The Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units (FlUs) met in Doha, Qatar during the period of January 29 – February 3, 2017, to discuss the challenges faced by FlUs In combating money laundering, associated predicate offences and terrorist financing; especially in the areas of international cooperation, information sharing and the improved development of financial intelligence.
His Excellency Ali Sherif Al Emadi, Minister of Finance, State of Qatar, opened the meeting by highlighting Qatar’s unwavering commitment to the Egmont Group to combating money Laundering, associated predicate offences and terrorist financing. His Excellency further recognized the Egmont Group’s important role in promoting international cooperation and information sharing among FlUs in the fight against these crimes.
During the Intersessional Heads of FlUs Meeting, which was co-chaired by Mr. Sergio Espinosa, Chair of Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units and Sheikh Ahmed Al Thani, Head of Qatar FIU and gracious host, the FlUs of Cape Verde and Kosovo were endorsed as new members of the Egmont Group by the Heads of FlUs during the meeting. It was also announced during the meeting that the FIU of Ecuador had been endorsed as a new Egmont Group member following an out-of-session approval in September 2016.
The Chair of the Egmont Group noted that the admission of these new members will strengthen the global network and information sharing in AML/CFT efforts, and the admission of FIU Kosovo as a member cannot prejudice the status of Kosovo in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and other applicable international laws. An FIU’s admission to the Egmont Group does not imply recognition of any country or territory, and should not be used as a tool for any political purpose, as pointed out in the official closing report of the Egmont Group.
The Egmont Plenary, which is held annually, brought together the Egmont member FlUs, Observer organizations, and guests for In-depth discussion and training sessions on relevant topics in order to further the development of the international FIU network as well as assist FlUs in meeting their mandates. The Plenary audience heard panel discussions from financial industry experts and experts involved in combating terrorist financing.
The Heads of FIUs approved the following Studies/Papers/Training Materials:
•White Paper on the Utility of Cross-border Wire Transfer Reporting
•Two Reports on the ISIL Project Phase 2: a financial typology of foreign terrorist fighters and information sharing challenges involving FIUs
•Report on Business Email Compromise
•Flexible, Information Exchange Standards for FIUs
•FIU Information System Maturity Model (FISMM) Training Materials
•SEC-FIU Operational Guidance on Business Continuity of Operations
•SEC-FIU Operational Guidance on Information Security (approved out-of-session)
•Securing an FIU (SEC-FIU) Training Material
Three training sessions were delivered during this event focusing on topics of operational concern:
•Multilateral Information Exchange: Network Analysis Workshop
•FinTech Back to the Future
•FIU Cooperation with Domestic Law Enforcement on Terrorist Financing Cases
The Egmont Group also launched an E-learning Tool for Operational Analysis in Spanish and English. The E-learning Tool was developed in partnership with the Basel Institute International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR).
The Best Egmont Case Award (????) came down to two finalists. The Heads of FIUs were treated to two presentations, the first on a securities fraud case; and the second -which was nominated the winner of the 2016 ???? competition- on a case relating to a diamond smuggling and underground banking system.
The Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units commended Qatar’s prominent role in strengthening the international efforts to combat money laundering and terrorism financing, and acknowledged the support of Qatar’s Minister of Finance, His Excellency Ali Sherif Al Emadi, H.E. Sh. Fahad Al Thani, Deputy Governor and Chairman of the National Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Committee (NAMLC). H.E. Sh. Ahmed Al Thani, Head of the Qatar FIU as well as his team, for so effectively and brilliantly delivering the Intersessional Heads of FlUs and Plenary Meeting in Doha. The counterpart FIUs also praised the valuable contributions that the Qatar FIU has provided to the activities of the Egmont Group since its admission as a member in 2005.
On the margins of the meetings, several bilateral cooperation agreements were signed between Egmont members during the week. Qatar Financial Information Unit signed an MOU with the Saudi Arabia Financial Information Unit (SAFIU) and the Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) of the Republic of Turkey.
Moreover, multiple events were organized for the participants, notably the Welcome Reception at the Sheraton Hotel and the Official Dinner at Al Shaqab, the leading equestrian and horse show center which features equine international competitions. The Dinner which also brought together VIPs, embraced entertainment activities and traditions that reflect the cultural legacy of the State of Qatar.
BACKGROUND ON THE EGMONT GROUP OF FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE UNITS
In 1995 a number of financial intelligence units (FIUs) began working together in an informal organization known as the Egmont Group. Named for the location of the first meeting at the Egmont- Arenberg Palace in Brussels, the goal of the Egmont Group is to provide a forum for FlUs to improve support to their respective national anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing programs. The FIUs are central, national authorities responsible for receiving, analyzing, and disseminating to competent authorities, disclosures received from the respective financial and non-financial sectors. The place of FlUs is now well established in the arsenal of measures to combat serious crimes. To ensure the effectiveness of these measures, each FIU must adhere to all of the Egmont Group principles. One of the major principles of the Egmont Group is to enhance the potential for bilateral and multilateral international collaboration in strategic analysis among the FIUs. Further information about the Egmont Group and a list of Egmont member FIUs can be found at http://www.egmontgroup.org.