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Azerbaijani banks and investment companies learn about money laundering and terrorism financing risks related to virtual assets

Baku, Azerbaijan 6-7 December 2021
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Azerbaijani banks and investment companies learn about money laundering and terrorism financing risks related to virtual assets

In cooperation with the Financial Monitoring Service of Azerbaijan (FMS), the Council of Europe organised a two-day training course for 42 representatives of banks and investment companies, and FMS staff members, to introduce them to key concepts on virtual assets and virtual asset service providers, draw their attention to associated money laundering and terrorism financing threats and demonstrate ways to improve cyber security and mitigate such risks.

The training offered a combination of national and international interventions, presenting technical specifics of digital and virtual assets, basics of blockchain technologies, cryptocurrencies, wallets, tokens, as well as focusing on the international standards of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in relation to virtual assets and their implementation mechanisms for reporting entities, including red flag indicators related to virtual assets and virtual asset service providers. The training sessions allowed to reiterate the importance of a robust compliance programme, aiming to determine virtual asset risk exposures and take necessary regulatory enforcement actions.

Considering the fast-evolving sector of virtual assets, participants were equipped with knowledge and skills on how to detect suspicious transactions involving proceeds potentially illegally originating from online platforms and understand factors to consider while performing customer due diligence for transactions in virtual currencies. The training was enriched with illustrations from real cases on criminal use of virtual assets, which demonstrated certain control gaps and failures to capture necessary data, as well as measures needed to mitigate such risks. This initiative contributes to enhancing the government’s efforts to better respond to money laundering threats related to virtual assets.

This training event was organised within the framework of the project “Strengthening anti-money laundering and asset recovery in Azerbaijan”, funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe in their Partnership for Good Governance II.