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Jan 10, 2012

International Governance and Risk Institute Training for Judiciary

While the FIU attempts to seal convictions in three current cases, an ongoing workshop at the Radisson is training members of the judiciary to properly enforce money laundering legislation and deter future incidents. The workshop is being held on the premise that with proper enforcement and stiff penalties in place, foreign investors will have more confidence spending their money in Belize while offenders will think twice before committing financial crimes. Kleo Papas, the Director of Operations for the International Governance and Risk Institute, is one of the coordinators. He spoke to News Five about what’s in store for the participants of the initiative, which is funded by the Foreign Commonwealth Office in the UK while being organized in conjunction with the American Bar Association.

Kleo Papas, Director of Operations, GovRisk

“It’s a workshop designed to give the judges, prosecutors and magistrates a better understanding of the intricacies of money laundering, specifically how to prosecute it and the various details that go with that because although Belize has got very robust legislation in place, unfortunately, it seems that enforcement and prosecution is where the weakness lies so that’s why we’re trying to augment that particular aspect.”

Delahnie Bain

Kleo Papas

“So how did this initiative come about?”

Kleo Papas

“Well this is phase two of a training program that began back in June, July again with Antoinette Moore and the Foreign Commonwealth Office in the UK, specifically the British High Commissioner based in Belmopan. And so this is an ongoing initiative. Also, I should mention of course Marilyn Williams, the head of the Financial Intelligence Unit; she has been absolutely key in this. Tomorrow is the last day of this particular workshop. It culminates in a day’s training specifically for the judges, so that’s very high level. Then on Thursday and Friday we begin a two day workshop again here with the private sector. We currently have all the banks registered, all the insurance companies registered and the credit unions registered. It’s just the attorneys that we’re still waiting on.”

Delahnie Bain

“And that workshop will be on the same topics?”

Kleo Papas

“Yes, it will but of course it will be viewed from their perspective. Obviously, the prosecutors are public sector and the guys we’re going to be doing on Thursday are private organizations; banks, insurance companies and shareholders and of course they have their own concerns on how to detect fraud, money laundering and any auxiliary financial crimes that are involved.  We have a UK expert; a top practitioner who is a certified ford examiner, she is a forensic financial investigator and trained lawyer so she has worked with police, she’s investigated financial crime, she has prosecuted financial crime. So she is very well placed to be able to play all those roles with all those stakeholders.”

Papas is encouraging private attorneys to sign up for the two day workshop later this week. He can be contacted at the Radisson and registration can be completed through the Bar Association of Belize.

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