Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries

Training on Investigation of Money Laundering with Cryptocurrencies and Money Transfer Systems and Electronic Money

5-7 December 2017, Vienna, Austria 

Under the auspices of Sub-Programme 2 of the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries, a sub-regional training workshop on Investigation of Money Laundering with Cryptocurrencies, Money Transfer Systems and Electronic Money took place in Vienna from 5 to 7 December 2017 with the support of the Global Programme against Money-Laundering, Proceeds of Crime and the Financing of Terrorism.

Law enforcement and financial intelligence units (FIU) officials from the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan attended the training, which was aimed at raising awareness on the risks of the abuse of bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies as well as discussing investigative techniques and how they can be implemented in money laundering cases involving the use of cryptocurrencies.

Trainers from FIUs and the private sector of Denmark, Moldova and Ukraine explained to the participants the main differences between traditional, electronic and virtual currencies as well as how bitcoins work in practice, its ecosystem and community, the mining industry and the blockchain system.

Participants carried out two mock investigations: one related to a drug trafficking case of an individual who purchased methamphetamines on the dark web using bitcoins obtained by a peer to peer cash transaction, the other related to a money launderer that was laundering money by buying large amounts of bitcoins on the dark web and cashing them out always through the same exchanger.

The Participants, under the guidance of the trainers, managed to successfully conclude the investigations using relevant investigative tools and software to analyse all blockchains transactions to track down the alleged criminals.

The training was also an occasion to reiterate the critical role played by regional and international cooperation, in particular, in the area where the transnational/cross border nature of the activities represent a challenge to investigation and prosecution.

UNODC thanks the European Union for funding the event.