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Subregional Meeting on Trade-based Money LaunderingĀ 

On 30 and 31 August, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), together with the Financial Analysis Unit of Panama (UAF) and Crime Stoppers, held a Subregional Meeting on Trade-based Money Launderingin Panama City, Panama.

The inauguration was attended by the Minister of Public Security of Panama, his Excellency Alexis Bethancourt and the Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit of Panama, Mr. Humberto Brid and Mrs. Zuleika Moore representing the Public Prosecutors office of Panama.

The workshop had the participation of the Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs), the Public Prosecutors Office of Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and the Dominican Republic as well as Panamanian counterparts and other authorities such as the National Customs Authority, the Colon Free Zone, the National Border Service, the National Security Council, the National Police (DIJ).

For 2 days the participants had the opportunity to discuss and deepen their understanding of the problem of trade based money laundering. Through keynote lectures and case study analysis, participants were able to gain insight into what are the most vulnerable assets, the modes used by criminal groups to launder money through trade, and the red flags that can indicate a suspicious activity.

Moreover, the attendees shared their experiences in the investigation and prosecution of cases related to trade-based money laundering. TheseĀ 

experiences served to identify common challenges such as: the need to raise awareness about this problem in the common citizen, as well as the need for tools to analyze Big Data as well as the need to better inter-institutional and international coordination, and the challenge of combating corruption in the public and private sectors.

Trade based Money laundering generates cash flows amounting to more than one trillion dollars which helps finance the operations transnational organized crime, Thus the importance to raise awareness about this problem and its impact on the region. This meeting is a joint initiative of UNODC, UAF of Panama and Crime Stoppers to appreciate the dimensions of the problem and its impact, as well as to produce documents and tools that train the officials in their identification and persecution.