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 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 UN International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and the UN Convention against Corruption. 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 2015, GPML provided long-term assistance in the development of AML/CFT programs to 66 jurisdictions. GPML has trained over 4,000 representatives of law enforcement agencies, FIUs, judicial authorities, and reporting entities; out of them, 900 received training from local experts who had participated in the GPML train-the-trainer program.

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. Mentors serve as residential advisors for as long as one to four years, and offer sustained skills and knowledge transfer. The mentor can pinpoint specific needs over a period of months, provide advice on real cases and problems as they arise, and adjust his/her work plan to target assistance that responds to the counterparts’ needs. Furthermore, 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 2015, GPML employed five mentors. GPML mentors stationed in Senegal, South Africa, Gabon, Samoa, 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 2015, 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. Six visiting short-term mentors were deployed to the 10 ARINSA countries to provide trainings on money laundering investigations and asset recovery, assist in developing the legislation and policy, and provide assistance in particular asset recovery cases. In total, over 2,500 officers in ARINSA countries have received the GPML trainings. GPML efforts have a practical impact in ARINSA countries: ARINSA processed 41 cases in 2015, and has examples of successful asset recovery (e.g., Tanzania and Mozambique - $363,000 frozen in 10 cases of illegal timber, and $300,000 recovered in the case of a corrupt official in Zambia).

In West Africa, GPML’s main achievements in 2015 include the successful delivery of train-the-trainers programs in Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Benin. As a result, 169 national officers have been trained to conduct financial investigations, and 42 new trainers have been identified. This training already has a multiplier effect: new trainers themselves have trained 70 professionals in Senegal and 868 in Cote d’Ivoire.

GPML continues to support a CARIN-style regional network for prosecutors and financial investigators in West Africa (ARINWA), comprised of all 15 Economic Community of West African States countries plus Sao Tome and Principe. In October 2015, ARINWA held a joint plenary with other regional programs on judicial cooperation. The mentor also contributed to the strengthening of the AML/CFT framework and operational capacities, particularly of FIUs, in Burkina Faso and Mali. Activities have been completed in coordination with the Inter Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA). Additionally, GPML deployed a visiting consultant to West Central Africa to deliver cash courier and money value transfer systems trainings.

The GPML mentor based in Hanoi continued to strengthen operational capacities in Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. The mentor assisted Vietnamese and Laotian authorities to revise money laundering offense definitions in the penal codes of these countries. The mentor assisted Cambodia in its strengthening of its AML/CFT regime, and in Vietnam, the mentor continued to deliver training workshops on bulk cash smuggling, AML/CFT investigations, and raising awareness, and has distributed 1,000 pocket guides on cash smuggling interdiction to the customs officers. The mentor also has conducted eight national AML workshops and two international workshops on financial flows from wildlife and timber crimes. The Mekong mentor continued to support the CARIN-style regional network for prosecutors and financial investigators in the Asia Pacific (ARIN-AP), which has grown to 18 countries in 2015, and ARIN-AP Secretariat handled 14 asset recovery investigations.

The GPML mentor in Central Africa focused on assisting GABAC to become a FATF associate member, which it did in 2015. The GPML mentor assisted GABAC to establish an action plan to comply with the FATF requirements, provided advice to the GABAC Secretariat, assisted GABAC to conduct an AML/CFT workshop in Central Africa and with the organization of a 2015 GABAC Technical Commission and Ministerial Meeting. The mentor also arranged a training for GABAC on AML/CFT and on the new FATF Recommendations. The Mentor also assisted GABAC to prepare the mutual evaluation of Equatorial Guinea.

The GPML mentor for the Pacific Islands started the program’s activities in November 2015 by identifying the technical assistance needs of the islands.

A GPML consultant, jointly with UNDP, assisted Somalia’s Parliament to prepare an AML/CFT Bill and conducted two workshops for the drafters of the bill and the Parliament Committee. The AML/CFT Bill was enacted in December 2015.

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 2015, the UNODC conducted a research project on the economic impact of drug trafficking over the Balkan Route.

GPML conducted two events on the disruption of illicit financial flows in 2015: training on disruption of illicit financial flows from the drug trade (Belarus and Ukraine) and a workshop on disruption of illicit financial flows from human trafficking and migrant smuggling (Eastern Europe).

Throughout 2015, GPML continued to work 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 held an inter-regional workshop on illicit financial flows from wildlife and timber crime, gathering practitioners from Southeast Africa and Southeast Asia in January 2015.

Financial Investigation Course: GPML’s Financial Investigation Course 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. The new version of the training is delivered to three levels of participants: junior and senior investigators and senior managers. In 2015, the regional training was delivered in South Africa, with pilot trainings started in Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

Development of AML/CFT Experts/Trainers: GPML is continuing a train-the-trainers project on financial investigations for West Africa.

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.

goAML and goTrace: GPML cooperates with the UNODC IT Section to deploy the goAML software for Financial Intelligence and goTrace for secure exchange of information. goAML is currently running in 26 countries and 10 are in the process of deployment, goTrace has been requested by more than 40 government agencies.

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.