Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training; the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section; and the Counterterrorism Section
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.
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 2015, OPDAT, AFMLS, and NSD met with and provided presentations to more than 30 international visitors from more than 10 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 national and international cooperative efforts to combat criminal and terrorist activity, and strategies for countering radicalization and violence. Of great interest to visitors is the balancing of civil liberties and national security issues, as well as FATF compliance and implementation.
Anti-Money Laundering/Asset Forfeiture/Fraud
In 2015, OPDAT and AFMLS provided assistance in drafting AML statutes compliant with international standards and related confiscation legislation, 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 2015 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; pre-seizure planning and asset management issues; counterfeiting; real estate fraud; digital currency, and international mutual legal assistance. AFMLS experts participated in a variety of conferences and seminars around the world, including in China, Philippines, Ukraine and Thailand.
Based on guidance and recommendations from OPDAT’s RLA, with support from Treasury and other DOJ components, Algeria released new AML/CFT guidelines in September 2015 related to freezing terrorist assets that close a potential loophole in the existing regime. As a result of U.S. government technical assistance, which included NSD and OPDAT, on October 23, 2015, the FATF removed Algeria from its Public Statement, a list of countries with strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT regimes.
OPDAT designed and implemented a five-day curriculum on Financial Investigations and Money Laundering in Panama in August 2015, creating an interagency train-the-trainers group of prosecutors, judges, investigators, forensic accountants, and financial analysts. The Panamanian trainers have since delivered the program twice in 2015, and will continue to deliver the program to criminal justice and other practitioners in 2016. AFMLS, OPDAT, and the Office of International Affairs provided several days of training in the Philippines in May 2015 focused on money laundering, confiscation, and mutual legal assistance to further AML and asset confiscation programs, particularly involving financial crimes and corruption. AFMLS also provided advice on the Philippines’ draft legislation governing management of seized assets stemming from narcotics and money laundering offenses.
AFMLS, working with OPDAT and UNODC, provided technical assistance to representatives of the Government of Indonesia in drafting legislation for non-conviction based confiscation. In August 2015, AFMLS provided lectures on using AML and asset forfeiture provisions in all types of corruption cases at a training organized by APEC. AFMLS participated in the Treasury-led U.S.-China SED (Strategic and Economic Dialogues) sessions focusing on AML/CFT in April and December 2015. AFMLS also provided lectures to a delegation of Chinese judges and lawyers as part of a conference organized by the International Law Institute in August 2015 in Washington, D.C., relating to money laundering and asset confiscation; as well as, in May 2015, on money laundering, confiscation, and mutual legal assistance to a delegation of judges, prosecutors, and lawyers from Brazil.
AFMLS, working with OPDAT, over a period of months in 2015, provided advice and made recommendations to a delegation of Ukrainian officials and NGOs who were working to reform Ukraine’s asset management and asset confiscation legislation. AFMLS provided extensive background materials and examples of polices and legislation and met with the delegation. AFMLS followed up with specific comments on the legislation the Ukrainians developed.
In 2015, AFMLS also provided technical assistance to the governments of Panama and Ecuador on AML legislation, and to Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic on confiscation of criminal proceeds, including for money laundering offenses. DOJ officials also participated in a symposium on a legislative proposal for asset confiscation under the laws of the Dominican Republic in the Dominican Republic.
In 2015, funding from the Department of State’s Bureau of Counterterrorism supported eight RLAs, located in Algeria, Bangladesh, Iraq, Kenya, Panama, Senegal, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to focus on AML/CFT efforts. The RLA for the UAE is responsible for OPDAT program activities in the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. Additionally, in 2015, the Regional Security Initiative supported an Intermittent Legal Advisor (ILA) for Colombia and Paraguay. RLAs in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia are partially supported by funds earmarked for counterterrorism. 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.
In October 2015, AFMLS conducted a week-long conference for a delegation of Lebanese judges and prosecutors working on non-conviction based confiscation legislation and reforming their asset management operations. In December 2015, AFMLS participated in AFAR, the Arab Forum on Asset Recovery in Tunisia, including making presentations and conducting bilateral meetings with representatives from countries working to recover assets for Arab Spring countries. The conference was organized by Germany, Qatar, and Tunisia with support from the US.
Some highlights of the RLAs’ efforts in 2015 include assistance to the Governments of Bangladesh, Pakistan, Panama, 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. Panama passed a comprehensive AML-CFT law in 2015, to include the freezing of terrorist assets, and the OPDAT RLA worked on the development of the legislation and corresponding regulations and continues to assist with implementation. In addition, NSD and OPDAT have provided bilateral technical assistance, via the relevant RLAs and ILAs, to the Governments of Algeria, Bahrain, Indonesia, Iraq, and the Maldives.
Additional OPDAT activities focusing on AML/CFT topics were conducted in Algeria, Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Philippines, Qatar, Panama, Paraguay, Turkey, the UAE, and Yemen. NSD met with delegations from and provided capacity building on AML/CFT topics to countries such as Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, El Salvador, Iraq, Kenya, Kuwait, Jordan, the Maldives, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Qatar, Tunisia, and Turkey.