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Round Table on Financial Profiling in Money Laundering Investigations
 
On October 25, 2006 the Center for the Study of Democracy held a round table discussion on Financial Profiling in Money Laundering Investigations. The event was organized with the support of US Department of Justice with guest speakers Mr. Thomas Otts, Acting Deputy Chief, Organized Crime and Racketeering Section, US Department of Justice, Mr. Michael Dixon, FBI investigating officer.

The guest speakers presented their experience in fighting money-laundering and discussed the actions that were undertaken for combating organized crime in general. Among the issues discussed was cooperation among law enforcement bodies in the fight against the so called shell companies. In addition to the enforcement of the law, there is also a need for policy makers to ensure that regulations do not allow loopholes for the misuse of such companies. Hundreds of companies are being created in the U.S. in order to avoid taxes, for fraud and for money laundering. The USA can serve as an example for good cooperation between various institutions: the Internal Revenue Service, FBI, the Treasury Department, the Department of Justice, prosecutors.

The U.S. Treasury Department has achieved some success in persuading commercial banks to cooperate with the law-enforcement agencies. Some banks already provide account records to the law enforcement agencies.

The discussion focused on the need for anti-money laundering measures to go beyond the national level since organized crime is a truly transnational phenomenon, a closer cooperation between the various national intelligence services is needed. The the participants discussed some specific cases where information on accounts has been shared among countries thus facilitating investigation and prosecution. In fact, in Bulgaria, often large scale investigations are prompted by foreign partner law enforcement agencies.

The use of Suspicion Activity Reports in conjunction with other government and private institutions was also discussed. In this respect the cooperation of other businesses in the sector where the investigated company operates is of utmost significance.

One of the most hotly debated issues in the field of money laundering investigations – the balance between civil and criminal proceedings – was also debated at the round table.
 
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