OPDAT’s Algeria/North Africa Counterterrorism Program, established in 2013, focuses on anti-money laundering and combatting the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) and supports bilateral and regional efforts to strengthen capacity to combat financial crimes, money laundering, terrorist financing, and other acts of terrorism. OPDAT works directly with the Algerian Ministry of Justice (MOJ) to provide technical assistance and skills development to prosecutors, judges, and other members of Algeria’s criminal justice system and with Algeria’s Financial Intelligence Processing Unit (CTFR) on building capacity to analyze suspicious activity reports, refer appropriate cases to law enforcement, and seize funds. OPDAT assisted Algeria achieve removal from the FATF’s black and gray lists, and continues to provide assistance on foreign terrorist fighters, drug trafficking, cyber security, and legislative frameworks.
OPDAT’s Intermittent Legal Advisor (ILA) program in Egypt began in 2016 with the aim of working with Egyptian counterparts on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) in alignment with the Global Counterterrorism Forum’s (GCTF) Rabat Memorandum on Good Practices for Effective Counterterrorism Practice in the Criminal Justice Sector. In Egypt, OPDAT focuses primarily on establishing contacts and modalities for cooperation on counterterrorism-related matters, developing a fair and efficient justice sector for terrorism cases, and increasing capacity for anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing. Since the program’s inauguration, the ILA has made important progress toward developing a working relationship with Egyptian counterparts in counterterrorism-related areas. Egypt is a strategic partner of the U.S. Government on counterterrorism matters, and with this new position at Post, the ILA is laying the groundwork for increased substantive engagement between the United States and Egypt with regard to counterterrorism and the rule of law. This engagement may include workshops on topics such as investigation of terrorism crimes, investigations of terrorism involving explosives, and the use of technology in presenting terrorism cases.
In 2015, OPDAT established the Morocco/North Africa Counterterrorism Program at the U.S. Embassy in Rabat with support and funding from the Department of State, Counterterrorism Bureau. Through this program, OPDAT provides technical assistance on Moroccan statutes; laws relating to counter-terrorism, money laundering, and terrorist financing; and compliance with the Rabat Memorandum on Good Practices for Effective Counterterrorism Practice in the Criminal Justice Sector. The program also seeks to strengthen the ability of regional investigators, prosecutors, and judges to investigate and prosecute terrorism and other transnational crimes such as money laundering. OPDAT also works with the relevant authorities to develop the capacity to receive, evaluate, and respond to requests from foreign law enforcement authorities in partner nations for cooperation including extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) requests.
Kuwait and the Gulf Region
The OPDAT program in Kuwait began in 2015 and supports development of prosecutorial and judicial skills, particularly in the areas of anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT). The program coordinates assistance activities in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, sharing responsibility with the RLA in UAE for capacity-building efforts in Bahrain, Oman, and Yemen. OPDAT also implements programs to assist the host government in investigating and prosecuting criminal acts that support terrorist activities. Although Kuwait has made considerable progress regarding AML/CFT and organized crime, OPDAT is working closely with Kuwaiti counterparts to better combat terrorism-related crimes. OPDAT assists with capacity-building in the Kuwaiti government so it can implement and enforce its AML/CFT regulations. The capacity-building program focuses on the Kuwait Financial Investigation Unit (KwFIU), Ministry of Justice, Public Prosecutor’s Office (PPO), Judicial Training Institute, and law enforcement agencies. OPDAT brings various legal entities’ experience and subject matter experts from the U.S. to assist Kuwait in achieving a higher performance levels.
United Arab Emirates and the Gulf Region
The OPDAT program in the United Arab Emirates supports development of prosecutorial and judicial skills, particularly in the areas of anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT), with direct responsibility for assistance activities in Jordan, Qatar, and the UAE, as well as shared responsibility with the RLA in Kuwait for Bahrain, Oman, and Yemen. The program is based in the Abu Dhabi and implements programs to assist the governments of the region to investigate and prosecute acts that support terrorist activities, as well as weapons proliferation and export control violations. Although the countries in the Gulf Region have made considerable progress enacting legislative and regulatory measures consistent with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations for AML/CTF programs, there is still work to be done. OPDAT helps Gulf countries build the capacity to implement and enforce their AML/CTF programs through tailored assistance for Financial Investigation Units, Ministries of Justice, courts, Offices of Public Prosecution, Judicial Training Institutes, and customs authorities. Topics addressed include shell companies, organized crime, cyber-crime, money laundering, terrorism financing, corruption, and asset forfeiture. In support of robust export control regimes, OPDAT also provides programs to help our regional partners prevent proliferators from acquiring strategic and dual-use goods.
The OPDAT program in Turkey began in 2006 to support the following: (1) implementation of the Rabat Memorandum’s Good Practices as key tools for investigation and prosecution of terrorist crimes within a rule of law framework; (2) increased capacity of investigators, prosecutors, and judges to apply existing laws with understanding of international obligations relating to counterterrorism and money laundering; and (3) development of structures for mutual cooperation to combat terrorism, money laundering, and cross-border crimes. OPDAT works closely with U.S. law enforcement and Turkish counterparts to coordinate counterterrorism efforts and share intelligence information. Currently, various legislative and philosophical obstacles prevent the Turkish police from sharing potentially important information with U.S. institutions. OPDAT’s long-term goal is to assist Turkish law enforcement and prosecutors to create specialized terrorism task force units. OPDAT has worked with Turkey to draft legislation on criminalizing terrorist financing and freezing terrorist assets, and has begun work with the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) to develop codes of conduct for its judges and prosecutors, as well as mechanisms for enforcing the codes.