Counselor Ahmed Saeed Khalil, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Unit against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, confirmed that the crimes of illegal trade in cultural property and works of art are closely linked to money laundering and terrorist financing crimes, noting that Egypt has taken very strong measures to combat this type of crime. Crimes and the fight against them, as these are crimes that lead to the destruction of cultural heritage and the illegal trade in cultural property.
This took place during the opening of the regional conference on “Anti-money laundering and terrorist financing in investigations into arts and antiquities crimes” from within the National Civilization Museum, in the presence of the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Dr. The Middle East and North Africa, the United Nations, the European Union, and the leaders of the Central Bank and the banking sector.
Counselor Ahmed Saeed Khalil stressed that addressing this type of crime requires extensive coordination and cooperation at national, regional and global levels, given that the crimes of illegal trade in cultural property and works of art are closely related to money laundering and terrorist financing crimes. as criminals and terrorists use new methods of money laundering, proceeds of their crimes as well as fundraising used in terrorist operations.
He said: “Egypt’s presentation of this conference comes in response to the ongoing development of the mechanisms used to commit arts and antiquities crimes, and in view of Egypt’s unique great cultural heritage, which makes it a wealth of archeological monuments left behind due to the succession of civilizations through various historical eras, beginning with ancient Egyptian antiquities, passing through antiquities. ” Greco-Roman, Coptic, Islamic and ending with antiquities of the modern era.
He added, “Egypt has always been sought after by committing smuggling and illegal trade in cultural property, so the Egyptian state realizes that confronting such crimes is not an easy matter, but rather requires intense cooperation.”
He continued, “With the digital development facing the world, and the development of crime to be unrestricted by geographical constraints or boundaries, the process of combating cultural property crimes has an important and complex issue in the The complexity is attributed to the high degree of professionalism that criminals follow in the implementation of their plans, and the mechanisms used to conceal the proceeds of these crimes.
He pointed out that Egypt was eager to confront this problem, as it had taken many measures, whether with regard to the control of these crimes, their investigation, the prosecution of their transgressors, or the recovery of artifacts or the proceeds which generated from it, explaining that over the course of 7 years, Egypt was able to recover 29,000 artifacts. , in cooperation with the competent authorities in various countries such as Austria, Denmark, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, France, Italy, Switzerland, England, Cyprus, Jordan, Germany and the United States.
He pointed out that the Egyptian unit against money laundering and terrorist financing, through permanent coordination with all national authorities, works to monitor the proceeds of these crimes and their transnational flows, as it collects and receives financial information related to alleged cases. comply with the financing of these crimes by the reporting authorities and the relevant authorities. Analyze and share it.
He stressed that there is permanent co-operation between the unit and financial intelligence units worldwide, through his membership in the (Egmont) group of financial intelligence units, as well as the signing of memoranda of understanding with peers in order to exchange intelligence information with to facilitate those. units.
Counselor Ahmed Saeed Khalil stressed that the fight against crimes of cultural property and works of art is the responsibility of all parties, which requires effective coordination and cooperation at local level between all relevant agencies, including supervisory authorities, law enforcement agencies, the financial investigation unit, investigative authorities, the judiciary. authorities and other Entities contributing to the taking of all necessary measures to prosecute offenders and restore cultural and artistic property.
The head of the unit against money laundering and terrorist financing called for the strengthening of cooperation at international level by relying on international instruments that regulate this field; The head of them is the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and Security Council Resolutions in the field of cultural heritage protection in situations of armed conflict, which emphasizes the importance of having the sincere intention of countries plundering cultural and artistic property is transferred or established. in the field of responding to requests for cooperation in a way that contributes to combating the risks of transferring such properties from one country to another, and thus the difficulty of gaining access to them.
Counselor Ahmed Saeed Khalil expressed his confidence that the conference will help to reach practical plans and recommendations that support the effective response to these crimes, as well as to maximize mutual benefit from the experiences of the participating countries.
Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Dr. Khaled El-Anani, in turn, stressed that the Egyptian state places the file of antiquities and civilization at the top of its priorities in building the “new republic”, pointing out that what is spent on the file of antiquities, restoration activities and new projects, are unprecedented in the history of Egypt.
He explained that this state-of-the-art interest in the field of antiquities was positively reflected by the opening of many projects to restore Pharaonic, Greek, Roman, Jewish, Coptic and Islamic antiquities, palaces and museums, as well as the worldwide anticipation for the opening of the Great Egyptian Museum in the near future.
He pointed out that the crime of illegal trade in cultural property is one of the most important challenges facing Egypt, like all countries with ancient civilizations, in addition to the fact that this crime opens the door to a crime associated with it. related to money laundering, citing the validity of what was reported by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the crime market brings in billions of dollars annually through illegal activities by organized crime gangs and groups, and is considered ‘ a “cross-border” crime.
He added that the funds obtained from this crime are used in the crime of money laundering and other financial crimes, which the Security Council mentioned to be aware of this criminal phenomenon, especially as terrorist groups and entities obtain financial income from this crime . based on the looting and theft of archaeological sites The use of the funds raised to promote and support its terrorist activities and operations.
He pointed out that Egypt’s 2014 constitution reflects the state’s interest in antiquities and its heritage, as it emphasizes that Egypt’s heritage is a national wealth and the state’s commitment to protect it and what has been seized from it, to recover. Whoever is proven to have committed crimes. of possession, theft, destruction or disposal of antiquities without permission.
He said that Egypt had signed international agreements and treaties, as well as bilateral agreements with a large number of countries in the world, in the field of protection and restoration of Egyptian antiquities that had come out illegally, and noted that during the past few years to retrieve thousands of artifacts from different countries of the world. .
In this regard, dr. Khaled El-Anany praised the level of great cooperation with the European Union countries, which led to the restoration of Egyptian antiquities from Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Cyprus and the United Kingdom , in addition to the United States and a number of Arab countries and Middle Eastern countries such as Lebanon. Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait.
The Minister of Tourism and Antiquities expressed his gratitude and appreciation to all countries eager to cooperate with Egypt in the field of antiquities recovery, as it is a heritage of mankind as a whole, and stressed that antiquities not to be sold or placed in person palaces, but rather their natural place in museums to allow and preserve culture and heritage for all generations This is for all mankind.
He stressed that Egypt was also making a major effort to stop the smuggling of antiquities from other countries to the Egyptian borders, noting that Egypt was handing over those antiquities that had thwarted the Egyptian security services in celebrations for the ambassadors of those countries.
The Minister of Tourism announced the organization of an international conference next September, which will be dedicated to the protection of world cultural heritage, by emphasizing a package of international measures that will disrupt illegal trade chains and protect cultural property.
In turn, the Ambassador of the European Union in Cairo, Christian Berger, confirmed that thousands of antiquities are being stolen daily, pointing out that these pieces that have a cultural, civilization and heritage dimension that can be stolen cannot be replaced.
He pointed out that the European Union countries, which are among the countries of origin or crossing of these antiquities, make relentless efforts to combat and confront antiquity theft, especially as the illegal trade in antiquities and art and cultural objects of robbed of their antiquities. and heritage.
He pointed out that armed conflicts and conflicts around the world represent one of the biggest reasons for the theft and trade in antiquities, referring to what was true of Iraq and Syria, adding that he recently visited the Baghdad Museum in the Iraqi capital visited for works and artifacts. which was recovered.
The Ambassador of the European Union stressed that the Museum of Egyptian Civilization is an ideal place to host a series of international conferences in different regions of the world, which are concerned with addressing the theft of works of art and antiquities, and note notes that the European Commission is proposing an action plan for consultation and effective action to combat these crimes.
He called for the participation of the financial sectors, and greater cooperation between the public and private sectors, as well as non-governmental organizations, in the international confrontation with the crimes of trafficking in antiquities and theft and the addressing of these phenomena, and noted that this conference is one of 4 conferences aimed at raising awareness and international awareness of the danger of this type of crime related to theft, looting and smuggling of various artifacts.
The Ambassador of the European Union praised the efforts by Counselor Ahmed Saeed Khalil, Head of the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Unit, in holding the conference, as well as his support for regional efforts to confront and combat money laundering and terrorist financing. misdade.