This week, the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) hosted a successful three-day workshop, congregating over 100 prosecutors, investigators, and financial-intelligence officers from the Middle East / North Africa Region. The workshop included case studies from the United States, Bahrain, and Morocco, involving the illegal use of virtual assets, terror finance leveraging cyberspace, trade-based money laundering, and sharing intelligence and evidence with foreign partners. Participants, who came from Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates, strengthened their regional and international cooperation through interactive workshops to discuss best ways to work together.
“This workshop underscores the United States’ commitment to working with our regional partners to tackle new threats in money laundering. It also underscores our strong security relationship with Bahrain to bring together regional partners to bolster collective security. I thank Bahrain for their unflagging support in this endeavor,” said Maggie Nardi, Chargé d’Affaires at the United States Embassy in Manama. Puneet Kakkar, Resident Legal Advisor to the Gulf Region, commented that “the Department of Justice’s OPDAT is pleased to work with our regional partners in strengthening capacities to tackle money laundering from every angle – from intelligence to prosecution – and confronting new threats, such as the illegal use of cryptocurrency and sophisticated trade-based money laundering. As we continue to address these issues on the front line, we welcome opportunities to work alongside our counterparts and to learn from each other.”
The Egmont Group’s Regional Representative for the Middle East and North Africa Shaikha May bint Mohammed Al Khalifa participated in the workshop and stressed the importance of such initiatives to discuss and review the most prominent new threats and challenges in the field of money laundering. She furthermore underscored the workshop’s contribution to raising the competence of security and judicial agencies to combat crimes committed in the countries of the region and to identify the best methods and practices to challenge them.