The Financial Monitoring Department's entry this year was a case study focusing on the theft and subsequent legalization of material assets by companies representing the road construction industry. The wrongdoing was uncovered jointly by the Financial Monitoring Department and the Financial Investigation Department of the State Control Committee.
According to investigation findings, the activities of the criminal group were coordinated by two Belarusian nationals, who, acting as ringleaders, oversaw the disposal of stolen construction materials, their transportation and search for potential customers. The criminal group had operated for three years. To maximize profits, the group colluded with officials from various road construction companies responsible for accounting, storage and writing off of construction materials.
The criminal scheme boiled down to the following. Officials at state-owned enterprises wrote off bitumen and crushed stone at standard rates during the manufacture of asphalt-concrete mixture. The surplus materials, generated as a result of the rate of their actual usage being lower than the specified standard rate, were not recorded.
Subsequently, these officials issued fake consignment notes for the delivery, carried out on paper only, of surplus construction materials (in the volume of unrecorded surpluses accumulated at these SOEs) to the SOEs from numerous shell companies and individual entrepreneurs affiliated with the scheme organizers.
After receiving fake documents from shell companies, SOEs transferred embezzled funds to the shell companies' accounts for subsequent withdrawal and use in business activities.
SOE officials, through the abuse of their official position, stole material assets (bitumen and crushed stone) and embezzled funds totalling approx. US$ 250,000.
Eight members of the criminal group were handed down prison sentences of up to ten years with confiscation of property and deprivation of the right to occupy posts associated with the maintenance and use of material assets. One gang member was also convicted under Article 235 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus "Laundering of the proceeds of crime".
Notably, since 2012, the Financial Monitoring Department of the State Control Committee has regularly received prizes for its entries in the Egmont Group's best case study contest.
As for the winner of the current competition, the top prize went to Israeli FIU's case study into diamond trade-related money laundering.
The Egmont Group is an informal network of national financial intelligence units (FIUs). A list of its members currently includes 151 FIUs. The main goal of the Egmont Group is to support national anti-money laundering programmes by promoting financial intelligence sharing, conducting personnel trainings and facilitating the development of communication channels through the use of new technologies (the Group uses a proprietary secure communication system for the exchange of information between FIUs). The Financial Monitoring Department of the State Control Committee of Belarus (FMD) has been a full member of the Egmont Group since 2007.