Ecuador / Institutional cooperation
As part of the activities implemented by PAcCTO in 2019, two specialized networks of investigators were created in particular: on money laundering – the UELLA network (Uniting Europe and Latin America against Money Laundering) – and on cybercrime – the CibEL@ Network (Combating Cybercrime Europe Latin America).
In 2020, we worked together with both networks for their effective implementation, but due to the health situation it was not possible to hold face-to-face meetings. Now in 2021, the aim is to work together with both networks and make them fully operational through the implementation of exchanges between their members and the start of work on the basis of specific cases, with a transnational character, considered relevant by the members of the network.
To facilitate the work of operationalizing the networks, the participating institutions have identified, together with the participating institutions, topics of shared interest and have been asked to identify concrete cases that could be worked on within the framework of the network. Among the topics of interest mentioned, one is common to the UELLA and CibEL@ networks: crimes committed through the use of cryptocurrencies. This is a relatively new phenomenon and is linked to the creation, at first, of Bitcoin and, since then, of several other cryptocurrencies that are increasingly used by organized crime groups to finance or profit from their activities, but also, potentially, to finance terrorism. Faced with this reality, it is necessary to acquire knowledge, investigative techniques and the exchange of best practices to achieve a progressive specialization of investigators in this area. As this is an issue that affects both cybercrime specialists and those in charge of the fight against money laundering, it seems appropriate to work together. Although this is the first time that PAcCTO has organized a joint activity between actors from specialized units of Latin American law enforcement agencies, which do not always work closely and in a coordinated manner, this approach already exists in the European Union and at the EUROPOL level in particular. Therefore, the idea is to share experiences and good practices that have been developed in this area. Of course, there are other specific issues that each network will have to address exclusively, so the proposed meeting foresees two times: one common to the two networks and one for separate work.
The objective is also that the networks can work together on common issues, in addition to cooperating with the networks of specialized prosecutors in both areas in the region, the CiberRed and the Anti-Money Laundering Working Group of the AIAMP.