Dominican Republic: Partnering to Counter Financial Crime
     

In May and June 2015, the U.S. Embassy Santo Domingo partnered with the Office of the Attorney General of the Dominican Republic to deliver a comprehensive Training-of-Trainers Program to instructors from more than five Dominican justice, law enforcement and financial sector training institutions. The program was held at the National School of the Attorney General in Santo Domingo and replicated in the country’s second largest city, Santiago. Participants included the Director of the Financial Analysis Unit of the Attorney General, members of the judiciary, customs officials, banking regulators and representatives of civil society. 

The Training-of-Trainers partnership aims to orient instructors in the techniques utilized in the investigation, prosecution and adjudication of financial crimes, to introduce new teaching methods, and to increase inter-agency cooperation among participating institutions from the judiciary, law enforcement and the financial sector. Emphasizing a whole-of-government approach to counter the cross-cutting nature of organized criminal enterprise, the program seeks to create conditions for the design and implementation of practical tools to improve data collection and analysis, risk profiling, and the effective response to irregular activities.

"We know that organized crime has different manifestations including money laundering, drug trafficking, and kidnapping, among others… [Money laundering] is essential to organized crime, as a mechanism to protect criminal enterprise. It is a powerful force, taking place everywhere and transcending borders," said Gladys Esther Sanchez Richiez, Director General of the National School of the Attorney General (ENMP) in the opening of the activity.

Gervasia Valenzuela, Director General of the National Judicial School, said the Program helps the school contribute to the sound administration of justice, affording judges and prosecutors the opportunity to optimize their work, and to better meet the needs of citizens.

The General Coordinator of Participacion Cuidadania, Mr. Candido Mercedes, welcomed the initiative of the Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), to create space for civil society in the efforts to counter organized crime. "I consider it extremely important that civil society is present, as it is important to make known the nature and effects of money laundering," he said.

The course was conducted by Marko Magdic, a lawyer and educator with more 14 years in law enforcement and international cooperation in countering organized crime, with the support of NCSC Principal Court Management Consultant, Alicia Davis. The participants evaluated the course favorably and committed to continued collaboration and advancement of efforts to counter financial crime in the country. Future coursework and follow-up activities are foreseen.

The training was made possible through the support of the INL, under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), through a regional justice sector assistance program implemented by the National Center for State Courts.  A link to the program website is available here