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Bulgaria hosts discussion on coutering terrorism

Date: 09.10.2005

Representatives of financial intelligence units of 47 countries gathered in Bulgaria to discuss the working processes frameworks in investigations of financial terrorism and of individuals dealing with terrorist activity.

This is the first time that Bulgaria hosts a meeting of the Egmont Group of financial intelligence units (FIU) that includes over a hundred financial offices from all over the world.

The group's main goal is to provide an environment for FIUs to discuss and cooperate on their anti-money laundering programs by increasing and organizing the exchange of financial intelligence expertise and information. The focus of the group is money laundering but their role in combating the terrorism is increasing.

Sofia has gathered representatives from the EU countries, Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, Japan, Indonesia, Peru, Russia and the US.

Cooperation between services is vital in this line of work, experts claim and one of the topics on the agenda of this meeting is the possibility to sanction financial intelligence services that refuse to cooperate.

Bulgaria's finance intelligence agency and the Guatemala and Peru services are planning to sign a memorandum for cooperation and information exchange.

There are no immediate treats for Bulgaria's security, according to analyses by national intelligence services, Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev announced, following Tuesday's meeting of the Security Council of the Council of Ministers.

The council decided to offer concrete strategic measures for potential risk prevention by December as a result of the analyses discussed, Stanishev added.

The asymmetrical treats that international terrorism poses have acutely grown, however, Stanishev explained, and that constitutes the major treat for each country. Organized crimes, drug trafficking and money laundering have grown too.

The Egmont Group was created in June 1995, when government agencies and international organizations met at the Egmont-Arenberg Palace in Brussels to discuss money laundering and ways to face this worldwide problem.

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