ISSYK-KUL, Kyrgyzstan -- Kyrgyzstan hosted the first Eurasian Forum for Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said on its website Monday (September 16).
Kyrgyzstan's State Financial Intelligence Service (GSFR) organised the forum in Issyk-Kul September 10-12 with the support of the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek and the United Nations (UN) Office of Counter-Terrorism.
International specialists and representatives of a number of international and regional organisations took part in the event, including the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia and the European Union, among others.
Financial intelligence personnel and other officials from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Afghanistan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Switzerland and other countries attended.
Risks, practices, standards
"The forum is an informal platform for exchanging expert opinions and acquainting participants with the latest achievements in investigating cases of money laundering and terrorist financing," said the OSCE.
It also allows participants to discuss best practices and cross-border risks.
Participants discussed Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards and guidelines for virtual currencies and their regulation, which is especially important because of the growing risks of legalisation of drug income using electronic payment instruments, blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
Kyrgyzstan has seen growing activity by clandestine groups that finance international terrorist organisations, especially with stolen money, said GSFR chief Gulamzhan Anarbaev at the forum.
"This proves once again the fact that the financial footprint is almost always there," he said.
"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," Anarbaev said.
Working together against terror financing
The OSCE has been supporting Kyrgyzstan's fight against money laundering and terror financing since 2013.
"Following our mutual efforts, in 2014, the Kyrgyz Republic was removed from the FATF 'Grey List'," said Ambassador Pierre von Arx, head of the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek.
That achievement has "kept the country protected from international restrictions on the national financial industry and contributed to raising the ease of doing business in Kyrgyzstan", he said.