Countries/Jurisdictions of Primary Concern - Cote d'Ivoire

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Report

Following a civil war and a nine-year political/military crisis during which the country was effectively split in two, a new government was formed on May 6, 2011. Ivoirians continue to be involved in regional criminal activities, such as the smuggling of consumer goods and agricultural products, and in the subsequent laundering of the proceeds. Smuggling over Cote d’Ivoire’s porous borders, motivated in part by a desire to avoid duties or taxes or to sell goods at a higher profit, generates illicit funds that are primarily laundered via informal value transfer systems, such as money service businesses or exchange houses, and via mobile telephone payments or transfers.

There are growing concerns about the increase in cybertheft through online commercial transactions. In addition, Ivoirian authorities believe criminal enterprises use the formal banking system, as well as the used car and real estate industries, to launder funds. Hezbollah is present in Cote d’Ivoire and conducts fund-raising activities, mostly among the large Lebanese expatriate community in the country. The potential use of Ivoirian territory as a transshipment point for drugs from South America to Europe concerns law enforcement officials.

Cote d’Ivoire remains under sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council stemming from the civil war and political/military crisis period. Those sanctions include an arms embargo and a ban on the importation of rough diamonds from Cote d’Ivoire. Additionally, several officials of the former regime are subject to targeted financial sanctions by the United States, the UK, and the EU. The government is working toward the goal of having the international sanctions lifted in 2014. The country was found Kimberly Process compliant in November 2013. It has completed major financial and economic reforms.

For additional information focusing on terrorist financing, please refer to the Department of State’s Country Reports on Terrorism, which can be found at: http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/

DO FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ENGAGE IN CURRENCY TRANSACTIONS RELATED TO INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS TRAFFICKING THAT INCLUDE SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF US CURRENCY; CURRENCY DERIVED FROM ILLEGAL SALES IN THE U.S.; OR ILLEGAL DRUG SALES THAT OTHERWISE SIGNIFICANTLY AFFECT THE U.S.: NO

CRIMINALIZATION OF MONEY LAUNDERING:
“All serious crimes” approach or “list” approach to predicate crimes: All serious crimes
Are legal persons covered: criminally: YES civilly: YES

KNOW-YOUR-CUSTOMER (KYC) RULES:
Enhanced due diligence procedures for PEPs: Foreign: YES Domestic: YES
KYC covered entities: Banks, post offices, deposit and consignment offices, microfinance institutions, chartered manual exchangers, insurance and reinsurance companies and brokers, regional stock exchanges, the Central Depository of Holder Instruments/Bank of International Settlements, management and brokerage firms, asset management companies, undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities, and fixed capital investment companies

REPORTING REQUIREMENTS:
Number of STRs received and time frame: 69 in 2013
Number of CTRs received and time frame: Not available
STR covered entities: Banks, exchange houses, stock brokerage firms, post offices, deposit and consignment offices, microfinance institutions, insurance and reinsurance companies and brokers, regional stock exchanges, the Central Depository of Holder Instruments/Bank of International Settlements, management and brokerage firms, asset management companies, undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities, fixed capital investment companies, the public treasury, the Central Bank of West African States, business contributors to financial institutions, auditors, dealers in high-value items, cash couriers, casinos, the national lottery, non-governmental organizations, travel agencies, attorneys, and real estate agents

MONEY LAUNDERING CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS/CONVICTIONS:
Prosecutions: 2 in 2013
Convictions: 1 in 2013

RECORDS EXCHANGE MECHANISM:
With U.S.: MLAT: NO Other mechanism: YES
With other governments/jurisdictions: YES

Cote d’Ivoire is a member of the Inter Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), a FATF-style regional body. Its most recent mutual evaluation can be found at: http://web.giaba.org/reports/mutual-evaluation/Cote%20d'Ivoire.html

ENFORCEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES AND COMMENTS:

The current Government of Cote d’Ivoire has demonstrated its commitment to continue building and implementing an effective AML/CFT regime. Efforts to fight money laundering and terrorism financing include: implementation of national legal provisions; AML/CFT-related capacity building of banks, insurance companies, notaries, judges, and lawyers; and the reinforcement of regional and international AML/CFT cooperation with countries such as France, Morocco, Ghana, Cape Verde, and Sierra Leone. Further, Cote d’Ivoire leads the network of financial intelligence unit (FIUs) within the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) in an initiative to coordinate institutional reforms and to improve efforts to fight financial crime and terrorism financing.

The Government of Cote d’Ivoire has established an inter-ministerial committee to ensure AML/CFT cooperation and coordination at the national level, and has adopted the WAEMU uniform community law criminalizing money laundering. The implementation of the WAEMU community laws remains incomplete, however. The Appendix to Cote d’Ivoire’s AML law relating to specific obligations of financial institutions regarding customers’ financial operations has yet to be formally adopted. Insider trading and the manipulation of financial markets are not covered as predicate offenses to money laundering under Cote d’Ivoire’s AML law, and the country does not yet have the legal or institutional structures necessary to implement its obligations under UNSCRs 1267 and 1373.

Cote d’Ivoire’s banking sector caters largely to commercial enterprises rather than small account holders. Many Ivoirians use informal cash couriers, money and value transfer services (MVTS), hawaladars, and, increasingly, goods transportation companies to transfer funds domestically and within the region. There is no regulation of domestic MVTS. Cote d’Ivoire’s FIU, the National Financial Information Processing Unit, can share information with other FIUs in the WAEMU, as well as with those of non-WAEMU countries on a reciprocal basis and with the permission of the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

The economic police are responsible for investigating financial and white collar crimes but have limited capacity as a result of inadequate resources and training. Since the end of the 2010-2011 post-electoral crisis, the government has reestablished civilian authority throughout the country, but judicial and security capability remains weak and allegations of corruption persist.

Cote d’Ivoire criminalizes terrorism financing through ordinance 2009-367 of November 12, 2009. This ordinance aims to deter terrorism financing by seizure or confiscation of funds and assets related to terrorism financing, and through the freezing of funds and other financial resources of terrorists. No cases of terrorism financing were reported for the past year. On June 18, 2013, a draft bill on the repression of terrorist activities was submitted to the Ivoirian Council of Ministers for approval, but it had not been approved as of late 2013. A new customs code under development by the Ministry of Finance is projected to include provisions related to money laundering and terrorism financing.

While significant progress has been made, the Government of Cote d’Ivoire should continue to strengthen its rule of law institutions, including its AML/CFT legal framework, and its law enforcement and judicial capacities. Specifically, the government should amend the AML law to cover all predicate offenses to money laundering included in the international standards, criminalize terrorist financing in line with international standards, finalize the necessary decree to implement Cote d’Ivoire’s obligations under UNSCRs 1267 and 1373, and provide additional guidance and training to reporting entities and judges, such that financial crimes may be more easily and consistently detected, prosecuted, and punished.