Assets Investigation is key to fight organized crime

23 November, 2011 - The importance of assets investigation of criminal organizations was one of the topics discussed during the International Seminar on the Countering of Organized Crime, Drug Trafficking, Trafficking in Weapons and Violent Crimes, which ended today, November 23, in Foz do Iguazu, Brazil.

According to the representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for Brazil and Southern Cone, Bo Mathiasen, combating money laundering is essential to tackle organized crime. "The need for the investigation of criminal assets is critical. Only that way is possible to prevent organizations to continue their activities," said Mathiasen.

Another aspect highlighted by UNODC's regional representative is the importance of police and intelligence cooperation in the region. According to Mathiasen, organized crime is now more prevalent in the countries of South America, which means that countries have to increasingly work together. "We have recently seen an increasing presence of organized crime groups. Whether because of more repression in Colombia and Mexico, whether because these groups are seeking new markets. Given this scenario, international cooperation and exchange of experience in justice and crime prevention has become crucial. This International Seminar fosters that. To work together with compatible laws, assuming an attitude of shared responsibility and mutual trust, so we can, together, achieve concrete results in combating organized crime, "said Mathiasen.

The seminar also discussed the importance of international cooperation to counter organized crime; the fight against money laundering as mechanism to combat organized crime; the illegal weapons trade in Latin America and its consequences; drug trafficking in Latin America; and police cooperation.

During the two-day workshop, national experts from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and the United States and international experts from UNODC shared experiences and tools to combat organized crime in its various forms.

The seminar is the result of a partnership between UNODC and the Brazilian Federal Police and is carried which aims at deepening the cooperation process within the region through the exchange of experiences and information and at making proposals for the improvement and efficiency in fighting organized crime.

As custodians of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, UNODC has the mandate to assist member countries in the constant improvement of their national legislation on the subject and to promote the exchange of good practices among countries, through international cooperation.

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