Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training; the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section; and the Counterterrorism Section
Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training’s (OPDAT) Training and Technical Assistance Program
OPDAT assesses, designs, and implements training and technical assistance programs for U.S. criminal justice sector counterparts overseas. OPDAT draws upon the AML/CFT expertise within the Department of Justice (DOJ), including the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section (AFMLS), the National Security Division (NSD), and U.S. Attorney’s Offices to train and advise foreign AML/CFT partners. The training and technical assistance provided by OPDAT is funded through the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
In addition to training programs targeted to a country’s immediate needs, OPDAT also provides long-term, in-country assistance through Resident Legal Advisors (RLAs). RLAs are federal prosecutors who work directly with counterparts in legal and law enforcement agencies to provide in-country technical assistance to improve capacity, efficiency, and professionalism within foreign criminal justice systems. To promote reforms within the criminal justice sector, RLAs provide assistance in legislative drafting; modernizing institutional structures, policies and practices; and training law enforcement personnel, including prosecutors, judges, and – in collaboration with DOJ’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) – police and other investigative officials. OPDAT often works with other donors and multilateral organizations as well.
In 2014, OPDAT, AFMLS, and NSD met with and provided presentations to more than 30 international visitors from more than 5 countries on AML and/or CFT topics through the State Department-led International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP). Presentations covered U.S. policies to combat terrorism, U.S. legislation and issues raised in implementing new legislative tools, and the changing relationship of criminal and intelligence investigations. The meetings also covered money laundering and material support statutes, and the Classified Information Procedures Act. Of great interest to visitors is the balancing of civil liberties and national security issues.
Anti-Money Laundering/Asset Forfeiture/Fraud
In 2014, OPDAT and AFMLS provided assistance in drafting AML statutes compliant with international standards and provided training to foreign judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officials; legislators; customs, supervisory, and financial intelligence unit personnel; and private sector participants. The content of individual technical assistance programs varied depending on the participants’ specific needs, but topics addressed in 2014 include the investigation and prosecution of complex financial crimes, economic crimes, money laundering, and corruption; the use of asset forfeiture as a law enforcement tool; counterfeiting; real estate fraud; and international mutual legal assistance. AFMLS experts participated in a variety of conferences and seminars around the world including in China and Thailand.
AFMLS and OPDAT designed a five-course curriculum on Financial Investigations and Asset Recovery focusing on Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Yemen, which began in 2013 as part of the White House’s Deauville Partnership Initiative. Due to U.S. embassy security concerns, there were delays, but in 2014, DOJ AFMLS/OPDAT delivered five courses in Egypt, four in Yemen, and one regional course held on the margins of the Third Arab Forum on Asset Recovery (AFAR III) in Switzerland. The program will continue until June 2015, when project funding ends.
OPDAT, drawing on the expertise and assistance of other DOJ components, plays a central role in providing technical assistance to foreign counterparts to attack the financial underpinnings of terrorism and to build legal infrastructures to combat it. In this undertaking, OPDAT, AFMLS, and NSD work as integral parts of the U.S. interagency effort to combat terrorist financing.
In 2014, the Department of State supported eight RLAs, located in Algeria, Bangladesh, Iraq, Kenya, Panama, Senegal, Turkey, and the UAE. The RLA for the UAE is responsible for OPDAT program activities in the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. Working in countries deemed to be vulnerable to terrorist financing, RLAs focus on money laundering and financial crimes, and developing counterterrorism legislation that comports with international standards. The RLAs implement these programs by providing training, assistance in legislative drafting, and support for the countries’ AML/CFT efforts.
Some highlights of the RLAs’ efforts in 2014 include assistance to the Governments of Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Turkey on the development of AML/CFT legislation. Indonesia passed a CFT law in 2013 and the OPDAT RLA is now working with the Government of Indonesia to implement this law and comply with UN Security Council Resolution 1267. In addition, NSD has provided bilateral technical assistance, via the relevant RLAs, to the Governments of Indonesia and Algeria. OPDAT and AFMLS organized intensive training workshops for the Governments of Yemen and Egypt on combating money laundering and terror financing. The training was accomplished under the auspices of the Deauville Partnership for Asset Recovery in the Arab World. The programs presented the participants with investigative tools and techniques with the aim of increasing their capacity to disrupt, dismantle, and prosecute terror financing schemes.
Additional OPDAT activities focusing on AML/CFT topics were conducted in Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, the Philippines, Qatar, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. NSD provided capacity building on AML/CFT topics to countries/regions such as Afghanistan, Central Asia, Egypt, Iraq, Maldives, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Timor Leste, Tunisia, and Yemen.