Anti-Fraud Anti-Smuggling Task Force Meeting

BUCHAREST,  April 15th – SECI Center and RILO ECE (Regional Intelligence Liaison Office for Eastern and Central Europe) became officially partners after the signing of a Letter of Intent, during the 10th Meeting, held in Ohrid, MK.

During the two-days meeting, the representatives of the SECI Center member countries approved the operational plans for four regional operations to be held under the Center’s and member countries’ coordination in a year time. 

This meeting is a huge investment for the forthcoming transformation of SECI Center into SELEC. It proves our determination to tackle all kind of fraud and smuggling activities and highlights our constant presence at the borders or inland, wherever threats appear”, Petros Petroff, deputy Director and Head of Operational Support Department stated. 

The Letter of Intent signed between SECI Center and RILO ECE will enable a closer cooperation of the organization’s analytical teams in processing and drafting the regional reports on certain operations. “The signing is just sealing our long time working relationship. We have set now the form of cooperation and identified the common interest of our member countries which is our main concern”, Agnieszka Butrym-Bielatko, the Head of RILO ECE declared. 

Participants from the national agencies and administrations having roles in countering illegal activities, such as smuggling of goods, whether counterfeit or not, as well as customs frauds, adopted four operational plans to be implemented in the region within the framework of Anti-Fraud Anti-Smuggling Task Force, proving one more time that “SECI Center is reaching the peak of its operational performance”, as Petros Petroff declared. He also assured the participant that “in the spirit of continuity, the regional operational will be carried out, even if SECI Center is moving towards an improved form of cooperation, the future SELEC – Southeast European Law Enforcement Center”. 

The importance of regional operations was highlighted also by Marjan Tasevski, Head of Intelligence Department of MK Customs Administration, representing the host country: “Such approach provides an opportunity for regular cooperation and flow of information in real time which will enable customs and police services with bigger efficiency in the daily operations”.

Besides the member countries, the meeting was attended by observers to SECI Center, such as EUBAM, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain and Great Britain. Europol was also present.

The Anti-Fraud Anti-Smuggling Task Force  is coordinated by Albania and Croatia and was established in 2003.

The SECI Regional Center for Combating Trans-border Crime, headquartered in Bucharest, Romania, was launched in 2000, and is a unique operational organization in which police and customs liaison officers from 13 member states (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey) work together in direct cooperation, coordinate joint investigations and facilitate information exchange.  

Besides the member countries, there are 22 observers, countries and organizations: Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, CARICC, Czech Republic, EUBAM, France, Georgia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia, Ukraine, UNODC, UNDP Romania, the United Kingdom, UNMIK, and the United States of America.

Italy and the United States maintain permanent representation at the SECI Center, and Interpol and the World Customs Organization are permanent (non-resident) advisors to the SECI Center.SECI Center has the observer status to the Conference of the Parties to the UNCTOC, CARICC and IOM.