US embassy cable - 02TEGUCIGALPA2569

HONDURAS: MONEY LAUNDERING IMPLEMENTATION GETS OFF TO A GOOD START

Identifier: 02TEGUCIGALPA2569
Wikileaks: View 02TEGUCIGALPA2569 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Tegucigalpa
Created: 2002-09-12 15:28:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: EFIN EAID HO
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS TEGUCIGALPA 002569 
 
SIPDIS 
 
PLEASE PASS TO TREASURY - OFFICE OF TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EFIN, EAID, HO 
SUBJECT: HONDURAS: MONEY LAUNDERING IMPLEMENTATION GETS OFF 
TO A GOOD START 
 
REF:  TEGUCIGALPA 725 
 
1.  Summary.  Three Treasury consultants held a seminar on 
money laundering and financial crimes from August 24-26 for 
40 judges, prosecutors, police investigators, Banking 
Commission officials and bank compliance officers.  The 
seminar was well received by the Honduran participants and 
the Treasury consultants commented that there is good 
cooperation among the different GOH entities responsible for 
enforcement of the law.  The Financial Information Unit is 
up and running and investigating 25 cases of suspected money 
laundering.  One of these cases is being prepared for 
prosecution.  End summary. 
 
2.  From August 24-26, three consultants (Jim Parrott, 
Ronald Cleaver and Gary Kruchten) from the Department of 
Treasury's Office of Technical Assistance held a seminar in 
Tegucigalpa on money laundering and financial crimes for 40 
judges, prosecutors, police investigators, Banking 
Commission officials and bank compliance officers.  The 
Treasury consultants commented that they were impressed with 
the quality of the questions raised and the level of 
interest among the participants.  The seminar was the third 
money laundering technical assistance visit by Parrott to 
support the GOH as it implements its strengthened money 
laundering legislation (reftel).  In April, Parrot reviewed 
the law that had been adopted by the National Congress and 
met with Banking Commission officials, prosecutors, the 
Supreme Court and the banking association to do a technical 
assistance needs assessment.  He returned with an attorney 
from NAS Guatemala to provide an overview of the operations 
of an FIU and spent time with prosecutors and Banking 
Commission officials reviewing draft implementing 
regulations. 
 
3.  Treasury is currently planning a trip (tentatively 
programmed for November) for Financial Information Unit 
(FIU) officials and the prosecutor assigned to the FIU to 
visit a successful FIU in Latin America (possibly Colombia). 
Treasury is also talking with FINCEN about arranging for a 
computer expert to travel to Tegucigalpa to advise Honduran 
FIU officials on organizing and upgrading their computer 
system.  Embassy hopes to continue to use Treasury 
consultants to provide training to GOH authorities (banking 
officials, prosecutors, judges, police) on money laundering, 
financial crimes and investigative techniques and envisions 
a one to two-year technical assistance program, provided 
funding is available. 
 
4.  The FIU is up and running and currently investigating 25 
cases of suspected money laundering.  One of the cases is 
being prepared for prosecution.  The FIU consists of five 
officials, including three analysts and one full-time 
prosecutor.  Both the prosecutors and Banking Commission 
officials commented on the constructive working relationship 
within the FIU. 
 
5.  Of concern to the Treasury consultants was the physical 
security of the FIU.  There is currently uncontrolled access 
to the computer systems and sensitive banking information, 
compromising not only the security of the FIU but also 
hindering information sharing among regional FIU's and 
FINCEN.  Banking Commission President Ana Cristina de 
Pereira agreed to take measures to improve the FIU's 
physical security.  However, budget restrictions (the 
Banking Commission's 2002 budget did not include money for 
upgrades to the FIU) may limit what the Banking Commission 
can do in the short-term to upgrade security.  Pereira 
remarked that she would request money in the Commission's 
2003 budget for a comprehensive FIU security upgrade. 
 
6.  Post would like to thank Treasury for its extremely 
timely and helpful support in ensuring implementation of the 
GOH's strengthened money laundering legislation. 
 
Pierce 

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