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Cambodia has invited the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to visit the country and assess its progress in combating money laundering in January in an effort to be removed from FATF’s grey list of countries deemed high risk for money laundering, officials revealed on Thursday.
Minister of Interior Sar Kheng told a meeting of the national coordinating committee on anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, held in Phnom Penh on Thursday, that Cambodia has submitted its 10th round progress report to FATF which highlights “substantial progress” made since the 9th round report.
This comes after FATF confirmed in October that Cambodia remains on a list of Jurisdictions under Increased Monitoring, meaning it is actively working with the agency to address what are described as “strategic deficiencies” in its AML mechanisms.
According to The Phnom Penh Post, Sar Kheng said Cambodia had fully implemented all of FATF’s recommended action plans and had therefore determined to allow FATF to assess the nation’s case in January 2023.
“We decided to allow the FATF to make an on-site visit to Cambodia,” he said. “It will be a golden opportunity for Cambodia to be removed from the grey list. That’s the last goal of the mission of the national coordination committee.”
However, Yang Kim Eng, president of the People’s Centre for Development and Peace, warned, “Though we may get off of the grey list soon, we must remember that if we allow the same problems to return, then the grey list will come back to Cambodia one day.”
At the heart of Cambodia’s money laundering concerns are the nation’s rampant casino industry, with concerns raised in recent months over heightened instances of crime, particularly human trafficking, in places like Sihanoukville and border towns like Bavet.
It is these operations that have become the focus of a government-led crackdown on illegal casinos and gambling dens announced by Prime Minister Hun Sen in September.
The General Secretariat of the Commercial Gambling Management Commission of Cambodia (CGMC) also issued new guidelines for the operation of commercial casinos with a view to stamping out illegal casino operations across the country.
Police collaboration critical in fugitive investigation
LYON, France – Two suspects wanted in connection with an international Ponzi scheme which defrauded thousands of victims in the Republic of Korea have been arrested in Greece and Italy with INTERPOL support.
The Polish and German suspects, aged 49 and 61 respectively, were wanted internationally under INTERPOL Red Notices issued by Korean authorities for their alleged role in the scheme, which embezzled approximately EUR 28 million from some 2,000 Korean victims.
The arrests follow coordination between the INTERPOL National Central Bureaus (NCBs) in Greece, Italy, Poland and the Republic of Korea as well as the INTERPOL Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Centre (IFCACC), INTERPOL’s Fugitive Investigative Support unit, and its Cybercrime directorate.
The Polish suspect was arrested at Imola race circuit following real time information exchange between the NCB in Rome, Italy’s Guardia di Finanza Investigation unit and INTERPOL. Police at Athens International Airport arrested the German suspect as he attempted to travel to Dubai after an identity check detected his Red Notice status.
INTERPOL’s global network is further supporting on-going police investigations in Poland where criminals tied to the Ponzi scheme have allegedly scammed thousands of victims.
Posing as an investment opportunity promising attractive returns, the scheme exploited social media chat rooms to promote FutureNet, a large-scale international pyramid scheme which attracted investors via word of mouth and incited them to recruit others between 2016 and 2020.
The victims were led to believe they would benefit from their investment by buying advertisement packs and re-selling them at profit to new users via YouTube and Facebook.
“This global investigation underlines the critical nature in the digital age of police collaborating and exchanging information quickly via INTERPOL regarding crime suspects across international boundaries." Stephen Kavanagh, INTERPOL’s Executive Director for Police Services.
"Whilst there is more work to be done, our thanks go to colleagues in Greece, Italy, Korea, and Poland for these important arrests,” added Mr Kavanagh.
“The world only gets smaller for fugitives when there are no borders, and close international police cooperation has never been more crucial,” added Mr Kavanagh.
The arrests come as part of INTERPOL’s Haechi initiative, supported by the Republic of Korea, which coordinates operations against cyber-enabled financial crime.
INTERPOL launched IFCACC earlier this year, to provide a coordinated global response against the exponential growth in transnational financial crime.
Governor of the Libyan Central Bank (CBL), Saddek Elkaber, attended Tuesday a conference at the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli entitled (Fighting Corruption and its Role in Supporting Stability,) with the participation of ministers and officials from oversight and security organs.
Elkaber highlighted during his keynote address the efforts of the bank and its cooperation with state institutions to combat corruption, as he underlined three determinants for tackling this phenomenon.
In his address uploaded on the CBL's Facebook page, Elkaber cited the bank's leadership of the anti-corruption campaign carried out in cooperation with the relevant state institutions, noting that the bank is the monetary authority and the direct supervisor of the banking and financial sector through the National Committee for Combating Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, the Libyan Information Unit, and the rest of its departments.
"Combating corruption requires harnessing all capabilities, reinforcing efforts, and the strong will," Elkaber said.
The scientific conference was attended by the PC member, Musa Al-Koni, the head of the Administrative Control Authority, Suleiman Al-Shanti, representatives from the Audit Bureau, the head of the Internal Security Agency, and a group of ministers.
A bureau created to strengthen Guernsey's response to financial crime has become enshrined in law.
The new law has established the Office of the Director of the Economic & Financial Crime Bureau (EFCB), the States said.
It also clarified the role of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to tackle money laundering and terrorism financing, it added.
The FIU fell under the EFCB but worked independently, the States said.
The EFCB has been operating since June 2021 under administrative provisions, but the new law provided clarity around its functions, the government said.
EFCB director Kevin Davis said the bureau's new legal status was "a very important milestone" as it "set out and clarified its responsibilities" as a "designated investigative authority".
He added: "Crucially, it makes provision for accessing a wide range of investigative powers and legal remedies that are vital if we are to successfully respond to the financial risks and threats faced by the bailiwick."
The EFCB will also help the island be "as prepared as it can be" for a forthcoming inspection by MoneyVal - the monitoring body of the Council of Europe.
More than 300 experts from law enforcement, the private sector and academia gathered this week at Europol’s headquarters for what has become one of the world’s biggest platforms of exchange on cybercrime.
Under the theme “The Evolution of Policing – do we need a social contract in cyber space?” Europol’s Cybercrime Conference looked at the challenges and opportunities that the digital age present to policing.
This two-day conference (19-20 October) organised by Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) saw the participation of over 150 organisations and more than 58 different law enforcement agencies engaging in fruitful discussions on how to tackle the challenges at hand and proactively prepare for emerging technologies.
Key themes discussed included:
-Criminal investigations in the digital age
-The role of law enforcement in keeping the metaverse safe and secure
-Emerging technologies – separating fiction from real impact
-The future law enforcement officer – in which areas do we need to invest?
The topic of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine was high on the agenda. This was reflected in this year’s keynote speeches, with Mikko Hyppönen from WithSecure delving into how technology is shaping conflicts and crises. In a moving address, a senior inspector at the Cyber Police Department of the National Police of Ukraine went on to explain the impact the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine has had on their policing priorities.
In his closing remarks, the Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre, Edvardas Šileris, said:
“These two days of lively, solution-orientated discussions between law enforcement, the industry and academia have proved how central public-private partnerships have become to running criminal investigations in the digital domain. I look forward to continue building on our trust relationships to deliver an improved international response to the ever-changing criminal landscape.”
The conclusions of the conference, emphasised that:
-Policing requires a future-proof and agile legal framework to operate in the digital age; regulation and innovation have to complement one another.
-Public and private partnerships remain an essential dimension in the fight against cybercrime.
-While safety, security and privacy are the essence of our social contract, developments like the metaverse, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, etc. show the constant need for adaptation and evolution, at regional, national, and global level.
Europol Intellectual Property Crime Conference provides platform for sharing expertise in combating counterfeiting and piracy
On 27 and 28 October 2022, representatives from law enforcement agencies and the private sector met in Rome to share their expertise in the common fight against intellectual property crime. 400 experts from law enforcement agencies, private entities as well as key institutional partners gathered in this year’s edition of the Europol Intellectual Property Crime Conference organised in partnership with the Italian Guardia di Finanza and the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC).
The annual event was launched in 2017 to gather law enforcement and private sector entities involved in the fight against intellectual property crime and provide a platform for public-private cooperation and innovation in this joint cause. After two years of online meetings, this 2022 edition responds to a growing need for an in-person gathering and networking among the attendees representing law enforcement agencies from 45 countries as well as 140 private entities.
Counterfeiting and piracy continue to pose a serious threat to the health and safety of consumers, as well as to the European economy. Imports of counterfeit and pirated goods reached EUR 119 billion in 2019, accounting for 5.8 % of all goods entering the European Union. The latest Intellectual Property Crime Threat Assessment, produced jointly between Europol and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), reveals that the distribution of counterfeit goods has been thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jean-Philippe Lecouffe, Deputy Executive Director of Europol, commented:
“Law enforcement and the industry community are required to adapt rapidly when facing the challenges presented in crises. Be it fake vaccines and medical devices, the pressure on the automotive spare parts market due to supply chain interruptions, or the distribution of counterfeit pesticides, intellectual property crime shows to be particularly reactive to crises. In light of these challenges, the importance of an effective public-private partnership is ever-growing. All major Europol operations targeting intellectual property crime involve close cooperation with private partners.”
Lieutenant General Giuseppe Vicanolo, Deputy General Commander of the Guardia di Finanza added:
“The importance of the interests involved in the protection of intellectual property and in the fight against related economic and financial violations, together with the complexity of the investigations on an international scale, make it necessary to pursue the most effective cooperation among institutions and other actors. Our institution is fully aware of that and will make any useful contribution for these purposes.”
Bob Barchiesi, President of IACC remarked:
“This conference is a platform for public and private entities to find synergies and solutions in the common fight against intellectual property crime. Our yearly event allows consolidation of partnerships and cooperation among public and private stakeholders. Recent crises have presented new criminal business opportunities for the distribution of counterfeit and substandard goods. Criminal networks involved in IP crime have been highly adaptable in adjusting their business model by shifting product focus and marketing as well as means of transport and routes. The yearly event gives the opportunity to collect useful information from brand owners about possible fraudulent practices and to share it with police bodies and customs.”
While the two-day conference centred on challenges in the context of crises, the 55 speakers shed light on further developments observed in recent times. While most counterfeit and substandard goods distributed in the EU are produced outside its borders, the frequent seizure of counterfeit packaging materials and semi-finished products upon import indicates the presence of manufacturing facilities in the EU. Another issue is the laundering of criminal proceeds, which is performed in both traditional and more sophisticated schemes relying on technology, trade-based money laundering, and offshore jurisdictions. These and more key topics will remain the focus of the public-private partnership which is set to convene again in Portugal next year.
The criminals are believed to have laundered over EUR 300 million of drug money every year
With the support of Europol and Eurojust, the Spanish National Police (Policía Nacional) and Tax Agency (Agencia Tributaria) have dismantled an organised crime group believed to be running Europe’s biggest ‘narco-bank’.
Composed mainly of Syrian nationals, the criminal network running this ‘bank’ provided financial services to criminal organisations linked to drug trafficking in more than twenty countries. Active since 2020, this criminal gang is believed to have laundered over EUR 300 million per year.
On 27 September, over 200 law enforcement officers raided a total of 21 locations in the Spanish provinces of Málaga and Toledo, resulting in 32 arrests and the seizure of almost EUR 3 million of criminal assets.
Details of the seizures:
-EUR 428 205 in cash
-19 cryptocurrency accounts worth EUR 1.5 million
-11 luxury vehicles
-70 kilos of hashish, 1.2 tonnes of marijuana and a plantation with 995 marijuana plants
These seizures follow that of EUR 2.9 million in cash made over the course of the investigation.
Organised crime groups could make payments, receive funds and even have their proceeds laundered by this internationally structured financial network.
The Spanish city of Fuenlabrada appeared to be the centre of the underground bank. The criminals ran their money laundering activities from a local restaurant where their customers would come to deposit or collect bulk cash.
The hawala informal money transfer system was the main money laundering typology used to avoid law enforcement detection.
Europol’s support was central in the development of the Spanish investigation. Since May 2020, Europol has been providing continuous intelligence development and analysis to map out the international activity of this criminal network. Two experts from its European Financial and Economic Crime Centre were also deployed to Madrid to assist the Spanish investigation with the cross-checking of operational information during the action day.
This investigation was financially supported by the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT).
BIS - October 2022
-Twenty banks in Hong Kong SAR, Thailand, mainland China and the United Arab Emirates used the mBridge platform to conduct 164 payment and foreign exchange transactions totalling over $22 million.
-The pilot advances multi-CBDC experimentation by settling real value directly on the platform.
-The BIS will present the mBridge pilot at Hong Kong Fintech Week, along with updates on Project Aurum (retail CBDC) and Genesis 2.0 (green finance).
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and four central banks have completed a successful pilot of the use of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) by commercial banks for real-value transactions across borders, as part of Project mBridge.
The BIS Innovation Hub Hong Kong Centre joined forces with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Bank of Thailand, the Digital Currency Institute of the People's Bank of China and the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates. As detailed in a new report, 20 banks in the four jurisdictions used the mBridge platform to conduct 164 payment and foreign exchange transactions totalling over $22 million over six weeks, settled directly on the platform.
Project mBridge envisions an efficient, low-cost, regulatory-compliant and scalable cross-border payment solution with CBDC at its core. The experiment was designed to operate across different jurisdictions and currencies, to explore the capabilities of distributed ledger technology and the application of CBDC in cross-border payments between commercial banks.
The project is part of the ongoing efforts to experiment with new technologies to deliver faster, cheaper and safer cross-border payments and settlements, a priority identified by the G20. Many jurisdictions, in particular emerging and developing economies, are losing access to the international network of correspondent banking services, leaving many households and firms without sufficient or affordable access to the global financial system for payments.
By enabling peer-to-peer and instant exchange of multiple CBDCs on a single network, Project mBridge aims to solve long-standing inefficiencies in cross-border payments and foster greater financial inclusion and innovation in international payments.
"Financial exclusion is not just a problem for individuals; it is also affecting economies," says Cecilia Skingsley, Head of the BIS Innovation Hub. "This project makes important strides towards developing a platform that has the potential to foster more inclusive and efficient payments systems that will benefit those making and receiving payments in different currencies and jurisdictions as well as the overall functioning of the global financial system."
The BIS will continue to work on this and similar projects to explore the user requirements, technical specifications, and governance framework needed for interoperable CBDCs. The mBridge project team will continue building the technology and testing it with a view to producing a product with enough features to be used by early adopters in the year ahead and a production-ready system thereafter.
The results of the pilot are to be presented at Hong Kong Fintech week, running from 31 October to 4 November, along with two other Hong Kong Centre projects:
-Project Aurum, conducted with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the Applied Science and Technology Research Institute, created a prototype technology stack comprised of a wholesale interbank system and a retail e-wallet system. The system brings to life two different types of retail tokens: intermediated CBDC and CBDC-backed stablecoins. The latter is unique in the study of CBDC to date, backing the stablecoin with CBDC held in the interbank wholesale system. The source code is being made available in the BIS Open Tech platform, thus accessible to central banks exploring the best possible architecture for a retail CBDC.
-Project Genesis 2.0 demonstrates the technical feasibility of tokenised green bonds associated with so-called carbon forwards, or mitigation outcome interests. These are digitally tracked and automatically delivered to investors, as explained in a report. Genesis 2.0 is a collaboration between the BIS Innovation Hub's Hong Kong Centre, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the UN Climate Change Global Innovation Hub and private sector partners.
Usage of emerging technologies like cryptocurrency and crowdfunding by terrorist will be among the key focus areas at the 'No Money For Terror' ministerial conference that will be hosted by India later this month.
The meet, which will take place in New Delhi from November 18-19 will be the third edition of the conference since 2018. The meeting in Delhi is being organised by India's ministry of home affairs.
The first such conference took place in Paris in 2018, followed by another iteration in Australia in 2019. The meet was due to take place in India in 2020 but was postponed due to the Covid pandemic due to restrictions on global travel.
While usage of cryptocurrency remains a worry, given its decentralised nature and lack of policing - focus on dark web by terrorists to seek transfer or crowdsource funds will be topping the agenda at the meet.
The meet will deliberate on the usage of formal and informal channels of funds for terrorism, current global trends in terrorism and terror financing and seek international cooperation to address challenges in combating terrorism financing.
Sources pointed out that the conference in Delhi, "intends to include discussions on technical, legal, regulatory and cooperation aspects of all facets of terrorism financing and attempt to set the pace for similar high level official and political deliberations, focused on countering terror financing."
The conference also aims to strengthen the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) role in setting global standards. Sources explained that "more coordination is needed among states for international organisations to foster effective mechanism to combat terrorism financing."
It added that there is need for "better information sharing and cooperation among various stakeholders and, Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs)."
This is the second major conference under Indian leadership that will take place on dealing with the issue of counter-terrorism. Last month, India hosted the United Nations Security Council's counter-terror committee meeting.
This was the first time the committee met in India and only the seventh time that the meeting took place outside of New York. In December, under India's presidency of the security council, a meet on global counter-terror architecture will take place.
The virtual world allows INTERPOL to offer immersive training courses to law enforcement across the globe
NEW DELHI, INDIA - The Metaverse isn’t coming soon. It’s already here.
At a surprise session of the 90th INTERPOL General Assembly in New Delhi, the global police organization unveiled the first ever Metaverse specifically designed for law enforcement worldwide.
Fully operational, the INTERPOL Metaverse allows registered users to tour a virtual facsimile of the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France without any geographical or physical boundaries, interact with other officers via their avatars, and even take immersive training courses in forensic investigation and other policing capabilities.
The INTERPOL Metaverse is provided through the INTERPOL Secure Cloud, ensuring its neutrality.
During the interactive session, General Assembly delegates in New Delhi were able to digitally enter the Lyon building through avatars, using virtual reality headsets.
“For many, the Metaverse seems to herald an abstract future, but the issues it raises are those that have always motivated INTERPOL – supporting our member countries to fight crime and making the world, virtual or not, safer for those who inhabit it,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock.
“We may be entering a new world, but our commitment remains the same,” the Secretary General added.
In a follow-up panel discussion, INTERPOL also announced the creation of an Expert Group on the Metaverse to represent the concerns of law enforcement on the global stage – ensuring this new virtual world is secure by design.
Not just for gamers
Far from being simply a gadget for gamers, the Metaverse is often discussed as the potential next stage in the development of the Internet. By 2026, one in every four people will spend at least an hour a day in the Metaverse to work, study, shop and socialize, according to technology research firm Gartner.
As the newly released INTERPOL Global Crime Trend report shows, crime has increasingly moved online as the pace of digitalization has increased. If the boundaries of our physical world move ever further into a digital – and seemingly borderless – realm, the panel discussion asked, ‘how can law enforcement continue to protect communities and guarantee the rule of law?’
How can police enhance their awareness of the threats but also harness the opportunities?
Criminals are already starting to exploit the Metaverse. The World Economic Forum, which has partnered with INTERPOL, Meta, Microsoft and others in an initiative to define and govern the Metaverse, has warned that social engineering scams, violent extremism and misinformation could be particular challenges.
As the number of Metaverse users grows and the technology further develops, the list of possible crimes will only expand to potentially include crimes against children, data theft, money laundering, financial fraud, counterfeiting, ransomware, phishing, and sexual assault and harassment.
For law enforcement, some of these threats are likely to present significant challenges, because not all acts that are criminalized in the physical world are considered crimes when committed in the virtual world.
“By identifying these risks from the outset, we can work with stakeholders to shape the necessary governance frameworks and cut off future criminal markets before they are fully formed,” said Madan Oberoi, INTERPOL’s Executive Director of Technology and Innovation. “Only by having these conversations now can we build an effective response.”
New world, same commitment
The Metaverse holds many benefits for law enforcement, notably in terms of remote work, networking, collecting and preserving evidence from crime scenes, and delivering training.
Capacity building in the Metaverse holds particular promise, offering students more opportunities to collaborate and network, ensuring a greater engagement through immersion and enabling hands-on activities.
In a live demonstration, experts from the INTERPOL Capacity Building and Training Directorate delivered a training course on travel document verification and passenger screening using INTERPOL capabilities in a Metaverse classroom. Students were then teleported to an airport where they were able to apply their newly-acquired skills at a virtual border point.
“The Metaverse has the potential to transform every aspect of our daily lives with enormous implications for law enforcement,” said Mr Oberoi, INTERPOL’s Executive Director of Technology and Innovation. “But in order for police to understand the Metaverse, we need to experience it."
WELLINGTON, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government is strengthening its efforts to clamp down on money laundering and terrorism financing, making it easier for small businesses and consumers to comply.
"Our country is a safe place to do business, but we want to do as much as possible to disrupt the criminal economy, and improve how we detect, deter and eliminate money laundering," said Justice Minister Kiri Allan.
New Zealand is one of the least corrupt countries in the world, which also makes it more attractive for international money-launderers, Allan said, adding money laundering can threaten the country's international reputation.
The justice minister cited an evaluation by the Financial Action Task Force last year which found New Zealand was a highly effective international partner contributing to foreign investigations and tenaciously pursuing money laundering globally.
The government is now introducing changes aimed at improving the regime, following a review of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act, she said.
The review also forms part of the government's response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry in response to the March 15 attacks in 2019 in which a gunman killed 51 people in two mosques in the city of Christchurch.
"The act disrupts serious and organized crime, as well as terrorism, by imposing obligations on businesses that provide specific financial and non-financial services, known as reporting entities," Allan said.
These obligations require reporting entities to assess their money laundering and terrorism financing risks, identify and know their customers, report suspicious activities and transactions, and maintain various records, she added.
Interpol - Global Congress highlights terrorists’ misuse of e-commerce
MARRAKESH, Morocco – The devastating impact of chemical weapons and explosives used in acts of terrorism continues to affect civilian populations and is well known for its destructive and long-term harm.
Last year over 1,000 improvised explosive device (IED) attacks were conducted by non-state actors, injuring over 7,150 people in more than 40 countries. Many attacks come from chemicals that criminals acquired through weak points in the supply chain – from manufacturing to storage and retail– and made into weapons.
To counter this threat, some 220 chemical security practitioners from more than 70 countries met at INTERPOL’s 3rd Global Congress on Chemical Security and Emerging Threats (25-27 October) to find ways of reducing vulnerabilities by enhancing multisector cooperation and collaboration.
With a focus on acquisition, transportation, physical and cyber security of chemical materials, the meeting highlighted a range of security issues, such as detecting cross-border movements of regulated material and implementing regulatory frameworks.
Terrorists’ misuse of e-commerce and new technologies
The Global Congress also explored ways to counter emerging threats including terrorists’ misuse of e-commerce and new technologies to acquire toxic and precursor chemicals.
Due to the substantial growth and access to the Internet in recent years, so too we have seen an increase in digital content produced and shared through platforms such as instant messaging, social networking, blogs and online portals. The misuse of technologies can be seen as a result of this rapid growth in content, and with it a rise in suspicious activities.
Law enforcement agencies provided examples of investigative techniques that could be used to identify and prosecute the illicit purchase or sale of chemicals on the Dark Net. These lessons provided delegates with solutions to address the use of sophisticated technologies for nefarious purposes.
"As the ramifications of such heinous acts resonate beyond borders and touch every level of society, a committed transversal and global response is required." Greg Hinds, INTERPOL, Counter-Terrorism Director
"The concerted effort of global law enforcement, along with our partners, is key to combatting the use of explosive precursor chemicals and chemical weapons,” Mr Hinds added.
Dual-use and precursor chemicals have a wide legitimate function in the production of consumer goods such as pharmaceuticals, cleaning supplies and fertilizers. This raises significant challenges to prevent and monitor, and remains one of the inherent threats to chemical security worldwide.
INTERPOL awareness video - ‘The Watchmaker’
In this context, an INTERPOL-produced awareness video was premiered at the meeting to engage a broad spectrum of stakeholders in understanding the importance of individuals and companies to secure dangerous toxic chemicals, including equipment.
Entitled ‘The Watchmaker’, the video highlights the need for multisector cooperation to combat these threats and will be used in a series of INTERPOL capacity building workshops and other activities related to counter-terrorism and prevention.
“Multisector collaboration is essential for us to tackle the threats we face from criminals who gain access to dangerous chemicals with malevolent intentions. Morocco is committed to strengthening the engagement of these issues as part of our proactive approach to combating terrorism,” said Mr. Mohammed Dkhissi, Head of National Central Bureau, Rabat.
Other measures proposed by the Global Congress Network include:
-Advocating chemical security recommendations such as increased retail reporting on suspicious activity;
-Expanding the INTERPOL-hosted Global Knowledge Hub, which allows members to engage in interactive discussions and access good practice guidance;
-Strengthening the Global Congress Network through greater diversity of expertise and activities across regions and sectors;
-Promoting decision-making tools such as a customer database, which can flag areas of security concern.
Since its inception in 2018, the Global Congress has been jointly led by INTERPOL, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and implemented in cooperation with the G7 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.
Learn more about our work on chemical terrorism prevention on our website via the links below.
Member countries approve a series of resolutions to reinforce INTERPOL network and activities
NEW DELHI, India – The 90th INTERPOL General Assembly has ended with a series of resolutions to further strengthen INTERPOL’s network and capabilities as the Organization heads into its centenary year.
With discussions on how innovation and technology can be better integrated into INTERPOL’s day-to-day activities to support its 195 member countries, the four-day (18-21 October) conference saw the launch of the INTERPOL Metaverse, the first specifically designed for law enforcement worldwide.
Officially closing the General Assembly, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said, “Over the last one hundred years INTERPOL has become a very large and effective platform comprising 195 countries and is playing a very important role in controlling crime across world.
“Today, crime has become borderless and, if we want to stop these crimes and criminals, we need to think beyond conventional borders.”
INTERPOL’s first-ever Global Crime Trend report was also presented to delegates. Using data from the Organization’s 195 member countries, databases and external sources, the report highlights current and emerging threats at both the global and regional levels.
Financial crime, particularly money laundering, was among one of the highest ranking threats. To address these crimes, delegates approved a resolution calling for greater action to tackle financial crime and corruption. This would include the creation of an Expert Working group to assess various proposals In relation to the exchange of financial information and the tracing and recovery of criminal assets.
Delegates also approved a resolution calling for greater efforts to identify and investigate online child sexual abuse through the creation of specialized units and increased use of INTERPOL’s International Child Sexual Exploitation database.
With an increasing number of unidentified human remains and individuals in relation to missing person cases, fuelled by global mass migration and human trafficking, the General Assembly called for more effective use of the I-Familia database by member countries.
The result of cutting-edge scientific research, I-Familia seeks to identify missing persons or unidentified human remains by using DNA samples from family members.
Recognizing the need to prioritize diversity at the General Secretariat, the General Assembly approved a resolution supporting a series of measures to be implemented in order to proactively seek candidates from under and unrepresented countries.
The General Assembly also elected three new Executive Committee members. Peter De Buysscher of Belgium was elected as Vice President for Europe, with Alaa El Din Mohamed Abdalah Raga from Egypt and Anne-Marie Nainda from Namibia elected Delegates for Africa. All three new Executive Committee members will serve a three-year term.
The 91st General Assembly will be held in Vienna, Austria, where INTERPOL was officially created in 1923.
United Nations Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee’s Special Meeting began yesterday (October 28) in Mumbai. This is the first meeting of the UNSC-CTC in India. India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ruchira Kamboj is serving as the Chair of the Counter-Terrorism Committee for 2022.
The theme for this year’s UNSC CTC’s Special Meeting is ‘Countering the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes’. The council also paid a visit to the 26/11 Memorial at Hotel Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai.
During the special meeting, EAM Dr S Jaishankar delivered the inaugural address at the ‘Informal briefing on combating terrorism financing in local and regional contexts’. He called terrorism a serious threat to peace.
“Terrorism is a serious threat to international peace and security, indeed to the entire humanity. We have heard the voices of its victims today. Their loss is immeasurable and can never be made up,” said the EAM during his inaugural address.
The minister also made remarks on the conspirators of the horrifying 26/11 Mumbai attacks. He added, “in another month, we will be observing the 14th anniversary of these ghastly attacks on Mumbai in November 2008. While one of the terrorists was captured alive, prosecuted, and convicted by the highest court in India, the key conspirators and planners of the 26/11 attacks continue to remain protected and unpunished.”
“Money: Lifeblood of Terrorism”
EAM Dr. S Jaishankar in his address asserted that the key aspect to the fight against terrorism is to curb terror financing. He referred to money as the ‘lifeblood of terrorism’.
During his address, the minister said, “We all know that money is the lifeblood of terrorism. Terrorist organizations require funds and resources to maintain their organizational functions and undertake activities. The reality that terrorism continues to exist and expand points to an underlying truth: that terrorism continues to get the necessary financial resources to thrive.”
He also highlighted five points to combat terrorism and terror financing. Those points include suggestions such as: normative efforts through collaboration with other fora like Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Egmont Group, and objective and evidence-based proposals for listing of terrorist groups. The EAM also suggested the dismantling of terrorist safe havens, sanctuaries, training grounds and financial and ideological as well as political support structures through international cooperation and concerted action.
After yesterday’s session, the second day of UNSC CTC’s Special Meeting is underway in New Delhi. UNSC members, leading experts from the UN’s operational partners and specialized agencies have come together to discuss threats posed by the use of technologies for terrorist purposes.
The agreement provides a framework for facilitating cross-border collaboration between the two authorities on supervision and enforcement actions.
The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC).
The agreement will enable exchange of information between the two authorities and provides a framework for facilitating cross-border collaboration on supervision and enforcement actions.
The DFSA and BSEC will enable knowledge sharing on best practices in regulatory, supervisory and licensing in the financial markets. The bodies will also confer closely on money laundering or terrorist financing risks amongst supervised entities and the existing AML/CFT systems and controls within firms.
“The reinforcement of supervision and regulatory cooperation between the DFSA and BSEC will result in greater market accessibility, ease of doing business as well as strengthened investor trust in both jurisdictions,” said Ian Johnston, chief executive of the DFSA.
“We are very excited that after 50 years of independence and friendship BSEC and DFSA are entering into a relationship anchored in cooperation, assistance, and research amongst other factors. This collaboration will take the capital markets of both our growing and vibrant countries forward,” added Professor Shibli Rubayat Ul Islam, chairman of the BSEC.
DFSA signed a MoU with the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier this month, to promote open dialogue on technology-enabled innovation in financial services.
Hong Kong (AFP) – Hong Kong authorities have arrested two men for laundering funds worth HK$3.5 billion ($446 million) by reselling precious metals, one of the city's largest money-laundering cases, officials said Wednesday.
The two were involved in a scheme selling around eight tonnes of precious metals -- mostly gold and palladium -- between 2020 and 2021 for returns "incommensurate" with their backgrounds, customs official Rita Li said at a press conference.
It was a record for money-laundering cases busted by Hong Kong Customs, Li said, although the police have cracked larger cases.
Precious metals can be bought and sold anonymously in Hong Kong and are attractive to criminals because of their high value, small size and ease of transportation, Li added.
"Unlawful elements can easily use proceeds from crime to buy precious metals and then resell them, or conduct multi-layer transactions, to launder money," she said.
The two men used company accounts to receive large sums from precious metal trading firms and jewellery stores, then quickly transferred the funds to shell companies or accounts abroad, authorities said.
The suspects -- believed to be linked to a crime syndicate -- were arrested for money laundering last Friday and are on bail pending investigation.
Authorities say they are investigating the origins of the precious metals and will not rule out further arrests.
Last month, four suspected Hong Kong gang members were arrested for laundering $52 million over a two-year period.
Pakistan was on a ‘grey list’ of countries considered at high risk of money laundering and ‘terrorism’ financing since 2018
Islamabad, Pakistan – The global money laundering and financing watchdog on Friday removed Pakistan from its list of countries under “increased monitoring” after four years.
Pakistan has been on the “grey list” of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) since 2018 because of “strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies”.
The removal decision was announced by FATF President T Raja Kumar at the end of a two-day meeting in Paris, France.
“Pakistan had addressed technical deficiencies to meet the commitments of its action plans,” Kumar said in his speech.
At the last FATF meeting in June, the organisation said Pakistan would be kept on the list until a visit to the country took place to verify progress.
Subsequently, a FATF technical team travelled to Pakistan in late August and the visit was declared a “success” by Pakistan’s foreign office, which said it expected a “logical conclusion” at the next evaluation meeting in October.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in a tweet after Friday’s decision was announced congratulated the country on its removal.
“Pakistan exiting the FATF grey list is a vindication of our determined and sustained efforts over the years. I would like to congratulate our civil & military leadership as well as all institutions whose hard work led to today’s success,” he wrote.
Between 18-20 October, the CT INFLOW project organised a workshop on countering the misuse of the non-profit sector for terrorist recruitment and financing, together with the Turkish National Police Academy (TNPA).
The aim of this event was to better understand the flow of ill-intended funds and to share good experiences between the EU and Türkiye for the early detection of terrorism financing via non-profit organisations.
55 participants from 17 EU countries, Türkiye and the UK joined the workshop in Ankara, which was opened by the new EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, IIkka Salmi and the President of the Turkish National Police Academy, Yilmaz Colak. Both of them underlined the importance to create stronger institutional capacities in the fight against terrorism financing and terrorist recruitment.
During the first official visit of the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator to Türkiye, he expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the cooperation that CEPOL has in place with the TNPA since 2018.
“The fight against the financing of terrorism is a major priority on which I intend to aim high in the coming years. The EU has made substantial progress on Anti-money Laundering and Counter-terrorism Financing over the past decade. However, the fight is not over and I want to continue the work to dry up the financial sources of terrorist organizations. Türkiye is an essential partner for the EU in this regard” – he added.
It was already the third workshop that CT INFLOW organised together with the Turkish National Police Academy this year. Previous activities took place in January in Madrid and in March in Istanbul.
Council of europe
The Council of Europe’s Economic Crime and Cooperation Division, in cooperation with the European Commission Directorate General for Structural Reform Support (DG REFORM) and the Bank of Portugal, organises a multi-country Workshop on “Risk-Based AML/CFT Supervision: Effective Assessment and Mitigation of Emerging Money Laundering/Terrorist Financing Risks” on 27-28 October 2022, in Lisbon, Portugal.
The event is organised as part of the Council of Europe’s Economic Crime and Cooperation Division’s efforts to support Bank of Portugal with improving its risk-based approach to anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) supervision. While assisting the beneficiary institution with a review of its risk-assessment methodology and other targeted support to strengthen its risk-based supervision process, in this Workshop the ECCD is also looking to provide an opportunity for supervisory practitioners from different EU Member States to discuss challenges they are facing, as well as to exchange their experience and examples of good practices.
The risk-based supervision is a topic of interest for all financial supervisors and there is ongoing discussion in the AML/CFT practitioners’ community on the need to adapt supervisory practices and approaches to the growing complexity of the financial ecosystem. Over the past few years, with the increased dynamics and nature of digital activity means, supervisory authorities had to become more proactive and demonstrate further engagement while placing a specific focus on emerging areas of money laundering and terrorist financing risks.
In this respect, the regional Workshop allows to over 55 representatives of financial supervisory authorities from 14 EU Member States as well as Council of Europe experts to discuss and take stock of the latest trends and tools when it comes to conducting effective risk assessments and ensuring an effective risk-based AML/CFT supervision of financial institutions.
Furthermore, participants will benefit from the knowledge of qualified experts who will touch upon different practices in conducting sectoral risk assessment methodologies, discuss information exchange and application of supervisory tools and data mapping as a foundation of automated processes in the supervision context. Moreover, the experts will present application of risk factors in the risk-based supervision and provide examples of the effective use of IT tools in conducting sectoral risk assessments.
The event is organised within the framework of the Technical Support Instrument (TSI) initiative on “Developing a risk-based methodology for an automatic anti-money laundering/counter terrorist financing risk categorisation for supervised entities in Portugal”, and other related TSI and Structural Support Reform Programme (SRSP) projects, funded by the European Commission Directorate General for Structural Reform Support and the Council of Europe, and implemented by the Council of Europe.
On 12 and 13 October 2022, the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the Egmont Group (EG) jointly organized the Budapest Conference: a global Anti-Money Laundering – Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) Workshop for Enhanced Engagement between Customs Authorities and Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs).
The conference highlighted the growing threat posed to both regional and global security and the integrity of the global trade system and financial industry by transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) and terrorist organizations. TCOs continue to exploit the growth in global trade. The increased speed of transportation, money transfer, and new and innovative technologies provide them with an expanding array of mechanisms to continue and enhance their illicit activities. The UNODC estimates that between 2% and 5% of global GDP is laundered annually, the equivalent of between $800 billion to $2 trillion (US). Global Financial Integrity estimates that the illicit narcotics trafficking industry generates between $426 billion to $652 billion in illicit revenues annually and that intellectual property rights violations generate between $913 billion and $1.13 trillion in illicit profits annually.
Customs administrations across the globe are on the frontline regarding law enforcement efforts to identify, intercept, and dismantle criminal and terrorist activities that exploit international borders. The WCO is internationally recognized as the primary standards-setting authority for all Customs matters. It is also a recognized center of expertise in combatting criminal activity in the Customs arena.
Customs administrations are critical sentinels not only to national security but also to regional and global security. Customs provide vital oversight over the movement of goods, people, money, and means of transport. Through these responsibilities, Customs are a vital national security component for every nation, as they are often the authorities that identify and seize illicit merchandise, narcotics, and weapons smuggled across international borders, as well as illicit currency and currency equivalents.
The revenues and illicit donations to global terrorist organizations are their lifelines. Terrorist organizations regularly smuggle currency and currency equivalents across international borders to further their lethal and destructive agendas. They also engage in illicit smuggling schemes to generate revenues to support and promote the same. The revenue generated by TCOs allows them to continue their criminal enterprises to the detriment of society. Their illicit proceeds will enable them to maintain the internal structures of their organizations, from payment of salaries to their membership; to the payment of bribes to public officials; to the purchase of equipment, vehicles and products that keep their illicit supply chain operational; to the investment in infrastructure to increase the scale of their illicit activities.
Certain TCOs and terrorist organizations use complex ML schemes to launder illicit funds. These schemes include trade-based money laundering (TBML), an intricate form of ML involving converting the illicit origin's proceeds into commercial products that are subsequently entered into global commerce. TBML is utilized to provide an appearance of legitimacy to the money and mask its movement across international borders. Often TBML involves comingling and layering, whereby the illicit proceeds are placed together with legitimate money through an intricate web of financial transactions via banking and nonbanking routes. Customs and FIUs are the best-placed authorities to identify and combat such nefarious and complex criminal activity.
Customs are traditionally the authority responsible for monitoring TBML, trade fraud, mis-invoicing schemes, and international currency transportation reports.
FIUs monitor suspicious transactions and large-scale cash transactions within national financial and DNFBP sectors on a national basis. The EG of FIUs is the umbrella organization for all FIUs worldwide. The EG is responsible for strategically guiding FIUs and their operational efforts to pool FIUs’ collective strength regarding combatting certain salient ML/TF threats. The FIUs monitor suspicious transactions within the financial and nonfinancial, including, among others: suspicious transaction reports (STRs), currency transaction reports, casino reports and cross-border wire transfers. The intelligence gleaned from reviewing these suspicious reporting mechanisms is invaluable to law enforcement agencies and prosecutors when identifying and neutralizing criminal and terrorist organizations.
The EG’s greatest strength is its member’s ability to exchange operational and strategic financial intelligence rapidly and effectively at both the bilateral and multilateral levels. EG member FIUs work together to identify current ML/TF risks and Modi operandi. Moreover, through its Strategic Plan, the EG focuses on enhancing its cooperation with relevant international partners, such as the WCO. In this regard, close cooperation between Customs and FIUs at the national level and between the WCO and EG at the international level, as it pertains to combatting ML in the Customs arena, is vital to and effective in combatting transnational organized crime and terrorism. The conference also underscored the importance of the joint efforts of law enforcement and FIU to identify the conversion of illicit proceeds into international commercial shipments. This often leads to active investigations determining and prosecuting predicate ML offences.
The participants discussed that the prevalence of currency, gold and precious metals smuggling has not diminished in the last decade due to the advent and proliferation of virtual assets in the global economy. Although customs and FIU efforts in AML should invest efforts to identify ML/TF activities involving virtual currencies, they should not lose sight of actual/fiat currency and precious metals smuggling. Currency remains a primary preference for many criminal organizations’ mediums for smuggling their ill-gotten gains.
The participants acknowledged that new payment methods, such as virtual assets, will continue to grow in transactional importance vis-à-vis international commerce. Hence, law enforcement should grant a reinvigorated and continuous prioritization to ML in this sector. It also warrants increasing focus and training in the abuse of virtual assets for ML for Customs services and FIUs.
Finally, the conference participants also acknowledged the Customs- FIU Cooperation Handbook (CFCH) as a vital tool for enhancing the collaboration of Customs and FIUs worldwide. It is a critical tool for
Customs authorities to target ML activities, such as bulk cash smuggling, the smuggling of currency-equivalents, gems, and precious metals and TBML. Furthermore, the CFCH is an essential guide to assist Customs and other ML authorities in the identification, interdiction, seizure, forfeiture, and further investigation of ML, in addition to promoting FIU engagement in collaborative efforts to combat the same. The two organizations will consider expanding the CFCH in 2023 by adding a section on counter-terrorist financing.
The WCO and the EG have a longstanding history of focused efforts to combat ML, such as the following:
The Recommendation of the Customs Co-operation Council on the need to Develop and Strengthen the Role of Customs Administrations in Tackling Money Laundering and in Recovering the Proceeds of Crime (25 June 2005); The WCO Resolution on the Role of Customs in the Security Context (the Punta Cana Resolution of December 2015); and The Creation of the WCO and EG Customs-Financial Intelligence Unit Cooperation Handbook (March 2020) and the recommendations contained therein.