MINSK, 13 March (BelTA) – For the fourth time the Financial Monitoring Department of the State Control Committee of Belarus has become a laureate of the best case contest arranged by the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units. The Egmont Group is an informal association of financial intelligence agencies from all over the world, BelTA learned from Andrei Borichevsky, Head of the Coordination and International Cooperation Office at the Financial Monitoring Department, on 13 March.
At present the Egmont Group includes financial intelligence agencies of 151 nations. The association is focused on supporting national efforts to combat money laundering by expanding the exchange of financial information, improving personnel qualifications, and fostering the development of communication channels using new technologies. The Egmont Group is also intent on working out methods for automating the detection of previously detected crimes.
Cases with a court ruling can be submitted for the best case contest of the Egmont Group. The applications have to demonstrate the difficulties the national intelligence unit (FIU) ran into during the investigation, the sources of information the FIU used, and interaction with other law enforcement agencies.
This year the Financial Monitoring Department of the State Control Committee of Belarus has submitted for the contest a case involving the theft and consequent legalization of material assets at road construction enterprises. The crime was detected through joint efforts of the Financial Monitoring Department and the Financial Investigations Department of the State Control Committee of Belarus.
Two Belarusian citizens were identified as masterminds behind the operation staged to steal, transport, and sell construction materials. The criminal group included executives of road construction enterprises in charge of recordkeeping, storing, and decommissioning construction materials. The criminal group operated for three years. In essence as part of the process to make bitumen-concrete mixture for road construction substandard amounts of components were used while the paperwork indicated the standard consumption of the components. Later on bogus companies were used to sell the materials stolen from the owners — state-run road construction companies — to the owners themselves. The earnings were cashed out or used for business operations.
As part of the criminal operation about $250,000 worth of construction materials was stolen. Eight members of the criminal group were sentenced to prison terms starting at ten years. Their property was confiscated and they were banned from jobs that require the handling of material assets. One member of the criminal group was convicted of money laundering.
The Financial Monitoring Department of the State Control Committee of Belarus has been a member of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units since 2007. The Financial Monitoring Department has taken part in the best case contests since 2012. This year's contest involved financial intelligence units from 40 countries. The Israeli financial intelligence agency won the contest for a case that involved a diamond trade money laundering operation.