Mutual Legal Assistance Unleashed!

Empowering LEAs through Workshops on Leveraging Foreign Financial Intelligence for TF Investigations and MLA Request Preparation

Karachi, 19 May 2023 - The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in partnership with the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU), the Ministry of Interior (MOI), and with financial support from the U.S. Embassy International Narcotics and Law Enforcement office (INL), successfully organized two workshops spanning two days. The workshops aimed to enhance the capabilities and knowledge of investigators, prosecutors, and judges in the field of Terrorism Financing (TF) investigations by harnessing the potential of Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) to access foreign financial intelligence units (FIU).

A total of 38 participants, including 32 male and 6 female attendees, represented various law enforcement agencies including  FMU, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Home Departments of Sindh and Balochistan, as well as judges from the Anti-terrorism Court in Sindh.

The initial focus of the first day of the workshop revolved around the role of MLA in examining the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Act and the contribution of FMUs to the AML/CFT regime. Participants gained valuable insights through live demonstrations of goAML, which showcased cooperation request formats and relevant case studies. Practical examples highlighted the importance of domestic coordination in TF investigations and introduced participants to INTERPOL's tools for international cooperation.

On the second day, the workshop shifted its focus to international cooperation and Pakistan's MLA framework, with an emphasis on the role of the Central Authority. A notable aspect of the workshop was the engagement of participants in a group exercise designed to enhance their understanding of initiating MLA requests. The workshop also covered process flows, the utilization of an E-Portal for request generation and tracking, and discussions on court interventions and assistance in obtaining information through MLA.

The workshop concluded with a formal recognition of the participants' efforts, expressing gratitude to the organizing entities and awarding certificates during the closing session. Overall, investigators, prosecutors, and judges acquired the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively employ MLA for TF investigations, thus fortifying international cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

INL funding made this workshop possible.