U.S. Embassy Partners with the Philippine Judicial Academy to Train Judges on Financial Crimes

Western District of North Carolina Chief U.S. District Court Judge Frank Whitney delivers a presentation on financial crimes and money laundering to Regional Trial Court Judges in Cebu City.
Western District of North Carolina Chief U.S. District Court Judge Frank Whitney delivers a presentation on financial crimes and money laundering to Regional Trial Court Judges in Cebu City.

Cebu City, August 9, 2018 — The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, through the U.S. Department of Justice (U.S. DOJ) Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance, and Training (OPDAT), and the Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA) trained 28 Regional Trial Court judges on money laundering and financial crimes from August 7-8 in Cebu City.

OPDAT and PHILJA have jointly conducted 25 trainings for judges on financial crime over the last three years.  “Increasing cross border financial crime awareness is critical because these cases are complex and must be handled efficiently and well when they arise,” said Commercial and Family Court Judge Rowena San Pedro, a speaker at the conference.

Western District of North Carolina Chief U.S. District Court Judge Frank Whitney taught the Cebu-based judges international best practices on handling complex financial crimes cases.  Whitney is the co-author of “Federal Money Laundering: Crimes and Forfeitures,” one of the first resources published on the topic.  This is his third visit to the Philippines to deliver money laundering training.  U.S. Embassy Resident Legal Advisor David Bragdon taught participants about fraud schemes and asset management.

Philippine experts from the Securities and Exchange Commission, Anti-Money Laundering Council, and Court of Appeals discussed Philippine law, investigative techniques, and inter-agency cooperation in handling financial crimes.  Court of Appeals Associate Justice Apolinario D. Bruselas, Jr. taught rules of procedure involving financial crimes.  To conclude the training, judges examined complex hypothetical financial crimes cases to determine how they would handle motions to dismiss, procedural issues, and substantive questions on such cases.

From August 28-30, OPDAT and DOJ Philippines will conduct a training on “Effective Investigation and Prosecution of Terrorism Cases” in Zamboanga City for prosecutors and law enforcement officers from around Mindanao.  Trainers will include a U.S. prosecutor from the U.S. DOJ National Security Division in Washington, D.C. and a cybercrime analyst from the U.S. DOJ Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section.