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09 August 2022, 19:48

Belarus to share best practices in combating abuse of non-profit organizations with CIS countries

MINSK, 9 August (BelTA) – Belarus' State Control Committee will study the best practices of the CIS countries in the field of combating the abuse of non-profit organizations, Vyacheslav Reut, director of the Financial Monitoring Department of the State Control Committee, told reporters during the seminar "Risk Assessment of Non-Profit Organizations Sector", BelTA has learned.

The seminar "Risk Assessment of the Non-Profit Organizations Sector" is running in Minsk from 9 to 11 August. It brought together representatives of state bodies, financial monitoring bodies, member states of the CIS Council of Heads of Financial Intelligence Units (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan), and also representatives of non-profit organizations. The event was organized by the International Educational and Methodological Center for Financial Monitoring.

According to Vyacheslav Reut, Belarus already has a certain negative experience of 2020, when non-profit organizations were involved in illegal activities. "There is a need to develop new approaches to exclude the possibility of a repetition of such events. The most important thing is to ensure that our non-profit organizations perform exactly the functions for which they are intended," Vyacheslav Reut said. “This problem is commonplace in the world, and our meeting today is aimed at sharing our experience in solving these problems. Each country has its own specifics. This primarily applies to religious associations, new ways and methods of conducting illegal activities. Belarus has faced them too (for example, planted fake information)."

When asked by journalists about the creation of a separate authority to monitor NPOs, Vyacheslav Reut explained that it is difficult to set up such a single watchdog in Belarus due to the specifics of non-profit organizations. “Such organizations include even condominiums. We cannot say that the risks of illegal activities are the same in all areas. We will soon have to conduct a national risk assessment study in this field and develop solutions that will allow us to optimize control functions while law-abiding organizations will be able to carry on their work,” he said.

The purpose of the three-day seminar is to exchange the best practices on combating the abuse of NGOs. The financial watchdogs of the countries that make part of the Council of Heads of the Financial Intelligence Units of the CIS will discuss issues that arise while implementing international standards in combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

According to Olga Tisen, head of the legal department of the Federal Financial Monitoring Service of the Russian Federation (Rosfinmonitoring), the risks of foreign political forces involving NPOs in destructive processes keep increasing in the CIS. “Today, with foreign political forces being particularly active in involving non-profit organizations in various destructive activities, the problem of countering this phenomenon remains particularly relevant. Belarus and Russia have similar ways to prevent misuse of NPOs for involvement in extremism and terrorism. We are currently holding a number of joint activities to build a common line of combating the involvement of NPOs in illegal activities,” Olga Tisen said.

Terrorism financing through non-profit organizations is a worldwide problem. The Belarusian anti-money laundering system pays great attention to the operation of the nonprofit organization (NPO) sector in terms of countering the use of these organizations for terrorist financing purposes. For this purpose, the NPO sector will be reviewed in order to identify organizations with a low risk of being involved in such activities and to focus on the organizations which are most at risk of such abuse. The risk assessment will be conducted with the participation of government bodies and representatives of NPOs. Given the scale of work, training events will be held for both the competent authorities and the NPOs.

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