Panama / Money Laundering

International fight against money laundering

07 November 2019
Foto de familia del Seminario de Lavado de Activos
Foto de familia del Seminario de Lavado de Activos

Family photo of the Money Laundering Seminar

Panama this week host the regional seminar “Money laundering: combining efforts for more effective cooperation“, which brings together about 70 specialists in the field (experts, investigators, police, prosecutors and FIUs) from 16 Latin American countries and experts from Europe who together seek to create and implement inter-institutional coordination processes that contribute to reducing this type of crime.

The meeting financed by the European Union, within the framework of the Europe Latin America Programme of Assistance against Transnational Organised Crime project (The PAcCTO), was opened by Chris Hoornaert, ambassador of the European Union in Panama; Ricardo Muñoz, Attorney and Head of the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Unit of the Attorney General’s Office; and David Saied, Director of the Financial Analysis Unit (UAF) of Panama.

In his opening message, Ambassador Hoornaert stressed the importance of the event explaining that money laundering is the main fuel for organised crime, as it allows its activities to be financed and public agents to be corrupted to achieve its objectives. “If we manage to stop money laundering, it will undoubtedly be a very hard blow for organised crime and we will be able to win the battle that we are currently losing,” said the ambassador.

He also said that it is urgent to expand and mainstream the fight against money laundering to all criminal forms, since, if we do not, “we will only displace the problem and leave entire areas in which crime will continue to flourish out of our reach”.

Prosecutor Ricardo Muñoz welcomed the participants, whom he reminded that criminal organisations “have no codes to comply with, nor conventions, laws or regulations to respect, and act without any limitations, which is why it is disastrous to let a lot of time go by, so compliant agents can recover their assets.”

“We take full advantage of this workshop to gain experiences, establish contacts and build trust, so that we can strengthen inter-institutional and international cooperation,” he said.

On the other hand, David Saied, Director of the Financial Analysis Unit (UAF), was grateful for the choice of Panama as the venue of the seminar and said that the Executive Branch will soon send two specific bills to the National Assembly that will help improve the results of the head-on fight against money laundering.

In this regard, he said that one of these bills seeks to create a mandatory database and a registry of resident agents of Panamanian corporations that operate nationally and internationally; while the other modifies Law 27 April 2015, which adopts measures to prevent money laundering

The main issues discussed at the event are the real ownership of the assets, international cooperation in the fight against laundering, inter-institutional coordination and the circulation of information

Among the international experts who will participate as exhibitors are Nuno Rebocho , attorney of the Republic of Portugal; Bárbara Sargenti, attorney of the National Directorate of Antimafia and Antiterrorism of Italy; Sonia Fibleuil, police commissioner of France; Beatriz Vernet Perna, commander-in-chief of the UTPJ Economic Crimes Group of the Spanish Civil Guard; and José Manuel Fernández del Canto, National expert of the EUROPOL Financial Investigation Group.

At the inauguration, the directors of EL PAcCTO announced the creation of a Euro-Latin American network of police cooperation in the field of money laundering to promote the exchange of information and coordination between the police forces of Latin America and Europe promoted by EL PAcCTO. This network will also serve to carry out preventive campaigns and operational actions in the area of cryptocurrency.