The global programme entitled Combating Illicit Financial Flows focuses on the proceeds of crime. Illegal activities can only be stopped if criminals are no longer able to launder their illegally acquired assets and thus benefit from them. To this end, we support our partners in increasing their compliance with important international standards, such as those of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) aimed at anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism.
The programme operates in three fields of action:
- Prevention: To prevent IFF, the programme supports partner countries in strengthening their legislative framework in line with international standards. It systematically increases the traceability of the proceeds of crimes, for example by supporting the establishment of beneficial ownership registers.
- Financial investigation: The programme assists national law enforcement agencies in adopting innovative investigation methods and improving inter-agency cooperation. We strive to overcome the challenges of cross-border investigations on a regional level.
- Asset recovery: To ensure that crime ‘does not pay’, the programme supports the recovery of assets stolen in developing countries and emerging economies. It does so by fostering collaboration among relevant agencies at national, regional and global level.
The programme achieves a broad impact by expanding innovative national approaches at a regional level, fostering peer-to-peer learning between countries and regions and by feeding national and regional experiences into the international debate.
A uniform presence of German ministries in international forums is vital to combating IFF. The programme facilitates a six-monthly dialogue between the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and other relevant ministries, such as the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF), the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV) and the Federal Foreign Office (AA), so as to enable them to coordinate their strategy. Additionally, the programme supports the German delegation in various plenaries and working group sessions of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), FATF and its regional bodies.
The programme has achieved considerable success in its partner countries and in the three priority regions of Africa, Latin America and the Western Balkans.
In Kenya, the programme supported the introduction of multi-agency teams (MAT). Thanks to this new method of collaboration, the national Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission increased its conviction rate by over 50 per cent from 2017 to 2018. Moreover, the agency recovered a record sum of more than 9 billion Kenyan Shillings in stolen assets (over USD 80 million) in the first half of the financial year 2019/2020. Kenya has rolled out this successful approach through the regional Asset Recovery InterAgency Network for Eastern Africa (ARIN-EA). The programme currently supports several of the networks’ member states with regard to implementation.
The programme supported Peru in increasing its compliance with the international anti-money laundering standards of the FATF and in preparing for the mutual evaluation. For instance, it facilitated money-laundering risk analyses of the financial, mining, fisheries, and timber sectors and contributed to the development of the new national anti-money laundering strategy. After an exemplary performance in its FATF mutual evaluation, the programme helped Peru to share its experiences. This led to other Latin American countries requesting Peru’s support in helping them to prepare for their own mutual evaluations.
The programme also provides support following an FATF mutual evaluation. In Mauritius, for instance, it is implementing the identified priority actions. Strengthening the national anti-money laundering system prevents imminent sanctions that restrict access to the capital market.
In the Western Balkans, the programme has assisted law enforcement agencies in strengthening their collaboration and in adopting innovative investigation methods. For instance, the programme procured sniffer dogs specialised in the detection of cash and trained law enforcement authorities in inter-agency investigations to tackle the regional problem of cash smuggling. The approach has already sparked interest in other countries.
At international level, the programme has organised an asset recovery dialogue between African and European countries. During the event, policy-makers and law enforcement agencies identified challenges and worked out joint solutions. The successful format was repeated in September 2019.