Seminar on cryptocurrencies in Astana

Gulnara Fakhrudinova, IRZ; Cai Rüffer, Public Prosecutor General's Office Frankfurt; Karin Schreitter-Skvortsov, Public Prosecutor’s Office Dresden; Peter Jentsch, State Office of Criminal Investigation in Saxony (from left to right)
Gulnara Fakhrudinova, IRZ; Cai Rüffer, Public Prosecutor General's Office Frankfurt; Karin Schreitter-Skvortsov, Public Prosecutor’s Office Dresden; Peter Jentsch, State Office of Criminal Investigation in Saxony (from left to right)

In partnership with the Law Academy for further education at the Public Prosecutor General's Office in the Republic of Kazakhstan, the IRZ organised a seminar on “The legalisation of criminal proceeds from electronic money and virtual currencies”, held on 26 and 27 March 2018.

The event was attended by representatives of state law enforcement agencies and the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Kazakhstan, as well as representatives from the blockchain and cryptocurrency association of Kazakhstan. The IRZ, supported by an institutional grant from the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, was represented by three German experts in the field. The German Embassy in Astana was represented by the liaison officer for the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), Bärbel Engerer.

The main focus of the first day of the event was on “The application of blockchain technology”. The seminar was opened with a presentation of various virtual currencies and money transfer systems. The legal regulations for cryptocurrency markets and the risks and security loopholes were also covered. Peter Jentsch, a member of the 31/1 (Internet Investigations) department at the State Office of Criminal Investigation in Saxony, presented the basics of blockchain technology and the use of mixing services. Cai Rüffer, a public prosecutor at the German Centre for Combating Cyber Crime (GenStA Frankfurt), gave a lecture on the use of blockchains during investigations in dark net cases and on the cooperation between law enforcement agencies and companies offering bitcoin transactions.

The second day of the event was devoted to the topic “The investigation of offences in connection with the money laundering of criminal proceeds”. German experiences in the repayment of stolen assets and the legalisation of criminal proceeds were outlined by Karin Schreitter-Skvortsov, a manager and public prosecutor at the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Dresden. During her second lecture, she talked about the problems involved in investigating money laundering in connection with virtual currencies. Cai Rüffer presented some examples of investigations into the illegal use of virtual currencies.

The expert lectures were met with great interest by participants. This was reflected in the many questions and extensive discussions. A follow-up event has been requested by the Kazakh partners. This will look into the available options for investigating criminal offences, which have been committed using cryptocurrencies.

7th international conference on criminal proceedings in Ak Bulak near Almaty

Petra Bertelsmeier, a former Senior Public Prosecutor at the Public Prosecutor General's Office in Frankfurt; Helene Philippsen, IRZ Project Manager; Ingrid Haussmann, a judge at the Higher Regional Court of Munich (from left to right)
Petra Bertelsmeier, a former Senior Public Prosecutor at the Public Prosecutor General's Office in Frankfurt; Helene Philippsen, IRZ Project Manager; Ingrid Haussmann, a judge at the Higher Regional Court of Munich (from left to right)

The IRZ has been involved in the annual International Conference on Criminal Proceedings in Ak Bulak near Almaty since 2013. The theme of this year's conference is "Implementing constitutional standards to guarantee efficient criminal proceedings". The conference took place on 1 and 2 March 2018 in cooperation between the IRZ and the Constitutional Council, the Public Prosecutor General's Office and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The main focus was on

  • improving judicial monitoring in pre-trial procedures,
  • modernising case law and
  • the new role of public prosecutors in the criminal procedure of the Republic of Kazakhstan against the background of the constitutional reform that has taken place.

The IRZ, supported by an institutional grant from the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, was represented by lectures from two German experts. Petra Bertelsmeier, a former Senior Public Prosecutor at the Public Prosecutor General's Office in Frankfurt, gave a lecture on the duties of the public prosecutor's office in criminal investigations and on the role of the public prosecutor in criminal proceedings. Ingrid Haussmann, a judge at the Higher Regional Court of Munich, informed the audience about the powers of the court of law in pre-trial procedures. In an additional contribution, she presented the accelerated procedure in Germany.

High-ranking Kazakh representatives from the following institutions took part in the conference:

  • President's office,
  • Constitutional Council,
  • Public Prosecutor General's Office,
  • Supreme Court,
  • Parliament,
  • Ministries of Justice, Internal Affairs and Finance,
  • Collegium of Lawyers and
  • Universities.

Also in attendance were the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Kazakhstan, Rolf Mafael, and the Head of the OSCE Programme Office in Astana, György Szabo.

The participants showed a great deal of interest in the German legal system. The role of public prosecutors in the investigation process was discussed particularly intensively.

To conclude, following further reforms of the code of criminal procedure for the Republic of Kazakhstan, the decision-making process for optimising and applying the new legal standards shall be continued.

The Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan on a working visit to discuss the code on administrative offences

Aziz Imangaliyev, Yerkin Baltabayev, Bayan Parmankulova, Dr. Malek Radeideh (BMJV), Adilkhan Zhakenov (from left to right)
Aziz Imangaliyev, Yerkin Baltabayev, Bayan Parmankulova, Dr. Malek Radeideh (BMJV), Adilkhan Zhakenov (from left to right)

On 21 and 22 November 2017, a delegation from the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan visited Berlin to learn about the “Challenges of prosecuting criminal and administrative offences”. The focus of the working visit organised by the IRZ was on the code on administrative offences.

The participants in the delegation were:

  • Yerkin Baltabayev, Deputy Director of the legislation department at the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan,
  • Aziz Imangaliyev, leading expert in the legislation department at the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan,
  • Adilkhan Zhakenov, leading expert in the legislation department at the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and
  • Bayan Parmankulova, chief research associate at the Institute of Legislation in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

In Kazakhstan, infringements of personal rights, public safety and public health and violations against legislative provisions, in particular with regard to the environment and use of resources and road transport, are penalised according to the Kazakh code on administrative offences.

The delegation was particularly interested in the following issues:

  • The legal foundations for imposing and implementing financial penalties,
  • The prosecution of administrative offences by the relevant authorities and the relevant local court and
  • Road traffic offences.

In connection with the delegation’s working visit, intense discussions were held at the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV), the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Berlin, the State Office for Residents' and Regulatory Affairs, the Local Court of Tiergarten and at the German Federal Bar.

The working visit by the Kazakh guests was a resounding success, not least because of the animated exchanges that took place with German experts.