WCO and Egmont Group Launch the Worldwide Distribution of the Customs-FIU Cooperation Handbook in Six Languages

21 May 2021

The World Customs Organization (WCO and the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) are pleased to announce the translation and launch of the WCO and Egmont Group members’ version of the Customs – FIU Cooperation Handbook (CFCH) in four additional languages.  The CFCH has recently been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and Russian.  The CFCH was conceptualized and created by experts from the WCO Anti-money Laundering and Counter-terrorism Financing Programme and the Egmont Group, to include the FIUs of Hungary, Germany and Denmark.  The CFCH was designed to serve as both a reference tool and a guide for all Customs services and FIUs in their daily effort to combat illicit financial flows touching upon the Customs arena.

The WCO and Egmont Group released the on-line, public and member’s versions of the CFCH in English and French in 2020.  Now that the CFCH has been translated into the other four languages, all six of the printed member-versions of the CFCH will be made available worldwide to Customs services, police services and FIUs.  These printed versions provide identification, definition and illustration of various trade-based money laundering (TBML) mechanisms, to include trade mis-invoicing schemes and informal value transfer services.  It also provides recommended best practices to enhance Customs-FIU collaboration and effectiveness vis-a-vis the targeting of currency smuggling, gems and precious metals smuggling and TBML, among other financial crimes that occur in the Customs arena.

The WCO, as the primary international customs institution, continually strives to improve the law enforcement capabilities of its membership, as well as to enhance its collaborative efforts with its partner agencies such as the Egmont Group and INTERPOL.  The creation of the CFCH, a “living document” designed to adapt to new money laundering mechanisms and methods used by criminal and terrorist groups, is one example of the ardent, forward-leaning efforts of the WCO and Egmont Group. 

WCO Secretary General Kuniyo Mikuriya related, “The WCO and the Egmont Group for Financial Intelligence Units are proud to announce the release and worldwide dissemination of the printed version of the Customs-FIU Cooperation Handbook. This handbook is a relevant tool in the global fight to identify and prevent cross-border money laundering activities by organized crime syndicates and terrorist organizations. The CFCH is a key reference material for all frontline customs officers and FIU analysts in their daily efforts to identify and interdict illicit financial flows. We are confident that with the CFCH now being available in six different languages, more customs administrations will be able to benefit from the best practices and use it as a reference tool.” 

Mrs. Hennie Verbeek-Kusters, the Chair of the Egmont Group related, “One of the Egmont Group’s main goals is to build and foster partnerships. The Group maintains that through collaboration, we can be more effective in fighting money laundering and terrorist financing.

This handbook will undoubtedly enhance cooperation between FIUs and Customs services and contribute to joint efforts to combat ML/TF. I am also proud of the individuals from both our organizations who contributed to this work, and I sincerely look forward to further cooperation between us.

WCO Director of Compliance and Enforcement, Mr. Pranab Kumar Das stated, “The WCO is very excited to distribute this important global tool to all its member Administrations worldwide, as well as to all financial intelligence units and police services.  Having the CFCH in our collective anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing arsenal will most certainly raise the capacity of Customs and its partners to more effectively combat the scourge of money laundering in the Customs arena by transnational criminal organizations and terrorist groups.” 

The availability of the CFCH in six world languages and its worldwide distribution will serve as an effective convenience to many Customs services and FIUs, as they will be readily able to access and benefit from the important AML-CTF material contained therein in their native languages.