Association of anti-money laundering specialists launches Eurasia chapter

By bne IntelIiNews June 23, 2021

An Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) Eurasia Chapter has been launched in a bid to curtail regional exposure to trade-based money laundering and other financial crimes.

The chapter has opened under a strategic partnership between ACAMS and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). ACAMS said the chapter will serve as an anti-financial crime platform for compliance professionals in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Ukraine.

ACAMS is a member of Adtalem Global Education (NYSE: ATGE), a workforce solutions provider headquartered in the US.

The ACAMS Eurasia Chapter is to serve as a platform for the sharing of AFC compliance knowledge and best practices tailored to address regional risks and regulatory concerns, as well as for networking and collaborative initiatives among professionals dedicated to fighting illicit finance in both private- and public-sector roles. Chapter board members in all seven countries will separately organize and host ACAMS training events in English, Russian and seven regional languages.

Research indicates many banks in the EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme have found it increasingly difficult in recent years to obtain trade-finance facilities from foreign commercial banks, due in part to AFC compliance hurdles and costs, ACAMS said.

“Our partnership with the EBRD over the last year has made one thing clear about compliance professionals in the region: they are eager to put in the hard work it takes to shield Eurasia’s institutions from money launderers and other illicit actors,” said ACAMS president and managing director Scott Liles. “It was this enthusiasm that led us to the next step of launching what is truly a one-of-kind addition to the ACAMS family, and we’re confident the Eurasia chapter will only grow in the months and years ahead as members see what can come of ongoing training and close collaborations in the AFC sector.”

“Strong compliance controls have become a requirement for access to foreign financing and correspondent banking relationships, that are critical to cross-border trade,” said Matteo Patrone, EBRD managing director, Eastern Europe & Caucasus.

“Our work to date with ACAMS has already resulted in significant strides toward mitigating Eurasian banks’ exposure to trade-based money laundering and other forms of illicit finance, and we are pleased to build on that progress by opening up compliance training to institutions throughout the region. The ACAMS Eurasia Chapter is an important step toward removing barriers and enhancing trade between economies where the EBRD operates,” he said.

The ACAMS Eurasia Chapter will be jointly overseen by board members based in Yerevan, Baku, Tbilisi, Nur-Sultan, Bishkek, Chisinau and Kyiv.

The creation of the chapter, which is co-located with board members in all seven nations, builds on a June 2020 agreement between the EBRD and ACAMS to train bankers in the EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme on compliance strategies for fighting money laundering, terrorism financing, sanctions evasion, fraud and other financial crimes.

Under the terms of the 2020 agreement, 70 compliance professionals at partnering banks in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova were given scholarships by ACAMS and the EBRD to study and obtain Certificated Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) certifications and broaden their anti-financial crime (AFC) skills and knowledge through training and in-person events. The EBRD scholarships were funded by the European Union (EU).

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