A workshop on “Adequate use and protection of financial intelligence” aimed at the Southern Cone sub-region took place in Asuncion, Paraguay between 6 and 8 June. The GAFILAT-EU Project funded the participation of three persons of each one of the three countries in the sub-region (Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay), with the invitation being open to all the GAFILAT membership and participants from another five countries (Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Panamá), in addition to the representatives from the host country. The event was organised jointly with SEPRELAD Paraguay.
The main objective of the workshop was to offer a capacity-building and debate forum to enhance the powers of the Financial Intelligence Units (FIU), prosecutors and judges that manage financial intelligence and financial information, emphasizing the importance of disseminating to investigative authorities. The work was focused on the correct use of information, which led to the exchange of experiences among the participating countries.
Participants included prosecutors specialized in organized and economic crime, heads of FIU, the GAFILAT Executive Secretariat, Compliance Officers and representatives from the Banking Association of Paraguay, with a total of 72 participants.
The first day of the workshop had the participation of representatives of the private sector, which primarily discussed on the importance of the quality of Suspicious Transaction Reports (STR). For such a purpose, the relevant international standards were analysed, along with the role of reporting entities regarding STRs, the importance of feedback and cooperation between public authorities and the private sector regarding quality of STRs. Likewise, the challenges and barriers faced by the securities and cooperative entity sectors were especially discussed.
The second day was a closed-door session aimed at prosecutors and FIU officers, whose discussion focused on the production and dissemination of financial intelligence reports, with an emphasis on the importance of their quality and the safeguard of confidentiality both at the dissemination and investigation stages.
Furthermore, the recent trends on multilateral exchange of information and joint work between different FIUs were explained, through the presentation made by the Chairman of the Egmont Group of FIUs.
The last day was based on case studies, in order to foster dialogue on the use and safeguard of financial intelligence information by the Prosecutor’s Office and the Judiciary, with presentations made by national authorities. Additionally, FIU authorities presented the roles of their officers in the investigations and judicial procedures.