Interview: Anti-money laundering experts open Riga bureau

November 8 saw the opening in Riga of a pan-Baltic office (or "chapter" to use the official designation of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS), an organization dedicated to improving the fight against illicit flows of cash - a problem that over the last decade has been a constant problem within the Latvian banking sector.

LSM sat down with Australian-born, Paris-based Rick McDonell, currently the executive director for ACAMS, who has many years of direct experience in the field, giving him a unique global perspective on anti-money laundering and financial crime challenges. 

Rick McDonell of ACAMS on fighting money launderingMike Collier/LSM

    He is also a part time Adjunct Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University in the USA, is an advisor to SIGA, the Sports Integrity Global Alliance and is a member of the Advisory Board of a public private partnership led by HSBC aimed at improving mechanisms for information sharing between governments and the private sector. 

    Rick McDonell, of ACAMS

    Rick was also the Executive Secretary of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) from 2007 until 2016. Under his leadership, FATF revised its standards to include the assessment of effectiveness and developed a new standardized country assessment methodology and the FATF Global Network expanded to nine FATF-style regional bodies comprising a total of 198 jurisdictions.

    Prior to that he worked for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime where he was Chief of the U.N. Global Program on Money Laundering. Previously, he established the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering and became its first Executive Secretary.  

    He is a lawyer by training and has had extensive experience as a federal prosecutor and in conducting complex investigations, including being in charge of many multidisciplinary investigation task forces into organised crime cases both nationally and internationally. This was his first visit to Latvia.

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