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Cablegate: Turkmenistan Considers National Anti-Money

VZCZCXRO8237
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHLZ
RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAH #0317/01 0671029
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 071029Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0400
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 3477
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1295
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1162
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 1731
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 2295

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASHGABAT 000317

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, EEB, INL
TREASURY FOR BAKER/LANIER
USAID/W FOR EE/AA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL EFIN EAID SNAR RS TX
SUBJECT: TURKMENISTAN CONSIDERS NATIONAL ANTI-MONEY
LAUNDERING PROGRAM AT WORKSHOP

1. (U) Sensitive but unclassified. Not for public Internet.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY: At a World Bank-sponsored anti-money
laundering workshop, international and regional experts
focused on the need for innovation, information technology,
annual reviews, and international contact networks in
discussing how to create financial intelligence units. At
the close of the seminar, the representative from
Turkmenistan's Central Bank stated that Turkmenistan needs to
join the Eurasian Group, a regional anti-money laundering
organization, as a full member. From all appearances, from
level of attendance to the fact that key government figures
gathered right after the conclusion of the workshop to
continue discussing their next actions, Turkmenistan's
government is ready to work seriously on anti-money
laundering. If Turkmenistan joins the Eurasian Group as a
full member, this would be yet another significant move
towards greater involvement with the world community. END
SUMMARY.

3. (SBU) In coordination with the Central Bank of
Turkmenistan (CBT), the World Bank (WB) organized a workshop
on Anti-Money Laundering and Financial Intelligence Units in
Ashgabat March 4-5. The event was widely attended by
representatives from most of Turkmenistan's law enforcement,
justice, financial and monetary agencies, including the
Parliament, President's Office (Department on Law
Coordination), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Central Bank,
Ministry of Finance, Ministry of National Security, Ministry
of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Justice, General
Prosecutor's Office, State Counternarcotics Service, State
Tax Inspection Service, State Customs Service, State Border
Service, Supreme Audit Chamber, State Statistics Committee,
Institute for Strategic Planning and Economic Development,
Supreme Council on Science and Technology, Academy of
Sciences, Supreme Court, State Insurance Company, State Fund
for Precious Metals and Stones, Ministry of Social Welfare
(Department of Investments and Pension Contribution
Management). Representatives from the International Monetary
Fund (IMF), UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC),
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE),
and the Eurasian Group also participated.

4. (SBU) Chair of the workshop and Head of the CBT's
Supervision Department Halmurad Orazov opened the meeting by
acknowledging Turkmenistan's entrance as an observer into the
Eurasian Group, a regional anti-money laundering organization
established in 2004 under the initiative of the Russian
Federation. He emphasized the importance of consulting with
the world community in establishing a financial intelligence
unit in Turkmenistan. Orazov said that a parliamentary task
force is currently working on adopting an
anti-money-laundering law.

5. (SBU) Throughout the workshop, many of the experts
stressed that a discussion of this topic did not mean that
anyone was criticizing Turkmenistan's financial industry. In
addition, speakers emphasized a thorough review process on an
annual basis is healthy and necessary to keep up with
innovative criminals who will find new ways of laundering
money through technology and other means. They also
emphasized the need to build an international network of
contacts, because money laundering activities are
transnational. Stanislav Smolyar of the Russian Federal
Financial Monitoring Service and the Eurasian Group's Working
Group on Technical Assistance also urged Turkmenistan to use
information technology to fight money laundering and offered
the EAG's assistance with that task. The IMF's Giuseppe
Lombardo reported that the IMF had worked closely with the
Government of Turkmenistan on two drafts of the anti-money

ASHGABAT 00000317 002 OF 002


laundering law that the Parliament is currently considering.
Noting a decree that President Berdimuhamedov issued in
December 2007 which prohibits anonymous (or numbered)
accounts, Lombardo said that Turkmenistan has shown that it
is serious about combating money laundering and offered
further IMF assistance.

6. (SBU) In his closing remarks, Orazov called for
Turkmenistan to join the Eurasian Group as a full member. He
noted the need for capacity building and acknowledged that
Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and other countries offered
assistance. The World Bank/UNODC's Global Anti-Money
Laundering Program Mentor, Cari Votava, agreed with Orazov
that it is time for Turkmenistan to join the Eurasian Group
as a full member, adding that she had initiated this
discussion with the Central Bank in September, and had
pressed for it as recently as March 3. She suggested that
next steps for Turkmenistan should include adoption of an
anti-money laundering law authorizing establishment of a
financial intelligence unit and reviewing other laws
(criminal procedure code, and laws on banking, customs,
insurance, securities, casinos, investment, etc.) for
potential conflicts.

7. (SBU) COMMENT: Votava noted participation by Turkmen
officials at this anti-money laundering conference was the
best she's seen in Central Asia over the past three years and
took this as a sign of the seriousness that Turkmenistan
attaches to this problem. This is not surprising, given both
Turkmenistan's increased interest over the last year in
participating in a growing number of regional organizations
and its traditional focus on maintaining order and security.
One minute after the workshop ended, key Turkmen officials
gathered at a table to continue internal discussions. As
Orazov mentioned in his closing remarks, "This (workshop) is
just the first step." END COMMENT.
HOAGLAND

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