September 16, 2020 -- U.S. Ambassador Linda Taglialatela and Barbados Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, The Hon. Dale Marshall Q.C. opened a Virtual Financial Crime Technical Working Group (TWG) on September 16. In collaboration with the Caribbean Community Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (CARICOM IMPACS), the conference will support representatives from CARICOM Member States and British Overseas Territories to fight financial crime. The conference is funded by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and will continue September 23 and 28.
The exchange will serve to share best practices to strengthen regional efforts to combat organized crime, organized crime, terrorist financing, money laundering, and corruption. “Despite the challenges of the global pandemic, we must redouble our efforts to maintain close partnerships, share best practices, and agree to implement shared plans to counter organized crime through the financial investigations of their proceeds,” said Ambassador Taglialatela. “A joint show of strength and mutual assistance is far more powerful than fighting organized crime alone.” During the inaugural session, the TWG brought together
approximately 85 representatives from Law Enforcement, Financial Intelligence Units, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and Office of the Attorney General from across CARICOM Member States and British Overseas Territories. The sessions are interpreted in French and Spanish for the benefit of participants attending from Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Attorney General Marshall hailed the multinational conference. “This initiative to host a regional financial crimes technical working group is of absolute importance to us here in the Caribbean as we continue to grapple with the effects of transnational organized crime, terrorist financing, money laundering, and corruption in all its forms,” he said. “I am pleased that this group has taken up the mantle to deepen and strengthen international cooperation."
Experts from the Caribbean, United States, Chile, Spain, and the United Kingdom will cover a range of topics including international cooperation; money laundering; and asset recovery. Participants will be engaged in peer-to-peer exchanges and presentations from CARICOM IMPACS; Caribbean Financial Action Task Force; U.S. Department of Justice; U.S. Department of the Treasury; and the INL-funded Caribbean Anti-Crime (CAC) Financial Crimes Team. In addition, case study exercises and mock cross-border and civil asset recovery investigations will strengthen participants’ knowledge and skills and further build capacity to combat financial crime.
The conference also seeks to enhance international cooperation between countries by expanding regional mutual legal assistance in asset recovery and anti-money laundering cases; improving the standard of money laundering investigations and prosecutions as a means to tackle transnational criminal organizations; and enhancing partner-country efforts to effectively use civil asset recovery legislation to disrupt criminal activity.
According to a 2017 report released by Global Financial Integrity, the global business of transnational crime is valued at an average of US$1.6 trillion to US$2.2 trillion annually. The social costs of rising crime and murders, human trafficking, and corruption often accompany such illicit activity.
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