FATF and INTERPOL step up global asset recovery – Eurasia Review

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The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and INTERPOL have launched a joint initiative to deprive criminals of their dirty money, marking a milestone in global efforts to recover illicit assets, INTERPOL said.

While asset recovery should be a critical pillar of a country’s approach to combating money laundering and terrorist financing, countries intercept and recover less than 1% of global illicit financial flows, according to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates. Stolen assets are often moved quickly out of countries and routed to or through multiple countries, making the asset recovery process complex and requiring lengthy international cooperation.

The first-ever FATF-INTERPOL Engagement Roundtable (FIRE) brought together 150 high-level experts who highlighted the urgent need to:

  • promote national policies and actions that prioritize the tracing, seizure and confiscation of criminal assets;
  • strengthen operational cooperation at national, regional and international levels;
  • increase the effectiveness of information sharing between public authorities and with the private sector.

In a common desire to strengthen and mobilize the community of global experts, the conference (September 12-13) brought together law enforcement agencies, financial intelligence units, asset recovery offices, prosecutors, policy makers, international organizations and private sector leaders.

Opening the event, MK Shanmugam, Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Justice of Singapore, highlighted the important role played by INTERPOL and the FATF in the global fight against transnational crime, money laundering and terrorist financing . Minister Shanmugam reaffirmed Singapore’s commitment to continue contributing to the important work of FATF and INTERPOL. He also highlighted how close international collaboration and strong public-private partnerships can bring better results in asset recovery.

“Raising the visibility and priority of asset recovery at the national level sets the tone for all stakeholders, sending a clear signal that we are acting to cripple organized crime syndicates, better protect society and contribute to sustainable economic growth. By catalyzing global efforts, this exciting initiative by FATF and INTERPOL can bring lasting and impactful change to the way we track the proceeds of crime,” said FATF Chairman T Raja Kumar.

“The scale of illicit profits and the speed at which billions of people cross borders is deeply concerning. Organized criminal groups undermine global financial systems and inflict huge losses on businesses and individuals alike. We must redouble our efforts to achieve the significant operational impact we need today,” added INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock.

Participants agreed that a better understanding of the global financial crime landscape, particularly as it relates to financial cybercrime, is critical to efforts to combat illicit flows.

Delegates welcomed the FATF and INTERPOL initiative to strengthen international law enforcement and judicial networks working on asset recovery and the tools available, including the Global Opposition Mechanism pilot project to INTERPOL payments, the Anti-Money Laundering Rapid Response Protocol (ARRP). They also agreed on the need to strengthen FATF standards so that countries are better equipped to act effectively at every stage of the asset recovery process.

During a series of plenary sessions and workshops, experts discussed the strategic and operational changes needed at the national and international levels to trigger asset recovery and profit from crime. These changes include a shift in law enforcement outlook and culture, improved international networks and tools, and stronger anti-money laundering legislation and global standards.

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