Manila (Philippines), 18 November 2022 - The combination of offshore banking and offshore legal entities provide the means for criminals to hide their profits and distance themselves from the beneficial ownership of stolen assets. These include offshore corporations, layered trust accounts, shell companies, and financial secrecy. To strengthen the ability of anti-corruption authorities in the Philippines to respond to these threats, UNODC organized an Offshore Financial Crimes Investigation Training Workshop from 14-18 November 2022.
The training gathered a total of 31 participants from The Office of the Ombudsman (OMB), The Department of Justice National Prosecution Service (DoJ-NPS), The National Bureau of Investigations (NBI), The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) (Philippine FIU), The Securities and Exchange Commission Enforcement and Investor Protection Division (SEC-EIPD) in the Philippines. The workshop focused on the various ways in which criminals attempt to hide their illegal activities, and best practices for investigating them.
The objective of the training was to provide the investigators with an understanding of the legal structures associated with offshore financial centers and how corrupt individuals may exploit them to conceal and disguise the proceeds of crime. The training aimed to enhance capacities to conduct financial analysis in the context of the Philippines’ prosecution-led investigations. Additionally, the workshop provided advanced knowledge on topics such as: Offshore financial centers, legal structures (i.e., shell companies, investment funds & trusts), case studies, letters of request, and more.
Utilizing an extensive hands-on practical exercise, the participants conducted a simulated country-specific financial crime investigation that focused on unravelling corporate structures and beneficial ownership. The participants were shown the ease by which offshore corporate entities can be established and subsequently abused by criminals.
In addition to the practical exercise, various financial center jurisdictions and offshore tax havens were examined to determine account-opening requirements, the amount of due diligence information available, and techniques for freezing and analyzing accounts. The participants also analyzed and discussed best practices for Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) in various jurisdictions. The interactive training required them to identify and initiate the key steps necessary to submit a successful request for international assistance to relevant foreign jurisdictions for a variety of investigative needs.
This training was part of activities funded by the Ministry of Justice of the Government of the Republic of Korea.
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