart Fuchs, who heads the INTERPOL office in the tri-border town on behalf of Brazil’s Federal Police.
“INTERPOL’s presence in Foz de Iguacu is directly linked to the growing number of itinerant criminals, particularly INTERPOL Red Notice fugitives, detected at the multiple borders we manage here. That is the power of global police cooperation at the regional level,” concluded Commissioner Fuchs.
G20 finance ministers and central bank governors have asked the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and global standard-setting organizations to monitor risks around crypto assets. The request was made in a joint communiqué published on the website of Japan’s Ministry of Finance on June 9, following the G20 meeting held in Fukuoka, Japan.
The leaders that cosigned the document state that they urge relevant institutions to give greater consideration to crypto assets and consider appropriate action:
"We ask the FSB and standard setting bodies to monitor risks and consider work on additional multilateral responses as needed".
The joint statement also points out that “technological innovations, including those underlying crypto-assets, can deliver significant benefits to the financial system and the broader economy.” This exact sentence was also included in the document released after the G20 summit held in July last year in Buenos Aires. After expressing such optimism, the authors of the paper also raised concerns over those technologies:
“While crypto assets do not pose a threat to global financial stability at this point, we remain vigilant to risks, including those related to consumer and investor protection, anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT)".
The latest statement notes that the involved parties look forward to the adoption of the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) Interpretive Note and guidance on crypto assets “at its [FATF’s] plenary later this month.” The leaders also state that they reaffirm their commitment to applying the recently amended FATF standards for crypto.
The document also states that the finance ministers and central bank governors welcome work concerning crypto carried out by international regulatory bodies, the International Organization of Securities Commissions and the FSB.
As Cointelegraph reported yesterday, blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis, which has “engaged directly with global regulators,” noted that it would be surprising if the involved parties agree on something new during the G20 summit this year.
In April, Japanese media reported that during the meeting of central bank governors and finance ministers in Fukuoka, leaders were expected to establish new AML regulations.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has assured of providing all kinds of assistance to Bangladesh in controlling drugs and preventing crimes and corruption.
The assurance came at a bilateral meeting of Law Minister Anisul Huq and Bangladesh delegation with UNODC’s director general at Vienna, the capital of Austria this afternoon.
The meeting was held as a side discussion at the three-day 10th session of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) Implementation Review Group (IRG) in Vienna, a law ministry press release said.
At the meeting, the UNODC’s director general has assured of establishing the national drug rehabilitation centre and of checking terrorism-related crimes in Bangladesh.
Besides, the UNODC has also assured of providing assistance to the country’s (Bangladesh) officials and employees in order to prevent corruption.
Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Chairman Iqbal Mahmood, Law Ministry’s Legislative and Parliament Affairs Secretary Mohammad Shahidul Haque and Bangladesh’s ambassador to Vienna Md Abu Zafar were among the Bangladesh delegation at the meeting, according to the press release.
TOKYO - The Group of 20 major economies plan to agree on compiling additional steps by 2021 against money laundering and funding of terrorist groups through the use of crypto-assets, sources close to the matter say.
The G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors are set to urge the Financial Action Task Force, an international body, on devising new measures to prevent the malicious use of cryptocurrency and other advanced technologies when they gather in Fukuoka for a two-day meeting from June 8, the sources said.
The chiefs are also expected to formally agree on strengthening regulations on cryptocurrency exchange operators such as requiring government registration.
Concerns are growing that cryptocurrencies will be used to fund terrorist organizations and other criminal acts by exploiting their anonymity.
A U.N. panel of experts said in March that cryptocurrency gave North Korea a new way to evade sanctions since "they are harder to trace, can be laundered many times and are independent from government regulation."
It said Pyongyang successfully launched attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges in Asia, including Japan, at least five times between January 2017 and last September, leading to a total loss of $571 million.
The FATF, an international standard-setting body that promotes steps to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, has been pushing for strengthened monitoring of cryptocurrency exchanges and the verification of customer identities.
In Japan, registration is already mandatory for cryptocurrency exchanges due to a revision of the payment services law that came into effect in April 2017. The law also gives authorities the power to issue orders for business improvement and suspension.
The G-20 chiefs are also set to ask members to report on possible countermeasures utilizing IT such as employing artificial intelligence technology to detect suspicious transactions, the sources said.
They will agree to accelerate efforts toward establishing rules on compensating investors and customers for theft of their cryptocurrencies, the sources said.
DUSHANBE (WAM) -- The UAE is deeply committed to fighting terrorism and drying up the sources of its financing and stressed the need for strengthening regional and international multilateral cooperation to address challenges related to terrorism.
Delivering the UAE statement before the plenary opening session of the high-level ''Conference on International and Regional Cooperation in Countering Terrorism and its Financing through Illicit Drug Trafficking and Organised Crime'' in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, today, Obaid Al Hayri Salem Al Ketbi, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for Security and Military Affairs, outlined the UAE's tireless efforts to counter terrorism and combat its sources of financing.
The Anti-Money Laundering and Suspicious Cases Unit, AMLSCU, at the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates, has signed more than 45 memoranda of understanding with national, regional and international counterparts,'' he told the two-day gathering which assembled representatives of 50 countries and more than 27 international organisations.
According to him, the UAE has also hosted international anti-terror organisations including Hedayah, the International Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, CVE, and Sawab Centre, a joint UAE-US digital communications hub to combat violent extremist ideologies online.
He added that the UAE announced 2019 as the ''Year of Tolerance'' as part of its efforts to bolster the UAE status as a global hub for tolerance, moderation and cultural diversity.
In his opening address to the conference, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon said that "Activities of international terrorist and extremist forces have shaken the foundations of international security and caused unstable situation in various regions of the world."
In this context, Emomali Rahmon pointed to the necessity of strengthening potentials of countries and their special services for the purpose of preventing terrorism and extremism.
Tajik leader also noted that the fact that terrorist and extremist organisations use information technologies to disseminate their extremist ideas and recruit people in their ranks evokes serious concern Hosted by the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan in cooperation with the United Nations, the European Union and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the conference aims to promote and strengthen international and regional cooperation, identify effective practices to combat terrorism financing and facilitate expert discussions on how to respond to evolving methods used by terrorists and terrorist organisations to fund their activities and structures, including through illicit drug trafficking and organized crime.
The event will be used as a platform to discuss complex and multidimensional challenges being faced by members of international community and facilitate the exchange of experience, lessons learnt and good practices in these fields.
Moreover, aiming at a strong and long-lasting cooperation between countries, the conference highlights the need for renewed efforts for effective multilateral action through operational partnership and suitable joint responses to the challenging and emerging threats of terrorist and its financing through illicit drug trafficking and organised crime.
VIENNA, 25th May, 2019 (WAM) -- The 28th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) concluded today with resolutions on countering trafficking and other forms of organised crime, protecting children online and preparations for the 2020 Crime Congress in Kyoto.
"Your efforts to advance joint crime prevention and criminal justice responses to shared challenges, thus contributing to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, are an inspiring example of multilateralism at work," said Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), at the closing session.
"By adopting resolutions on countering child sexual exploitation and sexual abuse online, and combatting cybercrime, you have reaffirmed the international community’s commitment to tackling some of the most insidious threats facing our connected societies. By focusing on evidence-based, gender-responsive crime prevention policies, as well as involving youth in crime prevention and promoting education on justice and the rule of law, you truly are helping to foster a better world for all."
The 28th session, which had a record number of participants – more than 1,500 – from 120 States, agreed on preparations for the 2020 United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Kyoto, Japan, which has as its focus "advancing crime prevention, criminal justice and the rule of law: towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda".
Member States adopted resolutions addressing the prevention and countering of child sexual exploitation and sexual abuse online; cybercrime and terrorism; tackling transnational organized crime, including trafficking of wildlife and commercial goods; and enhancing the security of the precious metals supply chain, among other challenges. Agreed resolutions also addressed integrating sport into youth crime prevention and criminal justice strategies, and enhancing transparency in the judicial process.
The Commission held a thematic debate on the responsibility of criminal justice systems in preventing and countering hate crime. More than 100 side events took place over the course of the week-long session.
T&T - The Financial Intelligence Unit's (FIU) detection rate of suspicious activity in the financial sector is up by 25 per cent in comparison to last year.
This was revealed by Tobago House of Assembly's (THA) Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles during his address at the 9th annual Anti-Money Laundering/Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Tobago conference at the Magdalena Grand Golf and Beach Resort on Monday.
He said the FIU, which fights money laundering and terrorism financing, showed "a 25 per cent increase in the number of suspicious transaction/activity reports... moving from 877 reports in 2017 to 1,100 in 2018."
The figure was part of the FIU's overall increase since 2013. The number of detected suspicious activity cases moved from 554 in 2013 to 1,100 in 2018, the Chief Secretary said.
Charles said the FIU had also increased the number and kinds of businesses and personnel under its watch.
"Even more commendable is your increase to 2,756 of supervised entities, which include a wide spectrum of non-regulated financial institutions, professionals and business sectors."
He said the Government had done its part to help fight money laundering by passing the Civil Asset Recovery and Management and Unexplained Wealth Bill 2019.
He added the FIU was also allowing citizens to help in the fight by introducing a secured online reporting and data management solution -'FIU Connect,' in collaboration with the USA. Charles said at present there are sensitisation programmes mounted by the unit to educate non-profit organisations and the general public on money laundering and terrorist financing.
But Charles said more could be done to curtail such illegal activity if education programmes took place at an earlier age. He also threw out a challenge to the unit to partner with Tobago-based civil society and THA groups.
"...Consider partnering with our Financial Literacy Secretariat under the Division of Finance and the Economy, to begin introducing information about anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism to our high school students and school leavers," he said.
"Partner with the Youths Energised for Success (YES Programme) which is geared towards preparing and developing young entrepreneurs and young professionals. You may even want to consider partnering with the Division of Community Development, Enterprise Development and Labour, to sensitise communities and small businesses about the dangers of ML and CFT," he suggested.
The FIU, which was incorporated under this country's Financial Intelligence Unit of T&T Act of 2009, is part of the Egmont Group — a globally recognised network of financial units seeking to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
Hanoi (VNA) – Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has signed a decision to promulgate an action plan to address money laundering and terrorism financing risks in the 2019-2020 period.
The plan aims to improve the mechanism of preventing and combating the phenomena in Vietnam as well as control and minimize the risks in the field based on the national risk assessment results in 2012-2017.
It will also serve the multilateral evaluation by the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) of Vietnam’s anti-money laundering and terrorism financing mechanisms in 2019.
The action plan includes groups of measures related to the legal framework, powers and responsibilities of authorised agencies, domestic cooperation, inclusive financial products, and international collaboration.
Relevant ministries and departments are required to make annual reports about the implementation of the plan to the State Bank of Vietnam before the 10th day of March, September and November. The bank will report the outcomes to the Prime Minister.
The decision took effect from the signing day of April 30, 2019.
Judges and prosecutors from the Western Balkans convened to build expertise on effective asset recovery and support the fight against corruption.
The AIRE Centre (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe) and Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative (RAI) organised a regional event for judges and prosecutors on effective asset recovery as part of a wider project to bolster the fight against corruption and organised crime in the South East Europe.
The two-day event consists of training sessions conducted by regional and international experts, including academic experts on criminonolgy and security studies, a former judge on the European Court of Human Rights, and a judge of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Serbia. Over thirty participants includes senior judges and prosecutors from the Western Balkans and across South East Europe.
British ambassador to Montenegro, Alison Kemp pointed out that today’s conference helps turn the intent of regional co-operation into reality, by further strengthening expertise amongst prosecutors and judges in the field of asset recovery, facilitating the exchange of good practices in this respect in the South East Europe”. She added that given that this region has broadly similar legal systems and encounters similar challenges, she is confident that a regional approach is beneficial, including exchanges of expertise, discussions of common challenges and opportunities to exchange best practice.
Ambassador Kemp also emphasised that the United Kingdom supports these efforts, and that the UK is keen to share their experience in fighting corruption, and remains committed to working with partners in the Western Balkans and supporting these important reform processes.
The AIRE Centre Programme Manager for the Western Balkans, Biljana Braithwaite, noted that organised crime and corruption is affecting every State and society in the world. She added that the effective asset recovery measures are a crucial weapon in the arsenal of prosecutors and courts everywhere to stop ongoing criminality and deter future wrongdoing. Mrs Braithwaite added that the AIRE Centre is delighted to be working in collaboration with RAI, and with the support of the UK Government, on this project. She also said:
"We want to give prosecutors and judges an opportunity to further strengthen their knowledge and a platform for increased international cooperation, thus contributing to more effective implementation of asset recovery legislative frameworks throughout the region."
The event is the first of three training events on the topic of effective asset recovery, held as part of a two-year regional project organised by the AIRE Centre and RAI entitled “Strengthening anti-corruption in South East Europe through improving asset seizure measures” (the Regional Anticorruption Project). The Regional Anticorruption Project is funded by the UK Government and supported by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. The Project began in November 2018 and will run until November 2020.
The Regional Anticorruption Project is focussed on fostering regional cooperation through strengthening the capacities of prosecutors and courts to engage in effective asset recovery, developing international and regional cooperation in the asset recovery process, and addressing the strong negative public perception that surrounds the fight against corruption and organised crime throughout the region.
ISLAMABAD: Ahead of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) review in June, Pakistan Customs has introduced a string of policy measures to counter terrorism financing through transfers with the help of cash carriers and develop profiles of currency traffickers.
These measures include drastic changes in the procedures and better enforcement to curb smuggling, particularly currency smuggling, through entry/exit points of the country. One of the major initiatives is the establishment of the directorate of cross-border currency movement mainly responsible for developing a national-level profile of currency traffickers.
On Friday, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) asked customs investigating officers to conduct an initial probe into currency smuggling cases related to any trans-national terrorist network or United Nations-designated entities and individuals. The Customs department has arrested 144 people in currency smuggling cases in the last five years, more than 30 of them during the current year.
The Customs investigation officers were asked to consult the list of proscribed individuals available on the website of the interior ministry to ascertain whether any accused had been enlisted as a proscribed person.
These and other directives were issued to Customs officers to determine whether those involved in currency trafficking had any link with terrorist organisations or not.
The officers were further directed to identify the end use of cash smuggling proceeds and investigate travel history of the arrested persons to ascertain whether the money being generated through cash smuggling was used by proscribed entities and individuals. In case, any link is found with terror financing, the information will be shared with the Customs intelligence directorate and other law enforcement agencies.
One of the FATF’s major recommendations for the Pakistan Customs is to effectively deal with currency smuggling, a source of trade-based money laundering and terror financing, particularly at entry and exit points of the country and to install a system for tracking the money trail.
On the enforcement side, Pakistan Customs has seized currency worth Rs440.6 million between July 2018 and April 19 2019 as against Rs153.07m seized over the corresponding period of last year. It shows that since July 2018, the enforcement drive has produced desired results in the wake of effective enforcement of measures to curb smuggling.
In the last five years, the total amount of currency confiscated stood at Rs911m in 118 cases. In the prosecution of arrested 144 people, 65 were convicted and 19 acquitted by the court. The court imposed Rs18.01m fine in these cases. “We have arrested several currency smugglers recently,” a senior customs official told Dawn.
To further investigate the cases, 15 cases have been sent to customs departments of foreign countries with which the Pakistan Customs has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for sharing information. “We have written to them to share with us about the profile of currency smugglers,” the official said.
Under the MoU, the Customs departments will share the profile of the arrested currency smugglers in their home country.
For enhancing international cooperation in controlling smuggling, the Pakistan Customs has so far signed 22 MoUs/agreements with foreign governments/customs administrations for mutual cooperation in customs matters. Under these agreements, requests for mutual legal assistance have been sent to foreign counterparts for identification of linkages in currency seizures.
On the enforcement side, the customs official said, the Currency Declaration System had been put in place at 24 airports where every outgoing and incoming passenger would have to declare the cash they possessed on voluntarily basis.
“We are going to make it mandatory for passengers to declare currency from July 1,” the official said. “This will give us further help to keep on monitoring and then targeting the criminal activity.”
Pakistan Customs has also linked its system with those of the Emirates Airlines and Pakistan International Airlines through a software called Global Traveller Assessment System at Karachi and Islamabad. The system helps in passenger data screening and analysis for enhancing global security. “We will extend this system to other airlines in near future,” the official said.
Ongoing initiatives of the Pakistan Customs include further re-structuring of enforcement formations on the basis of ground demands, introduction of the Advance Passenger Information System at the international airports and establishment of the National Targeting Centre, which will serve as an integrated database of all law enforcement agencies working against smuggling.
Dushanbe, (QNA) - Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe hosted today an international conference on regional and international cooperation in counter-terrorism and its financing through drug trafficking and organized crime. The conference was held in cooperation with the State of Qatar, the United Nations, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
The State of Qatar's delegation was chaired by HE Special Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar for Counterterrorism and Mediation of Conflict Resolution Dr. Mutlaq bin Majid Al Qahtani.
HE the Envoy thanked the government of the Republic of Tajikistan for hosting the conference in cooperation and partnership with the government of the State of Qatar, the United Nations, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. He said that this was further proof of the strong and strategic partnerships the State of Qatar has in the field of countering terrorism and its finance.
He said that terrorism and its financing represent a grave threat to international peace and security. He added that the international community has a collective responsibility to counter terrorism and its financing in line with international law and UN Security Council resolution number 2467, which calls on all countries to prevent terrorist acts and bans the provision of all support to people or organization involved in terrorist attacks.
He stressed that combating the financing of terrorism remains one of the most important priorities for the State of Qatar, highlighting the legislation that the country adopted in that regard. He added that the country has also ratified the majority of international and regional counter-terrorism agreements, and established national mechanisms in the fields of counter-terrorism in line with UN Security Council resolutions. He then said that Qatar is working closely with the designated UN agencies. He said that the State of Qatar has recently contributed $75 million to the UN Counter-Terrorism Office in support of its mission and goals over the next five years.
He highlighted the relationship between terrorism and Transnational organized crime, saying that it has become tangible and dangerous. He highlighted that these groups also began carrying out very complicated transactions using the internet, stressing that governments will need to cooperate as they can no longer face these threats alone without coordination.
He added that an important issue to focus on in the conference is the adverse impact regional conflicts have on advancing joint efforts in the field. His Excellency noted that terrorism thrives in instable environments, adding that wards and conflicts became an important element that is feeding terrorism and extremism. He gave an example with the armed conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa, which led to the undermining of group efforts in combating terrorism and ultimately to weakening the border security of those countries. His Excellency stressed that the region's instability paved the way for criminal organizations and terrorist networks to prosper. He highlighted that criminal organizations have changed their tactics, and now have ties with extremist groups in those regions.
He highlighted the potential of using the war zones not just for drug trafficking, but for illegal arms dealing that would include the components for weapons of mass destruction. He said that the State of Qatar has expressed its concern over the danger the lack of cooperation regionally poses to resolving these threats.
He added that the international community cannot just stand helpless as some countries interfere in the internal affairs of others, in clear violation to the sovereignty of these countries.
In concluding his speech, the Special Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Counterterrorism and Mediation of Conflict renewed the commitment of the State of Qatar to cooperating with all countries as well as regional and international organizations in achieving joint goals. (QNA)
The central bank of Laos has warned the public against the use, purchase or sale of digital currencies, local news outlet Vientiane Times reported on May 21.
The Bank of the Lao PDR has issued a warning to financial market participants and the public against cryptocurrency transactions as they are considered illegal in the country. The bank previously banned financial institutions from conducting any operations with cryptocurrencies, as well as making investments in such an asset.
The bank is purportedly concerned about the anonymity of the sender and receiver in a cryptocurrency transaction, which it worries increases the risk of digital assets’ use in money laundering. A source familiar with the matter told Vientiane Times that authorities do not have a relevant security system to protect cryptocurrency owners.
While some countries like, Canada, Malta and Switzerland have embraced the new asset class to varying degrees, officials around the globe are still expressing skepticism toward crypto, while some hardliners call for outright bans.
In the United States, where the legal status of crypto can vary state-to-state, California Congressman Brad Sherman recently called for a full ban on cryptocurrencies. Sherman claimed that crypto presents a threat to the power of the U.S. dollar to affect world economic developments.
In April, Cointelegraph reported that the Indian government was considering a complete ban of cryptocurrencies under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act since it could purportedly be used for money laundering. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs reportedly stated that cryptocurrencies are used in fraudulent schemes to “defraud gullible investors”.
That same month, news broke that Pakistan — which banned cryptocurrency trading last April — is implementing new cryptocurrency regulations in an effort to improve its track record in fighting financial crime. The move was reportedly in part a reaction to demands from international monitoring body the Finance Action Task Force, which has repeatedly voiced concerns about cryptocurrencies’ role in terrorist financing.
DAMMAM – The agreement between the Ministry of Commerce and Investment and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) is meant to stop the licensing of companies selling commodities on installment, Zeid Al-Yaeesh, Chairman of the General Committee for Financial Companies, an affiliate of SAMA, told Okaz/Saudi Gazette on Monday. The aim is to protect the market by making available the required data on all clients, he pointed out. The Committee aims to restrict the financing process to licensed entities, ensuring compliance with the regulations issued by SAMA, Al-Yaeesh added.
“SAMA aims to limit financing companies in order to combat money laundering, abide by responsible financing, follow appropriate bill collection methods, as well as study the client’s solvency,” he said.
Chaos in the financing market has negative effects on the society and the individual. These include a rise in the percentage of payment defaulters and the danger of money laundering operations, he stressed.
Financing companies can merge into a larger entity and obtain a license for a new company. The fate of companies that do not come under the umbrella of SAMA is that they will be stopped unless they rectify their legal status, Al-Yaeesh asserted.
SAMA’s objective for issuing the financing regulation is to make all companies working in the sector to be under its canopy. The regulation states that 45 percent will be deducted from the employee whose salary exceeds SR15,000, and 55 percent to be deducted from the employee having a salary over SR15,000. The aim is to protect the individual, he stressed. Al-Yaeesh said some quarters ignore SAMA regulation.
He added that the market is divided into two sections. The first is organized and is subject to SAMA law. This includes financing and lending companies. They provide SAMA with the list of their clients. The second are companies licensed by the Ministry of Commerce and Investment but is not subject to SAMA regulations, like those selling household appliances and cars.
SAMA has uncovered the existence of violators, those providing financing that exceeds the limit with regard to monthly deductions. This exacerbates defaults in payment of due installments.
- New financial guidelines on the operations of the local government accounts might be launched on Monday, by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit.
- The new guidelines might make some state governors lose control of local government funds from the federation account - The agency earlier vowed to track down the politically exposed person and public office holders through a tracking database.
Nigeria - There are indications that some state governors will lose control of local government funds from the federation account due to the new Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) guidelines.
The Nation reports that the guidelines stated that joint account system in place in most states will only exist for the receipt of allocations but not disbursement. A top source, who spoke in confidence, said the new director of NFIU, Modibbo Hamman-Tukur, is ready to roll out the comprehensive guidelines which will cover government, corporate, Bureau De Change and individual financial transactions.
The source said: “The NFIU will on Monday launch new financial guidelines, including those bordering on the operations of the local government accounts.
"The guidelines will limit cash transactions in the accounts of local governments and promote registered transactions by all the local governments. Governors will also lack control over the utilization of these funds of local governments.
“The joint account system in some states will only exist for the receipt of federal allocations meant for local governments and not disbursement." Another source said: “The administration of President Buhari is taking his anti-corruption campaign to a higher level by also blocking sources of stealing in government at all levels, money laundering, terrorism financing and others. We should expect more transparency in governance, especially at the third tier, which is the local government level." A statement by the NFIU through its acting chief media analyst, Ahmed Dikko, said it will soon complete the beneficial ownership data base for politically exposed persons.
The statement read: "The main focus of the NFIU will be to fight all crimes through money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation of weapons real time analyses in the entire country. “Significant measures to be implemented by the NFIU in the near future will include full implementation of the National Sanctions regime to all detected areas of vulnerabilities within our systems. Other areas include issuing guidelines, advisories etc. that will affect cash transactions processes of local, state, federal governments and bureau de change etc.
“The unit will also release new reporting requirements on suspicious transactions for terrorism prone areas and on suspects taken into custody in violent and flashpoint communities to check vices of terrorism, proliferation of small arms, kidnapping, ethnic violence, cattle rustlings etc. with the view to providing credible intelligence for law enforcement and national security. “Finally, efforts of the federal government to set up the beneficial ownership data base for politically exposed persons and public servants will be completed and expanded to capture additional necessary areas. “The new process which includes new approach to analysing compliance in public account expenditures will almost shut down corruption from the way we used to know and new transparency methods will come to governance."
The declaration was made in a statement released by NFIU through its acting chief media analyst, Ahmed Dikko, on Monday, March 25. The agency vowed to track down the politically exposed person and public office holders through a database capable of tracking their financial transaction.