A “practical guide” that tracks Morocco’s efforts to combat money laundering and terrorist financing

Before the “Enhanced Follow-up Team” experts from the “Financial Action Task Force” come to the Kingdom of Morocco for an expected visit in mid-January 2023, the Moroccan financial authorities are betting on getting Morocco out of the crisis. “grey or negative lists” for money laundering and terrorist financing, the Presidency of the Public Prosecutor’s Office took the initiative, in cooperation with the two main administrations for national security and surveillance of the national territory and the Royal Gendarmerie Command, issued a “Practical Guide to Research and Investigative Techniques” in this type of crime.

The 136-page, medium-sized practical guide was launched on Friday in the presence of the heads of the State Attorney’s Office and the State Financial Information Authority, as well as a group of judicial, security and economic officials. All bodies and sectors, after Morocco hosted a general meeting of the Financial Action Task Force for the Middle East and North Africa last November.

Purpose and context

According to the authors of the guide, its goals are “to complete the procedures for the adoption of relevant international standards and recommendations, in particular the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force regarding the management of preliminary research, the collection of evidence funds and the initiation of further actions”, while “responding to the remarks contained in the Report on to the mutual assessment for the Kingdom of Morocco issued by the Financial Action Task Force for the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA FATF), which relate to the lack of guidelines regarding the procedures to combat this crime and to monitor and confiscate the funds obtained from it.

And while the context of the publication of the guide is related to the “implementation of the provisions of the action plan for Morocco approved by the Financial Action Task Force (GAFI) in relation to strengthening the effectiveness of the national system to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, with the aim of getting out of the negative regulations of the said group ”, also represents “a practitioner’s guide and a foundation that includes Basic Principles of Research and Investigation for Junior Judicial Police Officers and State Attorney Judges.

Transparency of the financial system

The presentation of the guide, a copy of which was obtained by Hespress, began with the words that “transparency and integrity of the state financial system is considered an essential entry point to support the competitiveness of the economic system, the correctness of financial transactions and equal opportunities to access the market, as well as the prevention of illegal actions and the prevention of criminals to take advantage of the proceeds of crime and to use them for financing.” Serious criminal acts, on top of which are terrorist crimes,” adding: “Given the real threat that money laundering and terrorist financing crimes pose to security and the economy, and their reliance on advanced means and methods to hide the characteristics of crime, criminal justice agencies are in turn called to raise In terms of their effect, either at the level of methods and techniques adopted in research, investigation and evidence gathering, or at the level of monitoring, confiscation and confiscation of funds in order to dry up the sources of criminal financing.

The document emphasizes the importance of “integration and coordination of efforts and the adoption of visible techniques provided by law in the field of criminal investigation, as well as the use of supervisory and supervisory bodies, subjects and all parties that have rich databases that can support criminal investigation”, recalling the key role of data The National Financial Intelligence Authority, the main partners of the criminal justice agencies, in the detection of money laundering and terrorist financing crimes and the collection of related financial information.

In addition to the appropriate legal framework, the guide comes, according to the statements of its authors, with the aim of “developing mechanisms and working methods, either at the level of vigilance or setting indicators of suspicion”, in order to respond to new challenges. of financial crime, drawing attention to “legal amendments in connection with the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing, the last of which is Law no. 12.18, along with the issuance of a number of regulatory texts, journals and circulars with guidelines for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of supervision and criminal justice agencies.

Nominative axes

With a “general introduction” that paves the way to its content and the legal (international and national) and conceptual frameworks associated with these crimes, the practical guide included a short list of “Decoding Acronyms”, before a two-chapter overview of “Criminal Research and Investigation Techniques money laundering and financing of terrorism”, then “Procedures of international cooperation in finding, confiscating, freezing and confiscating property benefits obtained from criminal offences.

The first chapter is divided into two prominent axes; The first of them is entitled “Starting point of research and investigation”, while the second deals with “the role of parallel financial research in the transition from the predicate crime to the crime of money laundering and the disclosure of crimes of terrorist financing”.

As for the second part of the document, it provides an overview of the “procedures and mechanisms of international judicial cooperation” through “subpoena, extradition and formal prosecution”, referring to “the mechanisms of international security cooperation approved by the National Security Services and the Royal Gendarmerie” and concluding with “ with the cooperation of financial intelligence units”.

It is worth noting that the methodology for creating the guide adopted a “participatory approach” based on comparative studies. With a table that takes into account the phases of research and the standards of the Financial Action Task Force, emphasizing “without going into the details of classical research procedures, and combining legal, practical and operational sides.”

It is significant that the continuation of the “grey list” prevents Morocco from obtaining a new loan from the International Monetary Fund. This was previously expressed by the head of the Fund’s mission at the last press conference he organized in Rabat, after the consultation with the authorities.

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