The Director of the National Police of Colombia, General Jorge Hernando Nieto Rojas, and Europol Deputy Director Wil van Gemert met last week in The Hague on the occasion of the 2016 European Police Chiefs Convention (EPCC).
The two officials signed an agreement for Colombia to join Europol’s Focal Point1 SUSTRANS, which targets organised crime networks involved in money laundering.
The formal membership to Focal Point SUSTRANS entails greater engagement for Colombia, which is now in a position to support all of the Focal Point’s members2, especially through the exchange of criminal information and via operational interactions. This will allow for a significant increase in the ability to identify, investigate and prosecute perpetrators of money laundering activities.
Colombia’s formal membership to the Focal Point acknowledges the excellent work that Focal Point SUSTRANS has been conducting over the years, and recognises the significant operational benefits that come from taking part in an environment of trust, accountability and reciprocity.
The association of Colombia will prove to be beneficial for the overall activities of this Anti-Money Laundering European Project, more specifically since:
- Colombia can provide key information, operational and strategic support to Europe given their geographic location and the traditional links between European organised crime groups and their Colombian counterparts – especially on the money laundering activities of major international cocaine trafficking cartels;
- Additional opportunities to support Focal Point SUSTRANS and all of the members are also available through the extensive Colombian international network of Liaison Officers, especially in Latin America countries;
Europol’s Focal Point Sustrans was opened in 2001 and is currently one of the oldest and widest Focal Points at Europol. It provides support to EU Member States’ cross-border investigations into the money laundering activities of transnational criminal organisations. This has been done through the establishment of a pan-European platform to integrate, process and analyse all types of dedicated financial data (ongoing investigations, suspicious transaction reports, cash seizures, international transfers, etc.).
1 A Focal Point is an area within an information processing system offered by Europol which focuses on a certain phenomenon from a commodity based, thematic or regional angle e.g. trafficking in human beings, facilitation of irregular migration, drug trafficking etc. It allows Europol to provide analysis, prioritise resources, ensure purpose limitation and maintain focus on expertise.
2 The 28 Member States: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom;
And also Australia, Iceland, Switzerland, Eurojust, USA – IRS, USA –ICE, Moldova.