Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries

UNODC and the People's Republic of China join efforts to fight the abuse of Money and Value Transfer Services in West and Central Asia

Beijing, Peoples' Republic of China, 4-8 June 2018

Understanding the nature and extent of how organised crime networks exploit money and value transfer services (MVTS) represents a big challenge for countries in West and Central Asia and beyond. Building knowledge and capacities to tackle the abuse of MVTS and to foster international and regional cooperation among relevant jurisdictions in this field remains paramount.

UNODC, under its Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries, in cooperation with the Anti-Money Laundering Bureau of the Peoples' Bank of China and with the support of the Global Programme against Money Laundering, Proceeds of Crime and the Financing of Terrorism (GPML) organised an advanced inter-regional training workshop on combating the illicit use of money and value transfer services in Beijing, China from 4 to 8 June.

"Today the money and value transfer services (MVTS) are widely used by individuals, businesses, organisations, and even governments to remit funds domestically and abroad. These systems in many countries operate in parallel with formal financial institutions or as a substitute or alternative for their universally known principal of security, anonymity, and versatility, but unfortunately these systems are also used for supplying resources for carrying out illegal activities" said Mr. Jeremy Milsom, Senior Coordinator of the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries.

During the five-day event, many different topics were discussed and analysed including the importance of effective identification and understanding of MVTS; information sources and the value risks and threats presented by various sources; the importance of understanding records and accounts kept by MVTS operators as evidence in support of court proceedings; illegal use MVTS and cash movement; and, promotion of best practice in the collection, storage, examination and recording of forensic exhibits.

Participants were also engaged in real case scenarios and mock investigations throughout the workshop. During these practical sessions participants learned how to look at and analyse financial documents, bank documents, cash declarations and other relevant documents to identify discrepancies and anomalies. Furthermore, participants were requested to perform a cash seizure exercise in which a large amount of cash and documents needed to be seized, accounted for, preserved from contamination and made ready to be used in court as evidence.

In this regard Ms Jinghua Hao, Deputy Director General of the Anti-Money Laundering Bureau of the People's Bank of China, stated in the opening speech: "This workshop is committed to enhancing our ability in preventing, investigating and fighting against money laundering and terrorist financing through MVTS. That is also the reason we assisted UNODC to hold this workshop in Beijing for several times in the past years".This training not only contributed to strengthen participants' capacities in this area, but also raised awareness on the critical importance of cooperation at the regional and international level.

Furthermore, in the margins of the training workshop, a regional FIU to FIU meeting took place during which FIU' representatives had the opportunity exchange information and discuss issues related effective cross border cooperation at the operational level, and in this context, the importance of signing memorandums of understanding to facilitate the exchange of Suspicious Transactions Reports (STR).

UNODC thanked the European Union for funding this important activity.