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Cambodian law enforcement officers become trainers to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism

Phnom Penh (Cambodia), 9 September 2013 - Money laundering and the financing of terrorism are growing challenges worldwide. Southeast Asia is no exception to this trend. Cash-based economies, high tourism levels, and the many financial services available make the region attractive to organized crime and corruption. This has negative impacts on the stability and development of many countries, including Cambodia.

In response to this threat, UNODC's Global Program against Money Laundering and the Counter Financing of Terrorism (GPML) and the UNODC regional sub-programme "Partnership on Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism", funded by the European Union, work closely with the Cambodian Ministry of Interior and the General Commissariat of the National Police to strengthen Cambodia's ability to counter terrorism.

Under the framework of the Joint EU-UNODC Initiative to Support South East Asian Countries to Counter Terrorism, UNODC trained 60 Cambodian Counter Terrorism Police Officers in basic and advanced investigation techniques related to anti-money laundering and countering the financing terrorism.

Following this, UNODC selected top workshop attendees and trained them to become trainers themselves to ensure the sustainability of the Programme.

These freshly qualified trainers recently delivered basic investigation courses on money laundering and terrorist financing to 40 new students in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

At a workshop-closing ceremony in Phnom Penh, Mr. Alain Vandersmissen, Minister Counsellor of the Delegation of the European Union to Cambodia, recalled the commitment of the EU in its 2005 Counter-Terrorism Strategy to contribute to global security and promote the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and warned: "Cambodia is a country that grows fast but remains fragile, with the potential of being attractive for terrorist-related activities or becoming a safe haven for terrorists."

Mr. Sieng Lapresse, Under Secretary of State, Ministry of Interior, told attendees: "Cambodia has great challenges ahead of it. This Programme provides Cambodian law enforcement with the skills and knowledge necessary to suppress all aspects of terrorist activities."

UNODC Cambodia Country Manager, Mr. Olivier Lermet, stressed the importance of specialized skills to fight terrorism and the financing of terrorism: "Anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism is high on the agenda for UNODC and the Government of Cambodia. Activities like this training series equip an ever-larger group of investigators and trainers with the specialized skills tools necessary to fight the financing of terrorism.".