Following up on the extensive assessment of the existing legal and institutional framework for asset recovery in Azerbaijan previously conducted by the Project, the Council of Europe organised a three-day scenario-based training course to enhance the capacities of 35 representatives of the Azerbaijani law enforcement, financial intelligence, judiciary and other relevant authorities in asset tracing, seizure, confiscation, and cooperation mechanisms on asset recovery.
The training course, offering a combination of theoretical knowledge and practical understanding, featured several key elements pertinent to different stages of asset recovery. These included the role of financial investigations in building an intelligence picture, the importance of full-fledged pre-seizure planning, evidential and procedural requirements for provisional measures of freezing, restraint or seizure of illegally acquired assets, application of criminal or non-conviction-based confiscation measures for recovery of criminal assets or instrumentalities, and the emerging concept of unexplained wealth. The training also covered cooperation mechanisms, particularly inter-agency cooperation at the national, regional and international levels, methods for securing channels for exchange of information, and formal requirements for seeking Mutual Legal Assistance at different stages of the asset recovery process.
In addition to the theoretical coverage, the Azerbaijani delegates were immersed in the simulated investigation of a case, requiring the analysis of a fictional suspicious transaction report as starting point. The analysis of the report allowed them to identify next steps to substantiate the grounds for suspecting the commission of the offence of money laundering. Based on their initial and progressive analysis, the participants were provided with gradual access to different types of documents and information, enabling them to develop a complex operational analysis and collate sufficient evidence for relevant provisional measures. They were divided into multi-agency groups for the exercise, with a view to encourage national cooperation in the fight against economic crime.
This training activity aimed to support the government’s efforts in achieving tangible results in the recovery of assets from criminal proceeds, thereby contributing to the enhancement of the effectiveness of anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism mechanisms, and better addressing the recommendations of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL).
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.