On the 11 & 12 of September, representatives from several Cayman Islands agencies with stakes in financial investigation and international asset recovery participated in a Domestic and International Asset Recovery Workshop. The workshop, which was attended by representatives from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Financial Reporting Authority, RCIPS Financial Crime Investigation Unit, Joint Intelligence Unit, and Joint Crime Task Force, served to improve the agencies’ knowledge and capabilities around investigating and recovering assets involved in financial crime cases, especially in instances where international cooperation is necessary.
The workshop was led by International Asset Recovery Advisor, Jill Thomas, who has previously worked with agencies such as Europol. It was organized as part of government’s efforts to bolster the island’s financial investigation capabilities, in response to recommendations made in the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force’s most recent report.
The two day workshop centered around a case-based scenario which required the agencies to work together on an investigation into the assets of two defendants, where the assets had to be traced both domestically and internationally. One benefit of this approach was that the more experienced attendees were able to share their prior positive experiences and knowledge with the others. In addition, the attendees were able to identify and discuss gaps in Cayman’s asset recovery legislation and procedures, in order to identify temporary workarounds and priority areas for improvement.
Following the workshop, all of the participants stated that their knowledge had increased significantly as a result of having attended.
In addition, an international asset recovery manual was prepared on behalf of the jurisdiction, following on from the two day training, to ensure a streamlined approach by all agencies to such matters and that the recovery of the proceeds of crime, both domestically and internationally, is prioritized.
“The Financial Crimes Focus Group, as part of its mandate to ensure an efficient and effective approach to the recovery of the proceeds of crime organized a workshop lead by Mrs. Jill Thomas,” said Detective Chief Inspector Richard Barrow, who oversees the RCIPS Financial Crime Investigation Unit. “The workshop featured key members of various agencies and allowed for a multiagency approach to be taken to the recovery of the proceeds of crime. The participants all expressed their appreciation for the guidance provided and looked forward to using the skills learnt in their day to day activities.”
Cayman is also a member of the Asset Recovery Inter Agency Network for the Caribbean (ARIN-CARIB), a network of law enforcement and judicial practitioners in the field of asset tracing, freezing, seizure and confiscation, which has the goal of using these techniques to take the profit out of crime in the Caribbean.
Two representatives from Cayman attended the network’s Annual General Meeting earlier in September, prior to this local training.
Crown Counsel Garcia Kelly gave a presentation at the AGM in relation to the use of the network by the Cayman Islands in a large money laundering case, and Cayman was nominated as a member of the ARIN-CARIB steering group.
“The 3rd AGM of the ARIN-CARIB has been dubbed a success. It was an opportunity to recommit to the purpose of the Network and take a look at how far it has come since its inception. It was a beautiful experience and the opportunity to sit and discuss issues relevant to the region in the area of Asset Recovery was quite exquisite,” said Mr. Kelly.
“At the AGM I made a presentation in relation to the importance of the network. The presentation was geared towards looking at typologies within the region and examining how best to address what seems to be a growing trend. The presentation was well received and has been considered a success story in relation to the work of the ARIN-CARIB Network.”