WCO and Egmont Group Co-host Global Anti-money Laundering Webinar

06 August 2021

On the 29th of July 2021, the World Customs Organization (WCO), the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs), and FIU Hungary co-hosted the global Webinar entitled “Cooperation between National Customs Authorities and Financial Intelligence Units: Operational Matters, Challenges and Solutions.” Over 300 customs officers and FIU analysts from 107 countries across the world attended this anti-money laundering forum.

Customs authorities from the United States, and Australia, and the FIUs of Hungary and Italy shared success stories regarding cross-cutting, collaborative work between Customs authorities and FIUs. The Australian Border Force (ABF) presented on the enhanced money laundering capabilities of Australian law enforcement authorities which has been generated through the AUSTRAC-spearheaded Fintel Alliance. Per the ABF, the Fintel Alliance has bolstered the resilience of the Australian financial sector due to the robust partnership between the ABF, AFP and AUSTRAC. The Fintel Alliance supports all law enforcement authorities that engage in serious crime investigations from the money laundering and terrorism financing angles. U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) presented a FinCEN award-winning, high-impact terrorism financing investigation in which an on-line fundraising scheme and conduit for a global terrorist organization was identified and dismantled through Customs, police and FIU partnership. WCO Deputy Secretary General Ricardo Trevino related, “The webinar was a great success. It is my strong belief that our FIUs and Customs authorities will become more inspired when they hear about these highly successful anti-money laundering and terrorism financing investigations. These forums also highlight how important customs is in the global fight to contain money laundering and terrorism.” Hennie Verbeek-Kusters, Chair of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, added, “Building partnerships across the public sector is crucial for effectively combatting money laundering and terrorism financing. Throughout this global webinar, customs authorities and FIUs learned how to build mutual trust and create opportunities for enhanced cooperation. The various case studies presented demonstrate the great collaborative work currently being done in jurisdictions around the world. Thank you to the webinar organizers, presenters, and attendees that made this event a success.”

During the Webinar, the WCO and the Egmont Group of FIUs also briefed the audience on future collaborative efforts, to include joint training efforts for customs services and FIUs and a prospective global WCO-Egmont Group AML conference that will be held in Budapest, Hungary in 2022. The FIU Hungary highlighted the main features of the Customs-FIU Cooperation Handbook, which was first published online by the WCO and Egmont Group in 2020 and is now available in six languages in printed format. The WCO and Egmont Group will join forces again to combat customs-based money laundering activities through the design of a financial intelligence and analysis-focused AML training compendium. In furtherance of their joint effort to enhance regional security, as well as ensure the integrity of the financial and trade sectors, the WCO and Egmont Group will continue to assist law enforcement in the development of actionable financial and commercial intelligence to counter money laundering and terrorism financing in the customs arena.