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2019-09-16 › OSCE promotes co-operation among Kyrgyzstan and international financial intelligence units to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism

 From 10 to 12 September 2019, the first Eurasian Forum for Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) took place in Issyk-Kul province, Kyrgyzstan. The State Financial Intelligence Service under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic (SFIS) organized this forum with the support of the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek and the United Nations Office on Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT). 

A forum of this format is being held for the first time and is an informal regional platform for exchanging expert opinions and acquainting participants with the latest achievements in investigating cases of money laundering and terrorist financing.

International experts and representatives of a number of international and regional organizations took part in the event, including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the UN Monitoring Group on UN Security Council Resolution 1267, the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, the European Union, the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre for Combating Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and their Precursors, the Anti-Terrorism Center of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Asian Development Bank, the Eurasian Development Bank, the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism, the International Training and Methodology Centre for Financial Monitoring, and the Egmont Group.

Representatives of financial intelligence units and authorities from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Switzerland also participated in the event.

The Forum served as a platform to discuss best practices in the sphere of combating AML/CFT, assessing its cross-border risks, corruption and money laundering, financing terrorism using criminal proceeds, including those of organized crime.

Participants were able to discuss the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards and guidelines for virtual currencies and their regulation, which is especially important for AML/CFT because of  constantly evolving cross-border schemes for drug payments and the growing risks of legalization of drug income using electronic payment instruments, blockchain and cryptocurrencies, which can further be used to finance terrorism.

Speaking at the forum, the Head of the SFIS, Gulamzhan Anarbaev, mentioned that Kyrgyzstan has seen an increase in the activity of clandestine groups involved in the financing international terrorist organizations, especially through obtaining proceeds from thefts. “This proves once again the fact that the financial footprint is almost always there. Therefore, the financial intelligence units of the world are called upon to investigate the financial component of crimes both independently and jointly with the relevant authorities and, ultimately, deprive criminals of all kinds of assets and proceeds,” he said.

Since 2013, the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek has been supporting the Kyrgyz Republic’s fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. Over the last few years, the Programme Office provided support to the Government in the implementation and compliance of AML/CFT requirements, according to the FATF recommendations by providing expert support and capacity building to relevant public and private sector organizations.

The Head of the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek, Ambassador Pierre von Arx said: "Following our mutual efforts, in 2014, the Kyrgyz Republic was removed from the FATF “Grey List” and eventually from the “Monitoring List” of the EAG. These milestones have kept the country protected from international restrictions on the national financial industry and contributed to raising the ease of doing business in Kyrgyzstan." 

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