United Nations Global Programme against Money Laundering, Proceeds of Crime, and the Financing of Terrorism

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs

The United Nations is one of the most experienced global providers of AML/CFT training and technical assistance. The United Nations Global Programme against Money Laundering, Proceeds of Crime, and the Financing of Terrorism (GPML), part of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), was established in 1997 to assist member states to comply with the UN conventions and other instruments that deal with money laundering and terrorism financing. These now include the UN Convention against Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (the 1988 Vienna Convention), the UN International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (the 1999 Convention), the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (the 2000 Palermo Convention), and the UN Convention against Corruption (the 2003 Merida Convention). In 2008, GPML’s scope and objectives were widened to meet the growing needs and demands for tailor-made assistance in the effective implementation of these UN instruments and other international AML/CFT standards.

GPML is the focal point for AML policy and activities within the UN system and a key player in strengthening CFT. The GPML provides technical assistance and training in the development of related legislation, infrastructure, and skills, directly assisting member states in the detection, seizure, and confiscation of illicit proceeds. Over the years, it has elaborated an ambitious program to make international action against the proceeds of crime and illegal financial flows more effective.

In 2014, GPML provided long-term assistance in the development of AML/CFT programs to 66 jurisdictions. GPML also conducted 32 training, policy development, and awareness raising activities worldwide; seven were at the international level, often in close partnership with regional or multilateral organizations. GPML trained 1,117 representatives of law enforcement agencies, financial intelligence units (FIUs), judicial authorities, and reporting entities.

The Mentoring Program

GPML’s Mentor Program is one of the most successful and well-known activities of international AML/CFT technical assistance and training. By giving in-depth support upon request, the mentors have gained the confidence of the recipient institutions. GPML’s Mentoring Program has key advantages over more traditional forms of technical assistance. First, mentors serve as residential advisors in a country or region for as long as one to four years, and offer sustained skills and knowledge transfer. Second, mentoring constitutes a unique form of flexible, ongoing needs assessment, where the mentor can pinpoint specific needs over a period of months, and adjust his/her work plan to target assistance that responds to those needs. Third, the member state has access to an “on-call” resource to provide advice on real cases and problems as they arise. Fourth, a mentor can facilitate access to foreign counterparts for international cooperation and mutual legal assistance at the operational level by using his/her contacts to act as a bridge to the international community.

During 2014, GPML employed three mentors, one of which is shared with the World Bank. GPML mentors stationed in Senegal, South Africa, and Vietnam worked extensively on the development and implementation of a wide variety of AML/CFT programs and procedures in individual countries and surrounding regions.

The GPML Asset Forfeiture Mentor based in South Africa provides assistance with the development and strengthening of asset forfeiture mechanisms in Southern Africa. The mentor continued to monitor the ongoing Prosecutor Placement Program. In 2014, the mentor continued to support the Asset Recovery Network for Southern Africa (ARINSA), and provide mentoring to its members, namely Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Based on the model for Europol’s Camden Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network (CARIN), this regional mechanism encourages collaboration, information sharing, and cooperation among prosecutors, investigators, and law enforcement dealing with asset confiscation and recovery at the national and regional levels.

In West Africa, GPML’s main achievements in 2014 include the successful launch of a CARIN-style regional network for prosecutors and financial investigators in West Africa (ARIN-WA), comprised of all 15 Economic Community of West African States countries plus Sao Tome and Principe. The mentor also contributed to the strengthening of the AML/CFT framework and operational capacities, particularly of FIUs, in Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal, mostly through the delivery of national and regional training courses and daily mentoring. Activities have been completed in coordination with the Inter Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA).

The World Bank/GPML mentor based in Hanoi continued to strengthen operational capacities in Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. In Vietnam, the mentor delivered a series of training workshops on bulk cash smuggling, AML/CFT investigations, and raising awareness. As a result of the GPML’s mentoring, Vietnam Customs increased the number and amount of cash seized at the border in 2014. The Mekong mentor continued to support the CARIN-style regional network for prosecutors and financial investigators in Asia Pacific (ARIN-AP).

GPML Initiatives

Illicit Financial Flows: GPML has taken the lead in combating financial flows to and from Afghanistan linked to illicit drug production and trafficking. In 2014, the UNODC conducted a joint research with FATF on illicit financial flows from Afghan opiates. The GPML Adviser chaired a Heart of Asia workshop on money and value transfer systems, as well as a counter-terrorism financing workshop.

Throughout 2014, GPML worked with the UNODC Global Programme on Wildlife and Timber Crime on a joint initiative on the illicit financial flows and value transfer deriving from wildlife and timber trafficking. GPML organized its first inter-regional workshop on illicit financial flows from wildlife and timber crime, gathering practitioners from Southeast Africa and Southeast Asia in June 2014, followed by a similar workshop for the Caribbean in December 2014.

Financial Intelligence Unit Analyst (FIUA) Course: This training course is an opportunity for FIU analysts to develop knowledge and skills in the financial intelligence analysis process. The course focuses on analysis of suspicious transactions related to possible money laundering and terrorism financing. The course also addresses relationships between the FIU and agencies responsible for investigation of money laundering and terrorism financing, and the provision of high quality information to these agencies. In 2014, the training was delivered in the Gambia.

Financial Investigation Course: GPML also developed a Financial Investigation Course that aims to provide an opportunity for investigators to develop their knowledge and skills in financial investigation and to raise awareness of terrorism financing and money laundering methods. The course has a practical focus and is tailored to legal and procedural processes in the country receiving training. It gives participants the opportunity to learn the legislative aspects of financial crime, understand their powers, conduct searches, and undertake interviews. In 2014, training was delivered in Ethiopia and Tajikistan.

Cash Couriers: GPML’s cash courier training provides an opportunity for border control, police, and FIU staff to develop their knowledge and skills in the mechanisms for monitoring cross-border transportation of cash and bearer negotiable instruments as well as the identification and interdiction of cash couriers. In 2014, the course was delivered for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo (under UN Security Council Resolution 1244), Mozambique, Namibia, Serbia, Vietnam, and Zambia.

Development of AML/CFT Experts/Trainers: GPML is preparing to launch a train-the-trainers project on financial investigations for West Africa. A two-year project will commence in 2015.

Prosecutor Placement Program: This is a sustainable, capacity-building program designed to give newly appointed confiscation prosecutors a practical understanding of asset seizure and forfeiture practices by placing them in the office of an experienced and capable confiscation legal team. The program operates in Southern Africa in conjunction with the South African National Prosecution Authority’s Asset Forfeiture Unit.

Disruption of Illicit Financial Flows: In 2014 UNODC developed a new training program on disruption of illicit financial flows. Training addresses the collection of information on financial flows of criminal organizations, analyzing a criminal business, examining informal value transfer systems such as hawala, and designing an effective disruption strategy. Training was conducted by GPML in 2014 in Kenya and Tanzania.

IMoLIN/AMLID: GPML has developed and maintains the International Money Laundering Information Network (http://www.imolin.org) on behalf of a partnership of 11 international organizations. IMoLIN provides a wide range of tools and AML/CFT-related information for professionals, including the Anti-Money Laundering International Database (AMLID) - a compendium and analysis of AML/CFT legislation and regulations.