Some forty-five students from the Turkmen State Institute of Finance attended an OSCE-organized training course on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) that took place in a hybrid format from 18 to 22 September 2023.
The OSCE Centre in Ashgabat organized the five-day course to raise the awareness of students about AML/CFT international standards and share best practices of the OSCE participating States in preventing and countering this financial crime.
An international expert provided insights into the AML/CFT policy and co-ordination and elaborated on preventive measures in the AML/CFT area. The course also addressed money laundering and confiscation as well as transparency and beneficial ownership of legal persons and entities.
William Leaf, Acting Economic and Environmental Officer of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat, referred to the Basel Declaration on Youth adopted at the OSCE Ministerial Council in 2014, in which the OSCE participating States “acknowledged the potential of young people to contribute to economic, political and social development, and that they can support participating States in the implementation of commitments in all three dimensions of the OSCE.
“It is my firm belief that our training courses for students who may join the Financial Monitoring Service and other structures of the national AML/CFT system in a near future will enhance the sustainability of the host country’s efforts to advance the AML/CFT system,” said Leaf.
The training course also introduced students to the Financial Action Task Force standards and relevant national legislation. The student shared their views on powers and responsibilities of competent authorities and other institutional measures on the AML/CFT related issues.
Beijing (China), 6 September 2023 - Ministers and senior officials from Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), gathered in Beijing for the 14th Ministerial Meeting of the Mekong Memorandum of Understanding on Drug Control (the Mekong MOU).
This year’s Ministerial Meeting considered how drug production, trafficking and use have changed in the Mekong region over the past 30 years, with the vast expansion of synthetic drug supply and intensified organized crime activity top of the agendas.
In 1993, at the 48th Session of the UN General Assembly held in New York, four countries, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Thailand, and the United Nations established a joint framework to respond to the growing challenge of illicit drugs, and primarily opium and heroin, in the Mekong region. The agreement expanded in 1995 to include Cambodia and Viet Nam, with a broader more comprehensive and coordinated response framework agreed.
Opium and heroin have been recently superseded by synthetic drugs, in particular methamphetamine and recently ketamine. Methamphetamine seizures have grown substantially in East and Southeast Asia, from 6.6 tons in 2004 to nearly 151 tons last year, with regional supply heavily concentrated in the Mekong. Production of ketamine has also become a concern, as organized crime groups have diversified and established industrial-scale production in the Mekong, particularly in Shan State of Myanmar, and Cambodia. 20.9 tons of ketamine were seized in the Mekong alone in 2022.
As challenges related to drug production, trafficking and use in the Mekong have evolved, so has the framework of the Mekong MOU. “Today, thirty years later, the Mekong MOU remains central to drug control efforts, and the UN is committed to addressing the shared challenges of drug production, trafficking and use in the region.
Unity is arguably more important today than ever before, as the landscape of the drug problem continues to grow more complex”, stated Jean-Luc Lemahieu, UNODC Director, Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs. “Illicit markets and production and use continue to change, and the Mekong MOU adapts. As challenging as the situation has become, the framework remains the primary vehicle for regional collaboration”, added Mr. Lemahieu.
Over the past decade, 1,500 training courses have been run with almost 50,000 participants, strengthening the capacity of agencies at various levels, and over 300 operational missions have taken place to strengthen cross-border cooperation.
The Mekong MOU has also helped broker cross-border operations of Mekong states that have contributed to the safety, security and well-being of the region. “Since the establishment of the Mekong MOU 30 years ago, all parties have joined hands to deal with the regional drug problem. Our six countries and UNODC share a friendship and a commitment to go forward hand in hand”, stated Chinese State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Wang Xiaohong.
The Beijing Declaration, endorsed by Ministers, recognizes the extent of the drug challenges in the Mekong, supporting a regional action plan that outlines practical actions countries and the UN will take to address the drug problem.
Mekong Ministers acknowledged the need to work together to address the drug problem regardless of the complexity, with Mr. Lemahieu emphasizing that “the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is committed to supporting the signatories to the Mekong MOU. I am here today because UNODC believes in the health, well-being and security of the region. We will continue to support the region to manage the drug challenge, to consolidate progress, and overcome the challenges ahead.”
It has been more than a year since Nepal’s central bank, the Nepal Rastra Bank, initiated amendments to the law to enable the issuance of the digital version of the Nepalese rupee. What is the status of its CBDC?
Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), the South Asian nation’s central bank, revealed in August 2022 its intentions to develop a central bank digital currency (CBDC). Concurrently, the NRB appealed to the nation’s legislators to amend the Nepal Rastra Bank Act, which traditionally governs the issuance of tangible currency, to incorporate provisions for digital currency issuance.
Since September 2021, the NRB has outlawed the use of crypto trading and mining in the country. Nepalese residents have been urged to refrain from participating in any cryptocurrency-related activities, as they would face legal consequences if caught.
Forkast’s Jenny Ortiz-Bolivar spoke with Nepal Rastra Bank spokesperson Gunakar Bhatta about the latest developments surrounding the digital Nepalese rupee, the country’s stance on cryptocurrency bans, and perspectives on stablecoins.
The Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) - New York
On 18 September 2023, the GCTF 22nd Coordinating Committee convened in New York, under the leadership of Co-Chairs Egypt and the European Union.
A first in the history of the Forum, the GCTF Members invited Kenya and Kuwait to join the Forum as new members. This membership expansion brings greater regional representation, inclusivity, focus on Africa and frontline states – foundational pillars of the Co-Chairs’ Strategic Priorities.
The Forum broadened the scope of its work including local approaches to preventing and countering violent extremism, oversight and accountability in counterterrorism, and new, emerging and disruptive technologies. GCTF Members agreed to reinvigorate the Forum, to review its working methods and explore ways to further enhance GCTF resources and actions.
Local government leaders from Iraq, Kenya and Morocco provided insights into their efforts to prevent violent extremism. They emphasized a gender and youth focus, as well as the importance of a whole-of-society approach.
The Co-Chairs look forward to the political steer of the upcoming 13th Ministerial Plenary meeting.
Issyk-Kul, 3-4 September_The Eurasian Group (EAG) on Combating Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing (AML/CFT) convened its third annual forum in Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan.
Money laundering and terrorism financing continue to pose significant threats to international security and stability. These criminal activities undermine the rule of law, economic resilience, and contribute to the proliferation of violence and extremism. The Eurasian Forum serves as a crucial platform for the exchange of expertise and best practices in the field of AML/CFT and the development of joint measures to strengthen the international AML/CFT framework.
The forum deliberated on key aspects of combating organized crime and ensuring financial security, including discussions on international standards, national experiences, and emerging trends in the detection and investigation of money laundering and terrorism financing-related crimes, including the use of virtual assets. The OSCE actively participates in international efforts in AML/CFT. The EAG provides support to its member-states in developing and implementing national AML/CFT programs and raising public awareness about AML/CFT risks.
Notably, the OSCE has been a valuable partner in assisting the Kyrgyz Republic in strengthening its AML/CFT system, including the development and enactment of a robust legal framework and the enhancement of the capacity of government agencies and financial monitoring bodies.
Kyrgyzstan has made significant progress in this domain, bolstering its legislative framework, establishing an internal control system within financial institutions, and providing training to financial institution staff and government authorities in the detection and prevention of suspicious transactions.
"This progress has been made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, with the support of the OSCE and other international partners," noted Ambassador Alexey Rogov, Head of the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek.
The Eurasian Group Forum is supported by the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek, the State Financial Intelligence of the Kyrgyz Republic, the EAG Secretariat, and the International Training and Methodological Centre for Financial Monitoring.
From September 18-21, the ECOFEL will host the “AML-CFT workshops for designated competent authorities in the West and Central Africa Region”.
This in-person event will be co-hosted with the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) of Ghana, the GIABA Secretariat, and the GABAC Secretariat.
We start the event with the “Financial Investigative Techniques” training course. This workshop will invite FIU staff, LEAs, and prosecutors from the region to explore the areas examined as part of the mutual evaluation process and further enhance their relevant knowledge and skills in financial investigation.
Following this workshop, participants from the supervisory authorities will also be invited to attend the “Information Sharing between FIUs, LEAs and Supervisory Agencies” training course.
This workshop will inform stakeholders on the formal and informal mechanisms for cooperation between FIUs, supervisors, and LEAs and the best practices for effective information sharing between FIUs, LEAs, and supervisory authorities.
UAE – A delegation from the Executive Office for control and non-proliferation (EOCN) headed by His Excellency Talal Al-Tunaiji, director of the office, has participated in the twenty-first meeting of the national committees of the Asian member states of the organization for the Prohibition of chemical weapons (OPCW), which was held in Siem Reap/ Cambodia (29- 31) August.
The meeting has discussed reviewing the implementation of the provisions of the chemical weapons convention (CWC) at the regional level and identifying regional priorities and challenges facing the Asian states parties. The gathering has also tackled the means through which capacity-building programs are developed and promoted in the Asian states parties besides identifying the means for supporting national committees and other stakeholders.
1 September 2023 (New York, USA) – The sixth negotiating session of the Ad Hoc Committee (AHC) to elaborate the United Nations (UN) cybercrime convention took place at the UN in New York from 21 August to 1 September. This session marked in-depth negotiations on the draft convention, with the aim to adopt a focused criminal justice instrument that advances international cooperation to fight cybercrime, while respecting human rights.
Throughout the AHC negotiations, diverse stakeholders, including NGOs, the private sector, academia, and other organizations have been actively engaged demonstrating remarkable unity and consistency. To further elaborate some of the views and concerns by stakeholders, a side-event on ‘Multistakeholder perspectives on developments at the 6th session of the AHC,’ was held on 29 August, co-organized by UNODC‘s Civil Society Unit (CSU), the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, International Chamber of Commerce, Cyberpeace Institute, Access Now, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime and Epicenter Works.
The event offered a platform for stakeholders to voice their primary concerns and present their latest perspectives within the context of significant negotiations on content, scope and definitions under the new convention.
The event, hosted by Microsoft at their offices in New York, was opened by Mirella Dummar Frahi, Chief of the UNODC CSU and Nemanja Malisevic, Digital Diplomacy Director at Microsoft. Malisevic outlined that the event offers the chance to actively engage in these processes while also bearing the responsibility of participating in productive and meaningful discussions among peers.
Highlighting the significance of multistakeholder expertise, Barry Fullerton, Counselor for UN Affairs at the U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna, emphasized the importance of their participation and meaningful contributions. He encouraged attendees not to be discouraged, to remain united, and to continue taking an active role in the discussions.
Under the moderation of Anders Frantzen (CSU), the event gathered attention from a diverse audience of over 100 participants. Timea Suto from International Chamber of Commerce emphasized that the primary goal for global businesses is to enhance international cooperation in combating cybercrime. The focus is on advocating for a functional criminal justice instrument that effectively mitigates criminal activities and facilitating the implementation of measures against cybercrime.
Moreover, Tanja Fachathaler representing Epicenter Works (a digital rights organization), stressed the importance of not overlooking human rights within the framework of the convention. Finally, Raman Jit Singh Chima from Access Now emphasized the significance of data protection, underscoring that the existing measures are not comprehensive enough. He highlighted the need for further enhancements in this regard.
The event reached its objective in providing a platform for key AHC stakeholders and state representatives to evaluate the significance of multistakeholder contributions made to the negotiations up to that point. It aimed to explore ways to sustain the open and inclusive nature of the AHC's modalities, ensuring ongoing opportunities for meaningful engagement.
In conclusion, Ian Tennant, Chair of the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice expressed gratitude for the transparent engagement process established by the Ad Hoc Committee so far and encouraged delegates to maintain their receptiveness to civil society's input in the treaty discussions, highlighting the vital role of human rights safeguards in guaranteeing a functional and impactful treaty. Governments, industry representatives, and civil society must join forces to combat cybercrime and this is the purpose of the ongoing discussion of the 6th session of Ad Hoc Committee on cybercrime.
On August 30th and 31st, 2023, the Egmont Centre of FIU Excellence and Leadership (ECOFEL) hosted a virtual workshop on “Improving SAR/STR Quality” for the West and Central Africa Region.
During the two-day event, AML/CFT expert Mariano Federici shared presentations, answered questions, and discussed the quality of STRs in the region.
The ECOFEL would like to thank all presenters, facilitators, and participants for this successful event. The ECOFEL would also like to thank the two FATF-Style Regional Bodies in the region, GIABA and GABAC secretariats for their support and continuous cooperation.
This workshop is part of a global virtual workshop series aimed at improving the quality of STRs worldwide.
During the last few years, participants from the Egmont Group’s EUROPE I, MENA, Americas, East and Southern Africa, and Europe II Regions also met to discuss suspicious transaction reporting. The ECOFEL looks forward to organizing future events and providing resources to stakeholders about this important topic.
Europol’s inaugural threat assessment on financial and economic crimes leverages operational insights and strategic intelligence contributed by EU Member States and Europol’s partners
The world is getting smaller, as trade, communication and infrastructure on a global scale brings us closer together. However, there is another, darker, side to the coin: our interconnected world is being abused by criminals who have created an underground economy to sustain their illegal operations.
Europol’s first ever threat assessment on the topic, ‘The other side of the coin: an analysis of financial and economic crime in the EU’, sheds a light on this system which, from the shadows, sustains the finances of criminals worldwide.
The report is based on a combination of operational insights and strategic intelligence contributed to Europol by EU Member States and Europol’s partners. It analyses all financial and economic crimes affecting the EU, such as money laundering, corruption, fraud, intellectual property crime, and commodity and currency counterfeiting.
Europol’s Executive Director Catherine De Bolle said:
“Organised crime has built a parallel global criminal economy around money laundering, illicit financial transfers and corruption. With modern technology, they have diversified their modi operandi to evade detection. The report presents Europol’s expertise in financial and economic crimes, detailing how the current threats are manifesting themselves and how these crimes impact the wider society. It serves as a roadmap to foster cooperation that will derail the world of criminal finances, intercept illicit profits, and – above all else – Make Europe Safer.”
The European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said:
“Financial and economic crime, and its scale, is a corrosive force in society. Europol and the European Financial and Economic Crime Centre are part of the solution. This report sets out the increasingly sophisticated methods of organised crime and the European law enforcement successes in fighting back. If EU Member States work together even closer on this fight, we can achieve great results.”
Key findings of the report
-Almost 70% of criminal networks operating in the EU make use of one form of money laundering or the other to fund their activities and conceal their assets.
-More than 60% of the criminal networks operating in the EU use corruptive methods to achieve their illicit objectives.
-80% of the criminal networks active in the EU misuse legal business structures for criminal activities.
-The criminal landscape in this area is fragmented, with key players often located outside of the EU.
-The techniques and tools used by the criminals advance quickly, as they take advantage of technological and geopolitical developments.
Asset recovery as a powerful deterrent
Asset recovery remains one of the most powerful tools to fight back. It deprives criminals of their ill-gotten assets and prevents them from reinvesting them in further crime or integrating them into the mainstream economy.
Increasing efforts are being made by EU legislators, Member States and law enforcement to corrode the economic power of serious and organised crime through the recovery of confiscated assets. Yet the amount of captured proceeds still remains too low – below 2% of the yearly estimated proceeds of organised crime, according to a data collection carried out on seized assets for the purpose of the report.
Europol’s European Financial and Economic Crime Centre
The European Financial and Economic Crime Centre (EFECC), founded in June 2020, is Europol’s answer to the growing threats to the economy and integrity of our financial systems.
EFECC’s dedicated specialists and analysts support law enforcement and relevant public authorities in their international financial crime investigations and aims at improving the recovery of criminal assets. In 2022, EFECC supported 402 investigations, with the demand for its skills and services increasing every year.
Terrorist and Proliferation Financing Red Flags Guidance isssued by the EOCN
The Executive Office for Control & Non-Proliferation (EOCN) has issued new guidance highlighting Terrorist and Proliferation Financing Red Flags.
The guidance aims to provide a consolidated list of Terrorist Financing (TF) and Proliferation Financing (PF) red flags that Financial Institutions (FIs), Designated Non-Financing Businesses and professions (DNFBPs), and Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) have to take into consideration while identifying and detecting suspicious Terrorist Financing and Proliferation Financing and sanctions evasion activities.
The regulated entities should file a Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) or Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) to the Financial Intelligence Unit, UAE, in cases where they have ML/TF suspicion.
The guidance provided by the EOCN is useful to regulated entities as these red flags can be added to their screening and monitoring systems to better identify and detect suspicious activities and transactions.
The red flag indicators provided by the EOCN suggest the likelihood of the occurrence of the ML/TF activity. While the existence of a single red flag indicator may not provide conclusive evidence of a financial crime, a thorough examination of the facts of the case, activity, customer due diligence, etc., may help identify and detect illegal activities like money laundering or terrorist financing.
Officers from Spanish Civil Guard arrest four individuals in connection to seizure
Europol has supported the Spanish Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) in dismantling a criminal organisation smuggling large quantities of cocaine from South America to the EU via the Canary Islands. The operation also involved law enforcement authorities from Croatia, Italy and Serbia. The investigation identified a significant threat; criminal organisations’ increasing ability to collaborate closely and deploy members to different locations for longer periods to enable large-scale drug trafficking. The international cooperation of law enforcement authorities across the EU was therefore crucial for intercepting the suspects and halting their criminal activities.
The investigation, initiated in March 2022, focused on a Polish-flagged vessel with an established temporary base in the Canary Islands, and which was suspected of being used for the transportation of cocaine. Since then, law enforcement authorities monitored the activities of the crew. One of the individuals, an Italian national, was linked to the Italian ´Ndrangheta and the other, a Croatian national, was linked to the so-called Balkan Cartel. Although they had no professional activity, both were enjoying high living standards while maintaining the vessel in excellent condition.
The suspicious vessel was making irregular trips to demonstrate normality up until 27 July 2023, when the Spanish authorities detected an unusual trip to an isolated point deeper in the Atlantic Ocean. The vessel departed from there on 2 August and three days later Spanish authorities raided the ship and uncovered 700 kilograms of cocaine on it. Meanwhile, officers on the ground in Spain arrested the Croatian suspect and another person, a Serbian national, both suspected of coordinating the drug smuggling operation from the land. During the arrests, the suspects were found in possession of the phones from which they coordinated the criminal activity.
Europol facilitated the exchange of information and provided continuous analytical support to the investigation. Europol also contributed to the overall case coordination among various agencies and supported the action day remotely.
ABUJA, 30 August 2023 – The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and the Federal Republic of Nigeria signed two Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today aimed to enhance their partnership in preventing and countering terrorism and violent extremism.
This includes initiatives to counter terrorist travel, enhance border and maritime security, and strengthen global, regional and national responses, through the promotion of dialogue and partnerships, and capacity-building activities. The agreements were signed by Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, National Security Adviser to the President of Nigeria and Mr. Vladimir Voronkov, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Counter-Terrorism, who is currently in Nigeria for meetings with senior government officials to advance preparations for an upcoming African Counter-Terrorism Summit planned in 2024.
Thanking the Government of Nigeria for its ongoing cooperation with UNOCT, Mr. Voronkov stressed that “Today’s event marks an important milestone in our partnerships with the Government of Nigeria at this critical time when your country is taking a leading role in regional counter-terrorism efforts.” Highlighting the need for increased multilateral collaboration to support Africa in addressing an evolving terrorism threat on the continent, the Under-Secretary-General welcomed the MoU signing as the basis for a more robust response to combat this scourge.
“We look forward to further deepening our cooperation with Nigeria, including at the regional level”, he said. In a statement delivered on behalf of the National Security Adviser to the President of Nigeria, Rear Admiral YEM Musa (Rtd), Coordinator of the National Counter Terrorism Centre of Nigeria said “The two MOUs we are about to sign today, will set the stage for enhanced ONSA and UNOCT collaborative and coordinated actions to disrupt and dismantle terrorist networks through increased information sharing, technological collaboration, and capacity-building initiatives on a global scale.
It is also indicative of ONSA and UNOCT commitment to preventing, detecting and responding to acts of terrorism, while also safeguarding the rights and freedoms of individuals.” The first MoU was signed between UNOCT and Nigeria’s National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) to enhance collaboration between the two entities on security and counter-terrorism initiatives, including countering terrorist travel, border and maritime security, and delivery of counter-terrorism trainings in Nigeria.
This cooperation will support Nigeria in the implementation of the Economic Community of West African States Commission (ECOWAS) 2020-2024 Action Plan for eradicating terrorism in the subregion. The second MoU was signed between UNOCT and the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) in the context of the UNOCT-led Countering Terrorist Travel Programme.
It formalizes the existing cooperation in preventing and countering terrorist travel and serious crimes and will build Nigeria’s capacities to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute terrorist offences by collecting and analyzing both API and PNR data, in line with United Nations Security Council resolutions, international standards and best practices and human rights principles The two MoUs solidify an existing partnership and enable the United Nations to enhance Nigeria’s counterterrorism capabilities. UNOCT and Nigeria have enjoyed strong and dynamic cooperation on technical assistance for over a decade and Nigeria is a beneficiary of 14 UNOCT capacity-building programmes and projects.
The Islamabad Capital Police have established a Special Investigation Cell to probe the cases related to financial assistance to terrorism and extremism.
According to the Capital Police, the cell will ensure effective legal action against those, who provide financial support to terrorism and extremism.
The cell has been established in its Counter Terrorism Department and will be headed by an officer of Grade-17, who will directly report to the SSP CTD.
The Special Investigation Cell will also seek cooperation from other law enforcement agencies as per international standards.
KENYA - President William Ruto has signed the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating of Terrorism Financing Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2023 into law.
The new law will help address deficiencies limiting the fight against money laundering and terrorism in the country.
It allows for the surrendering of a fugitive criminal who consents to be extradited to a requesting State.
It also grants the Financial Reporting Centre operational independence by excluding it from the definition of State Corporation.
Furthermore, Capital Markets Authority has been empowered to enforce the compliance of its licensees with the laws on anti-money laundering and combating terrorism financing and proliferation financing.
Under the new development, the Insurance Regulatory Authority now has the power to enforce the compliance of its licensees with the laws on anti-money laundering and combating terrorism financing and proliferation financing.
It will also harmonises the licensing regime under the Act with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Standards.
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will supervise financial institutions and agents of reporting institutions.
The Bill has included the laundering of the proceeds of corruption under the definition of “economic crime”.
Meanwhile, the President also assented to the Climate Change (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 42 of 2023), which was published in July.
The Bill amends the Climate Change Act, 2016, providing for the regulation of the carbon markets besides enhancing response to climate change.
It provides transactions in carbon trading as carried out under the Act reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
The Cabinet Secretary, it adds, can enter into a bilateral or multilateral agreement to trade carbon for emission reductions and removals with the approval of the Cabinet.
Egypt’s Prime Minister, Mostafa Madbouly, has issued a decision to amend certain provisions of the executive regulations of the Anti-Money Laundering Law, according to documents viewed by Daily News Egypt.
The first amended article includes several definitions, such as the definition of the law itself, which states that it refers to the Anti-Money Laundering Law.
-Assets: All financial and virtual assets, economic resources such as oil and other natural resources, properties, national or foreign currencies, securities or commercial papers of any kind or value, whether tangible or intangible, movable or immovable, and all legal documents, instruments, records, certificates fixed or evidenced in any form, including digital or electronic form.
-Underlying crime: Any act that constitutes a felony or misdemeanour under Egyptian law, whether committed inside or outside the country and is punishable in both countries.
-Proceeds: Money resulting directly or indirectly from the commission of any predicate offence.
-Financing terrorism: Any action involving the collection, receipt, possession, supply, transportation, or provision of money, assets, weapons, ammunition, explosives, equipment, data, information, materials, or any other items to an individual or group engaged in any organized or unorganized terrorist activity, inside or outside the country, directly or indirectly. This includes digital or electronic forms and has the intention of using all or part of it in the commission of any terrorist crime or knowing that it will be used for that purpose, whether the terrorist act is committed or not. It also covers providing a place for training or a safe haven for one or more terrorists, providing them with weapons, documents, or other means of assistance, or any other means of support, financing, or travel, even if it is not related to the terrorist act.
-Terrorist crimes: Any crime specified in the Anti-Terrorism Law issued by Law No. 11 of 2015, as well as any felony or misdemeanour committed using one of the means of terrorism, or intending to achieve or carry out a terrorist purpose, or intending to incite the commission of any of the mentioned or threatened crimes. This is without prejudice to the provisions of the Penal Code.
The text defines a customer as a natural or legal person, or a legal arrangement, who opens an account, executes a transaction, or receives a service from a financial institution or any non-financial profession or business.
The definition also includes the beneficial owner, who is the natural person who actually owns or controls the customer or the natural person on whose behalf a transaction is being conducted. This includes persons who exercise effective control over the customer, whether the customer is a legal person or a legal arrangement.
Regarding legal arrangements, they may include investment funds or similar legal structures. Loan funds are created when a client entrusts a custodian to manage their funds for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries. This legal relationship may involve the appointment of an independent overseer for the fund and the determination of its powers.
Moreover, the amended law defines high-risk persons by virtue of their public positions, as individuals who hold high local or foreign public positions, such as heads of states, governments, and senior government officials, as well as senior executives of state-owned companies and professionals who engage in activities on a regular basis that can be considered as a source of income.
Financial institutions definition include banks operating in Egypt and their branches abroad, foreign banks operating in Egypt, exchange companies, and other entities licensed to deal in foreign currency under the Central Bank of Egypt Law and the Banking System issued by Law No. 194 of 2020, whenever these other entities engage in any of the financial activities specified in this article for the benefit of a client or on their behalf.
Furthermore, the amended law expanded the definition of financial institutions to include payment systems operators and payment service providers subject to the provisions of the Central Bank of Egypt Law and the Banking System. The National Post Authority is also included in this definition in terms of the financial services it provides.
The amended regulations also include new requirements for financial institutions and other businesses to:
-Identify and verify the beneficial owners of their customers.
-Report suspicious transactions to the Financial Intelligence Unit.
-Take measures to prevent the use of their services for money laundering or terrorist financing.
Deal includes countering terrorists movement, terrorism financing, border, maritime security, says UN Under-Secretary
ABUJA, Nigeria - The UN and Nigeria signed an agreement to fight terrorism, an official said Thursday.
The agreement was signed by the UN Under-Secretary on Counter-Terrorism Vladimir Voronkov and an official of the Nigerian government late Wednesday, according to the head of Strategic Communications in the office of National Security Adviser Zakari Mijinyawa.
“Nigerian government through the Office of the National Security Adviser, and the United Nations Office of Counter Terrorism have signed Memorandums of Understanding to further strengthen counter-terrorism efforts in the country," Mijinyawa said in a statement.
He said both parties pledged to strengthen the fight against terrorism in Nigeria and along West African borders.
Voronkov said cooperation includes countering terrorism financing, terrorist movement, border and maritime security, as well as delivery of counterterrorism training in Nigeria.
Fighting between military forces and the Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) terror groups is frequent in Nigeria’s volatile northeast.
About 100,000 people have been killed and 3 million displaced in more than a decade of terror attacks in Nigeria, according to the National Emergency Management Agency.
Royal Thai Police swooped on 30 targets, capturing an illicit Chinese network involved in cryptocurrency scams, romance scams, and money laundering. The operation, led by Police Colonel Siriwat Deephor, Director of the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO), and his team of over 200 officers, resulted in the arrest of the infamous model, known as Kiki Maxim, and the seizure of almost a billion baht in assets.
The operation, executed at 6am today, targeted a notorious Chinese gang collaborating with Thai and other foreign nationals. They were implicated in digital money investment scams, romance scams, and money laundering schemes across 30 sites in Bangkok, Samut Prakan, and Udon Thani.
The primary target was a posh village on Krungthep Kreetha Road in Bangkok, where 12 luxurious residences, each valued at around 50 million baht, were seized. Four more upscale villages in the same area were also scrutinised. The seized properties were believed to be purchased with proceeds from criminal activities, facilitated by a law firm owned by a Chinese national.
Among the 14 people for whom arrest warrants were issued, Chakrina, or Kiki Maxim, a well-known model, was included. The raid led to her apprehension, along with several other accomplices. Luxury homes and vehicles were seized during the operation.
This raid followed an eight-month-long investigation by the AMLO into the criminal gang, following reports of a romance scam duping young Thai women into investing in cryptocurrencies. The case was first reported to Samrong Nuea Police Station in Samut Prakan Province, reported KhaoSod.
The investigation revealed that the criminals had moved money through multiple layers before converting it back into electronic money in Thai baht. This laundered money was then used to purchase luxury homes and condos in Bangkok and its surrounding provinces, to sell them to Chinese buyers. The financial trail indicated cash and digital money transactions amounting to billions of baht.
RZESZÓW, POLAND 21-25 AUGUST 2023
Investigating crimes in a modern information era requires application of a wide range of tools including open-source intelligence (OSINT). A use of data from open sources as evidence in criminal proceedings is one of the skills on top demand for Ukrainian prosecutors and investigators dealing with war crimes. In the war context, the value of intelligence from open sources increases drastically due to the lack of physical access to crime scenes or evidence.
To this end, 20 prosecutors and investigators of the State Bureau of Investigation, the National Police and the Security Service from all around Ukraine underwent intensive five-day OSINT training, held in Rzeszów, Poland on 21-25 August 2023. The group enveloped participants who are dealing with war crimes resulting from the Russian aggression against Ukraine. The training was organised jointly by the Council of Europe and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL).
The activity enabled the target audience to master their knowledge of collecting, evaluating and analysing publicly available information, as well as conducting investigations using OSINT in accordance with international standards and best practices. The trainers of the course focused on the definition of OSINT, its categories and methodologies, the intelligence cycle, anonymization tools, Google hacking techniques, images and video search techniques, tools for websites, social media, and deep- and dark web, advanced OSINT tools and link analysis.
The training also covered the topic of admissibility of open-source information and electronic evidence in criminal proceedings from the perspectives of European Court of Human Rights and the national court practice. The European Union Advisory Mission partner-experts, by contributing to the activity as well, shared with the participants a legal overview of international cooperation regarding OSINT.
“These have been very intense and professionally enriching five days! And not only within the training curriculum scope. This has been a unique opportunity for professional interaction of all pre-trial investigation bodies and prosecutors dealing with war crimes. The value of this cannot be overestimated. Looking forward to future trainings on investigation of war crimes” – Nataliya Podolyako, Deputy Head of the Police Department - Head of the Investigative Subdivision of the Police Department No. 1 of the Polohy District Police Department of the Main Department of the National Police in the Zaporizhzhia Region.
The activity is a part of the Council of Europe projects “Strengthening Ukrainian Law Enforcement Agencies During War and Post-War Period” and “Fostering Human Rights in the Criminal Justice System in Ukraine” implemented within the Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine “Resilience, Recovery and Reconstruction” 2023-2026, organised in cooperation with the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training within the CEPOL TOPCOP project.
Renewal of Law Enforcement Assistance Programme to Reduce Tropical Deforestation (LEAP)
LYON, France – An international coalition led by INTERPOL and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has launched the second phase of a global programme to tackle forestry crime.
With its emphasis on intelligence-led operations, multi-agency cooperation, and technical law enforcement expertise, the programme - codenamed LEAP II - will offer a unique portfolio of support that helps countries across Latin America and Southeast Asia address forestry crime and illegal tropical deforestation.
Funded by Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI), LEAP helps global law enforcement disrupt international criminal networks and protect the world’s forests.
Bringing key players together to fight crimes against the planet
Building on the success of Phase 1, LEAP II will continue to help countries identify illicit activities along the timber supply chain and prevent, detect and disrupt global criminal networks involved in forest crime.
Officers on the frontlines will use global police databases and intelligence to uncover suspected criminals, detect the movement of protected merchandise and spot suspicious companies across multiple jurisdictions.
“Billions are being made in illicit profits by criminals effectively looting our planet. It is only through committed law enforcement efforts and multi-agency and private sector cooperation at the global level that can we effectively tackle this global crime,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock.
“Phase I of LEAP saw significant successes in fighting one of the world’s most lucrative environmental crimes, so INTERPOL is very pleased to renew our working relationship with both NICFI and UNODC,” added Secretary General Stock
Targeted law enforcement operations to end illegal deforestation
The first phase of LEAP led to the seizure of more than 500 tonnes of illegal timber, numerous arrests and the disruption of several criminal networks worldwide.
“We cannot afford to allow the continued exploitation of our rainforests. Criminals have been selfishly profiting from illegal deforestation for too long, putting our climate, biodiversity, and human health at gigantic risk,” said Ghada Waly, Executive Director of UNODC.
“By joining forces with INTERPOL and Norway, LEAP has been a powerful way to fight back against this alarming threat, and I am confident that its second phase will continue to help safeguard our rainforests for generations to come,” added Executive Director Waly.
In 2022 alone, INTERPOL and LEAP partners coordinated four global operations targeting illegal logging and wildlife crime, with over 1,000 timber seizures in 40 countries, the equivalent of 50,468 m3 or 20 Olympic swimming pools with a total value of USD 740,000.
Field operations saw the arrest of some 300 individuals, triggering more than 20 transnational investigations in LEAP beneficiary countries as well as the identification of 25 new international illegal timber trade routes.
“Illegal logging poses a threat to the rainforest. Behind are often powerful people and networks who profit from the logging and who convert the forest to cultivate coca and other crops or to develop mines,” said Espen Barth Eide, Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment.
“I am proud to announce Norway’s support to a new phase of our collaboration with INTERPOL and the UNODC. This will enable them to continue their support to rainforest countries in their investigations and prosecutions of forest crime.”
LEAP I - implemented between 2018 and 2022 - served to establish tailored working relationships with law enforcement agencies across the globe, building a solid foundation for sustainability and efficiency in tackling organized forest crime.
LEAP II will enable countries to tackle forestry crime through associated crime areas such as money laundering, tax evasion, corruption and drug trafficking.
The three organizations supporting LEAP work together to improve law enforcement capacity, connectivity between countries and agencies, and the successful prosecution of cases related to illegal deforestation.
The launch of LEAP’s phase II is particularly timely given the official kick off today of the Nature Crime Alliance (NCA) during the Global Environment Facility in Vancouver, Canada.
With close NCA-INTERPOL collaboration key to greater impact in tackling environmental crime, INTERPOL is one of the launch partners of this global, multi-sector network aiming at raising political will, mobilizing financial commitment, and bolstering operational capacity to fight crimes against the environment.