SEC Conducts Major Anti-Money Laundering Program for Latin America and the Caribbean
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C., Dec. 13, 2007 — The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that it has completed a major anti-money laundering program held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The program was hosted by the Superintendencia de Valores de la Dominican Republic, and co-sponsored by the SEC and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The three-day program from Dec. 3 to Dec. 5, 2007, was designed to share best practices and form partnerships among regulatory and law enforcement officials, as well as compliance officers and other industry professionals. The program was attended by 150 participants from 18 Latin American and Caribbean countries.
The program featured intensive training on effective AML compliance programs, customer identification, monitoring for suspicious activity, examining securities market participants for AML compliance, best practices for coordination between regulators and law enforcement authorities, tracing and restraining proceeds of fraud, and appropriate penalties for AML violations. The Conference sessions were led by three SEC staff with expertise in AML related topics, a director of Merrill Lynch’s Global Monetary and Financial Control Group, and public and private sector experts from the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and other participating jurisdictions.
Haivanjoe Ng Cortiņas, Superintendent of Securities of the Dominican Republic, said, “The Superintendencia is proud to have provided a forum where delegates from both the public and private sector came together to share best practices and future strategies for a regulatory system that will both maximize capital development and ensure that the securities markets are not a source of finance for fraud or terror. This exceptional program was characterized by intense interest of the delegates and was an example of how the public and private sector can work together to address common problems and goals. There is tremendous economic benefit available to our region from a deepening of our securities markets. The regulators and law enforcement authorities can foster economic growth by working with all involved to maintain a regulatory system that instills confidence, transparency, and has the necessary tools and techniques to address the market abuses that were discussed so thoroughly during this program.”
“The SEC has two key interests in anti-money laundering efforts,” said Rose Romero, who anchored the SEC’s participation in the event and is Regional Director for the SEC’s Fort Worth Regional Office. “First, the SEC is responsible for ensuring that industry participants comply with their anti-money laundering obligations through our AML examination program and, where necessary, our enforcement program. Second, as a law enforcement agency fighting securities fraud, the SEC is a consumer of financial intelligence. Securities fraud is a predicate offense to money laundering and we are seeing an increased law enforcement focus on those who facilitate the secreting away of illegal proceeds of securities fraud. The effectiveness of regulators and law enforcement authorities around the world relies substantially on the industry’s ability to recognize and report suspicious activity, as well as the ability of regulators and law enforcement to access and share quality financial intelligence on a real time basis. This Conference formed partnerships and bonds that will endure and help protect the securities markets in the U.S. and across the region.”
Ethiopis Tafara, Director of the SEC’s Office of International Affairs which designs and administers the Commission’s technical assistance program, added, “The SEC will work relentlessly with our partners around the world to build a formidable shield to protect the securities markets from money laundering. Our efforts are founded in a philosophy of collective security for securities regulators, whereby we view a threat to the integrity of foreign markets as a threat to our own. The globalization of markets demands no less. In this connection, I want to thank the Superintendencia de la Valores for being such a gracious host for this important event and for taking a leadership role in bringing together so many key persons from the public and private sectors.”
The SEC’s technical assistance program provides bilateral and regional training on enforcement techniques, conducting examinations of market participants, corporate disclosure, corporate governance, market development, anti-money laundering, and other topics designed to strengthen the capacity and cooperation of all securities markets for the benefit of investors.
For more information on SEC’s technical assistance program contact Dr. Robert M. Fisher or Z. Scott Birdwell at the Office of International Affairs at 202-551-6690, or by email at OIA@SEC.gov.