Panama / Organized crime

EL PAcCTO supports the formation of two Specialised Multidisciplinary Teams in Panama

24 May 2021

The European Union EL PAcCTO programme is supporting the formation of two Specialised Multidisciplinary Teams in Panama. Their launch will be made official on 24 May at an official signing ceremony in Panama City. The event has been attended by the Panamanian ministers of public security, economy and finance, environment, the national attorney general and the director of the Financial Analysis Unit.

Specialised Multidisciplinary Teams to combat tax crimes and environmental crimes

The SMT to combat tax crimes will work in a coordinated and comprehensive manner on sensitive and complex cases which are related to serious or organised crime, such as offences relating to tax fraud or the associated crimes relating to money laundering.  It will also seek synergies between the institutions involved such as the Panamanian National Attorney General’s Office, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Public Security and the Financial Analysis Unit.

The SMT to combat environmental crimes seeks to strengthen the joint response from the security forces’ investigation units, the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Ministry of the Environment to confront a criminal phenomenon that continues to grow in the region. A phenomenon that, in addition to causing tremendous damage to biodiversity, is today an immeasurable source of economic resources for organised criminal groups.

Inter-agency coordination to combat crime

Inter-agency coordination is essential to fighting organised crime in Latin America. For this reason, the formation of these specialised operational groups will make it possible to face and respond to complex cases to which an institution on its own cannot respond.

These SMTs enable the procedures for investigations and prosecutions to be harmonised, as well as a high degree of specialisation by their members who come from different institutions directly involved in combatting these crimes.

Since its inception, EL PAcCTO has worked to encourage greater inter-agency coordination in the fight against organised crime by publicising European experiences through exchanges between peers on issues of priority interest to Latin American countries.

EL PAcCTO (Europe-Latin America Assistance Programme against Transnational Organised Crime) is an international cooperation programme funded by the European Union that seeks to contribute to security and justice in Latin America by supporting the fight against transnational organised crime. In its activities, EL PAcCTO addresses the entire criminal chain from a perspective