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UNODC acting on money-laundering in Viet Nam

Hanoi (Viet Nam), 18 November 2009 - Criminals engage in money-laundering in order to distance themselves from a criminal activity while at the same time holding on to the proceeds of their crimes. In Viet Nam, there is a relatively low awareness of money-laundering, especially at the provincial level. To address this problem, UNODC has been conducting a number of awareness-raising workshops in seven key provinces: Lao Cai, Khanh Hoa, Tien Giang, Quang Ninh, Ha Tinh, Thua Thien Hue and Lam Dong.

Among the participants in the workshops were representatives, at the provincial level, of the Public Security Department, the Customs Department, the People's Prosecution Office, the People's Court, the Border Army Command and the State Bank. At the workshops, participants learned about the concept of money-laundering and received information on international standards, the national legal framework on money-laundering, case planning and organization, sources of financial information, evidence, interviews, investigative techniques and issues relating to prosecution and asset forfeiture.

As a result, participants became more aware of the weakness of the current legal framework, which primarily focuses on predicate offences rather than on money-laundering itself. Participants agreed that following the money trail in illegal endeavours and confiscating the proceeds of crime would deal a serious blow to the activities of criminals.

An important feature of the approach adopted by UNODC in carrying out these awareness-raising workshops is that the events are conducted by locals who have been trained for 12 months. This ensures sustainability, as the skills acquired by the trainers will remain in the country well beyond the lifespan of the project. So far, 27 Vietnamese experts from five law enforcement and judiciary training institutions in Viet Nam have completed the training programme. These institutions are the Police Academy, the Police University, the Prosecutors' School, the Courts' School and the Judicial Academy.

The awareness-raising workshops and training programmes are being provided as part of a three-year UNODC project on money-laundering in Viet Nam. Through the project, UNODC aims to assist the Government of Viet Nam in increasing the capacity of its law enforcement and judicial authorities to detect, investigate, try and prosecute cases of money-laundering. Technical assistance is also provided under this project in the form of financial investigation training, review of the legal framework's adherence to international standards, case studies, research on the vulnerability of Viet Nam to money-laundering, development of a national action plan against money-laundering and publication of various training manuals and handbooks.