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Cablegate: Assessment of Nfiu for Egmont Group Admission

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RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #2902/01 3091611
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 051611Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7696
INFO RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 5451
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 002902

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE PASS TO USTR FOR C. HAMILTON
TREASURY FOR LUKAS KOHLER/DAN PETERS
USDOC FOR 3317/ITA/OA/KBURRESS
USDOC FOR 3130/USFC/OIO/ANESA/DHARRIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EFIN ECON ASEC KCRM PTER NI
SUBJECT: ASSESSMENT OF NFIU FOR EGMONT GROUP ADMISSION


1. (U) Summary: A representative from the U.S. Treasury's Financial
Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) unit conducted a positive
assessment of Nigeria's Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) for
membership in the Egmont Group at the next plenary session for 2007.
The assessment went well and the USG along with the Bahamas and
Mauritius will sponsor NFIU membership in the Egmont Group.
Nigerian officials are open to more engagement and training from the
USG. End Summary.

Egmont Group
------------

2. (U) The Egmont Group is an informal grouping of FIU's that
cooperate in information exchange, training, and sharing of
expertise in anti-money laundering and combating the financing of
terrorism (AML/CFT). Its goal is to provide a forum for FIU's
around the world to fight money laundering, terrorist financing and
other financial crimes. For the NFIU to join the group it must
undergo an assessment by a supporting or sponsoring FIU.

Where Does Nigeria Stand?
-------------------------

3. (U) FINCEN belongs to the Egmont Group and is one of the NFIU's
sponsors along with the Bahamas FIU and the Mauritius FIU. From
October 16-19, Jerry Crawford, financial analyst at FINCEN,
conducted an assessment of Nigeria's Financial Intelligence Unit
(NFIU) for membership in the Egmont Group at the next plenary
session for 2007. Nigeria had already passed the initial assessment
which consisted of having money laundering and terrorism financing
legislation in place and enforceable, an operational FIU,
willingness to join the Egmont Group and the possibility of
exchanging information with other FIU's.

4. (SBU) Crawford completed an assessment after meeting private
banks, financial institutions and Government of Nigeria (GON)
regulatory agencies. Crawford's analysis found that the NFIU had
done a considerable amount of work in educating these institutions
on compliance and reporting in the areas of AML/CFT. An assessment
was also done of the NFIU to determine their capacity in the area of
AML/CFT. This consisted of discussions with key staff, a review and
critique of their organizational structure and work flow, as well as
a physical inspection of their facilities.

Next Steps
----------

5. (SBU) FINCEN will submit a report by mid November to the Egmont
Group's Outreach Working Group (OWG). The OWG will review and make
a recommendation to the Legal Working Group (LWG). The LWG makes
the final assessment to ensure that the NFIU's fulfills and meets
the requirements for Egmont admission. Some of the requirements are
that the FIU be fully operational, is legally capable and willing to
cooperate on information exchange, and has a sponsoring Egmont FIU,
all of which the NFIU satisfies. If the NFIU is admitted it will be
announced at the next plenary session of the Egmont Group in March
2007. Crawford opined that the assessment went very well and he did
not see any reason why the NFIU would not be admitted. The only
area of concern could be denial for political reasons, which would
have nothing to do with NFIU's ability to investigate and prosecute
AML/CFT cases.

NFIU - Positive Progress
------------------------

6. (SBU) COMMENT: The benefits from membership are enormous for
Nigeria and would enhance the NFIU's law enforcement efforts
globally by providing them another source of foreign intelligence
that may be critical to their investigations. During this
assessment we were able to see remarkable results in the NFIU from
FINCEN training. The NFIU has done a good job in training the local
banking and financial institutions on how to recognize and report
suspicious transactions. This is in conjunction with legislation
passed for AML/CTF as well as Central Bank regulations. Since 2005
the NFIU have had over 80 convictions, because of FINCEN training.
The NFIU have and continue to be very appreciative of FINCEN and is
interested in additional training in the areas of typologies and
methodologies. This would include developing their analytical
skills as well as on the ground mentoring of NFIU staff to better
evaluate cases. There are also a number of government organizations
that have expressed a willingness to take advantage of FINCEN's
training, including the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the
Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Nigeria Deposit
Insurance Commission. In this area, Nigerians are eager for
dialogue and U.S. agencies interested should build on this openness.

ABUJA 00002902 002 OF 002


END COMMENT.

CAMPBELL

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