The Organization of American States Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission Group of Experts to Control Money Laundering

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs

In 2015, the Organization of American States (OAS), through the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), held capacity-building programs and workshops with the objective of raising awareness of the AML/CFT problem in Central and South America and the Caribbean; improving compliance with AML/CFT standards within the region; and building AML/CFT systems and promoting best practices on inter-institutional integration, investigation methodologies, analysis techniques, IT tools, and asset investigation, recovery, and administration.

Seized and Forfeited Assets

The Seized and Forfeited Asset Management Project in Latin America (BIDAL) developed a number of successful programs. The 2014 assessment of the Brazilian national asset forfeiture system was presented to the Brazilian authorities in 2015 during the “National Workshop on the Management of Seized and Forfeited Assets.” Meetings of the new Brazilian Interagency Working Group (IWG) took place in Brazil with the participation of high-level representatives of the National Strategy for Combating Corruption and Money Laundering; and the “Regional Seminar on Asset Administration and Disposal” was held in Brasilia and included participants from Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Mexico. In Paraguay, a BIDAL work plan was presented to Paraguayan authorities; technical assistance was provided to the senate to improve the in rem forfeiture bill as well as an assessment on the asset forfeiture system in Paraguay; and the “National Workshop on the Management of Seized and Forfeited Assets” was held in Asuncion, Paraguay. Additionally a new Paraguayan IWG was established and began meeting.

Technical Assistance

In 2014 in Montevideo, Uruguay, the Executive Secretariat/CICAD (ES/CICAD) participated in and supported a technical assistance mission carried out by the International Monetary Fund to enhance the AML/CFT capacities of the FIU of Uruguay. In 2015, there was a follow-up technical assistance mission.

Within the implementation of the Technical Assistance Plan to Combat Money Laundering in Peru, developed with the support of the Committee for the Implementation and Monitoring of the National Strategy for Combating Money Laundering, workshops on developing cooperation and joint work between the Public Ministry and the police were completed in a number of Peruvian cities in 2015, with roughly 300 participants. The ES/CICAD developed a guide for the development of an investigation plan and 1,000 copies were printed and distributed to key-institutions within Peru. A “National Workshop on Money Laundering Investigations related to Drug Trafficking” was held in Lima for 43 prosecutors and FIU analysts.

Capacity Building

In 2015, under the framework of the Capacity Building of Financial Intelligence Units Program, the “Regional Workshop on the Strategic Analysis of AML/CFT to FIUs” was held in coordination with the Egmont Group, FinCEN, and the Financial Action Task Force in Latin America (GAFILAT) with the participation of 32 officials from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. Technical assistance also was provided to El Salvador to strengthen the financial investigation unit in developing and designing a process for the certification of compliance officers.

Two regional workshops were carried out jointly with the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE/OAS) on money laundering and terrorism financing issues. One was held in the United States on illicit flows, criminal networks and terrorism, with the participation of officers from Micronesia, Samoa, Tonga, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago. Another workshop took place in Panama on risks associated with free trade zones, with 34 participants from Panama, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Colombia.

International Cooperation

Assistance was provided to the Intelligence Centre against Terrorism and Organized Crime of the Ministry of the Interior of Spain in organizing a conference on “Information Exchange to Combat Money Laundering: Equity Research and Asset Recovery Offices” in Cartagena, Colombia. Experts from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Spain, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela attended the conference.

In Vienna, Austria, the ES/CICAD participated in three events carried out by UNODC: the Working Group for the Prevention of Corruption; the ninth meeting of the Working Group on Asset Recovery; and the Expert Meeting on the Effective Administration and Disposal of Frozen, Seized, and Forfeited Assets.

The ES/CICAD was invited to deliver three presentations at a CFATF meeting on the progress made regarding the implementation of an asset recovery network for the Caribbean and circulated a concept note on the project. The ES/CICAD also participated in a meeting of the Asset Recovery Network of the GAFILAT (RRAG), plus working groups and a typologies exercise sponsored by GAFILAT.

In the context of the Coordination Committee addressing terrorism and terrorist financing (MECOOR), a regional workshop on terrorism and its financing was held in Asuncion, Paraguay for 39 prosecutors, investigators, and FIU analysts from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. ES/CIDAD developed the RRAG Strengthening Program and promoted the use of the network in various meetings held in Peru, Chile, and Bolivia.

Plenary meetings of the Group of Experts for the Control of Money Laundering were held in Washington D.C. and Lima, Peru. After the discussion of best practices and knowledge sharing, the following guides and documents were approved: “Analysis on the rights of victims and bona fide third parties regarding forfeiture processes for assets of illicit origin;” “Analysis of the applicability and effectiveness of modern judicial instruments for the disposal of seized and forfeited assets;” “Asset Investigation Guide;” “Recommendations and considerations for the Security and Integrity of officials responsible for combatting money laundering and its related crimes;” and a program proposal on “Open Sources of Information as a Tool in the Development of Asset Investigations.”