Egypt: Specialized Training on Countering the Financing of Terrorism Using Virtual Currencies

The use of digital cryptocurrencies has become an emerging source in the financing of terrorist activities across the world. Addressing this new challenge requires a coordinated global response. To this end, the UNODC has rolled out a training programme to provide technical assistance in regards to this matter.

Under the bilateral project with Egypt on "Strengthening Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Capacities in Egypt", the UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch (UNODC/TPB) and the Global Programme against Money-Laundering, Proceeds of Crime and the Financing of Terrorism, have organized a three-day specialized training on strengthening the capacity of law enforcement and criminal justice officers in countering and preventing the financing of terrorism using virtual currencies, including Bitcoin. The training took place in Cairo from 2 to 4 October 2017 and was made possible through the generous funding by the Japanese government. 

National and international forensic experts started the training by introducing virtual currencies, their uses, as well as the threats and vulnerabilities they represent to society, including challenges concerning their control. Egyptian participants presented on the legal aspects of using, detecting, tracing and investigating the use of Bitcoins in their country. Moreover, participants thoroughly discussed cryptocurrency in criminal investigations, enforcement actions, seizure and confiscation as well as related inter-agency coordination and information exchange. Finally, virtual currency investigation case studies and the use of open source tools in such investigations were examined.

Attendees of the event included Egyptian judges, prosecutors, investigators, law enforcement officers and representatives of financial institutions and the Central Bank. Participants have strengthened their knowledge of new investigation methods, such as the use of information and communications technology, regarding the use of cryptocurrencies for the financing of terrorist activities.

In line with requests from the participants, UNODC/TPB will continue to offer additional technical assistance and capacity building activities will follow under the same Project, including future national and regional workshops and specialized trainings.