U.S. Partners with Lao Government to Combat Money Laundering

LUANG PRABANG, PAKSE, Lao PDR: Between June 13-20, 2018, the U.S. government collaborated with Lao partners to hold trainings on anti-money laundering in two different provinces in the Lao PDR.

The “Investigative Techniques Workshop on Prosecuting Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism” were held in in partnership with the Anti-Money Laundering Intelligence Office (AMLIO) of the Lao PDR and the U.S. Defense Institute for International Legal Studies (DIILS).

More than 80 Lao government officials from the capital of Vientiane and other provinces participated in the workshops in Luang Prabang from June 13-15, 2018 and in Pakse, Champasak Province from June 18-20, 2018. Participants included police officers, prosecutors, and other law-enforcement officials.

In her remarks to participants at the closing ceremony for the seminar in Pakse, U.S. Ambassador Rena Bitter said the goal of the law enforcement trainings is to support the Lao government in its efforts to develop into a stronger, more-prosperous country that continues to be a constructive and independent voice within ASEAN.

“As the Lao PDR continues to integrate into the ASEAN economic community, it will be those of you in this room who will ensure that Laos has the tools – a robust system of laws, regulations and highly trained law enforcement and legal experts – to ensure that your country and the people of the region remain safe from transnational criminal activity,” said Ambassador Bitter.

The workshop was conducted by four American law-enforcement trainers with decades of experience combatting criminal organizations. It covered investigating and prosecuting money laundering crimes, cryptocurrencies, casinos and financial crimes, and anti-corruption techniques.

U.S. Embassy Vientiane’s Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) partnered with the U.S. Department of Defense to organize the training. The U.S. Embassy and INL have been working with other embassies and international organizations such as the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime to support the Lao government’s efforts to improve their Anti-Money Launder and Countering Financing for Terrorism (AML/CFT) capabilities.

In 2020, Laos will undergo a progress assessment by the inter-governmental Financial Action Task Force.  The two trainings in Luang Prabang and Pakse will support AMLIO and the Lao government with their preparations for the 2020 assessment.