On 9-10 December 2021 the Economic Crime and Cooperation Division of the Council of Europe organised a regional conference on Improving regulatory and procedural frameworks on financial investigations in Central Asia, within the framework of the project “Promoting Transparency and Action against Economic Crime (CA TAEC)” of the Central Asia Rule of Law Programme.
The event took place in hybrid format in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic and brought together practitioners from prosecutor’s offices and financial intelligence units of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Council of Europe experts presented the results and conclusions of the comparative study on legislative frameworks of each of participating countries and an overview of common trends and challenges identified for the Central Asian region, as well as identified a way forward for follow-up capacity building activities on regional and country-specific levels with reference to Council of Europe standards and international good practices.
The representatives of the participating authorities presented national practices on financial investigations and identified achievements and developments in this field, as well as opportunities for improvement, which can be addressed within the framework of the technical assistance provided by the project. They also actively participated in the practical exercise, which included working in multinational groups on illustrative cases prepared by Council of Europe experts. Working on case studies created an opportunity for networking and sharing of experience, practices and approaches among both in person and online participants.
The conclusions of the conference were used for the finalisation of the comparative study and namely for the formulation of targeted recommendations to improve the efficiency of financial investigations, covering the following fields: establishing concrete procedures for carrying out parallel financial investigations; giving considerations towards conviction based and non-conviction based confiscations; establishing a central financial investigation and asset recovery unit aiming for better use of limited resources; establishing an asset management department or agency for preservation of seized assets pending confiscation, repatriation or return with the necessary legal powers; increasing the understanding of money laundering among investigators including creating and using of typologies research findings from the region, where available; improving the mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.
The country profiles developed as a result of this assessment will be used for subsequent training activities (both on regional and/or country level) in view of enhancing institutional capacities in conducting financial investigations in line with international standards and improving inter-institutional cooperation and sharing of information.
The activity was organised in the framework of the project “Promoting Transparency and Action against Economic Crime” within the Central Asia Rule of Law Programme 2020-2023, which is a joint initiative co-funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe. The project is aimed at strengthening capacities to fight and prevent economic crime in five Central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.