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UNODC conducts Regional Combatting Cash Smuggling Workshop in El Salvador from March 27 th to 31st

February 27 -In the framework of the project " Combating Cash Smuggling in the Caribbean and Central America by Strengthening Operational Capability and Assisting Effective Implementation of FATF Recommendation 32 on Cash Couriers", UNODC conducted a second regional workshop in San Salvador, El Salvador from March 27 to 31. The 4-day event had the participation of Ms. Monica Mendoza, Chief of UNODC in El Salvador as well as the presence of the Canadian Ambassador in El Salvador Mrs. Maryse Guilbeault.

The workshop was facilitated by Mrs. Natalia Oquendo, consultant for UNODC with extensive experience in customs and anti-money laundering. The workshop is part a series of workshops and instances of technical assistance aimed at increasing the operational capacity of target countries to identify, seize and confiscate currency and bearer negotiable instruments being smuggled into and through their jurisdictions.

As highlighted during the opening remarks the illicit cross-border movement of cash and other value commodities, such as gold and diamonds, allows criminals and drug dealers to transport and conceal the proceeds of crime facilitating the financing of transnational criminal organizations.

The Central America region, have not escaped the negative effects of this global problem, as cash is often smuggled through its borders to finance drug cartels and terrorism. Thus, the importance of this initiative, which aimed at limiting the movement illicit funds and removing the proceeds of crime to effectively reduce the incidence of transnational organized crime and increase cooperation and knowledge and intelligence sharing amongst institutions.

During the sessions, the participants had the opportunity to learn through practical exercises about Cash Smuggling modalities, Money laundering schemes, Profiling and questioning techniques as well as gap analysis of the implementation of FAFT recommendation 32. This Gap analysis will serve the purpose of identifying their specific needs in order to customize national workshops which will take place later this year.

The workshop had participants from different institutions related to border management and law enforcement such as: Police, Financial Intelligence Units, Customs and Public Prosecutors Office. Moreover, participants interacted with their counterparts from Panama, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador in a regional forum that enabled them to draw on their experiences and contribute to interesting discussions and the identification of common challenges.

This project is funded by the Government of Canada aims to assist target counties to strengthen their operational capacity to seize, confiscate currency and bearer negotiable instruments being smuggled and to foster cooperation at the regional level for effective action to tackle drug trafficking, terrorism and related organized crime.

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