Financial investigations and cross-border cooperation in complex corruption cases

UNODC supports countries in the region to strengthen their capacities to investigate corruption cases

Posted on 16 November 2018.



As the FATF Report (2011) on "Laundering the Proceeds of Corruption" has shown, the laundering of proceeds of corruption often adopts the most sophisticated vehicles of money-laundering, such as corporate vehicles, trust funds and offshore jurisdictions. This stands in stark contrast to the capacity of the specialized Anti-Corruption Agencies to investigate complex corruption cases and conduct the necessary financial investigations. UNODC has been working with the Anti-Corruption Agencies of Southeast Asia to build their capacity in this area.

In September, UNODC contributed to the 'Core Investigation Skills for Financial Investigators' training, jointly organized by the American Bar Association - Rule of Law Initiative and the Anti-Money Laundering Council of the Philippines. In this training, participants learned basic investigative techniques, such as evidence recording, interviewing techniques and case management. The participants also learned about the different corruption offences criminalized under the UN Convention against Corruption, corruption risks in investigations and prosecutions, and how to address them. In the Philippines, corruption is a predicate offence to money laundering and it is prioritized to forward Suspicious Activity Reports to the financial investigation department of the Ombudsman Office. The training will feed into other trainings to be delivered in the coming months.

UNODC analysis of corruption and related money-laundering trends has shown that corrupt money often travels between Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand. UNODC conducted a regional training on regional coordination and cooperation in complex, cross-border corruption cases to promote a platform for the relevant Anti-Corruption Agencies, including Special Investigation Police, Financial Intelligence Units and Prosecutors. In a hypothetical case involving the request of illegal fees for the provision of health services and a procurement scam for the supply of medical equipment, the participants developed their investigation strategy and evidence matrix, outlining the offences to be charged, the elements to be proven and the evidence needed. In the hypothetical investigation, participants had to conduct a financial investigation requiring cross-border cooperation.