Viewing cable 07ADDISABABA1221
Title: ETHIOPIA: COMBATING COUNTERFEITING AND MONEY

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
07ADDISABABA12212007-04-19 15:04:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 SECRET Embassy Addis Ababa
VZCZCXRO0772
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHDS #1221/01 1091504
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 191504Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5739
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0347
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 4503
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0489
RUEHFT/AMCONSUL FRANKFURT 4058
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 ADDIS ABABA 001221 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR AF AND AF/E 
LONDON, PARIS, ROME FOR AFRICA WATCHER 
PRETORIA FOR LEGATT AND SECRET SERVICE 
CJTF-HOA FOR POLAD 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/19/2032 
TAGS: EFIN KCRM SNAR KN ET GM
SUBJECT: ETHIOPIA: COMBATING COUNTERFEITING AND MONEY 
LAUNDERING 
 
 
Classified By: AMBASSSADOR DONALD YAMAMOTO.  REASON: 1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
¶1. (S/NF) SUMMARY: In response to the discovery in Germany of 
counterfeit U.S. currency ("supernotes") from Ethiopia over 
two years ago, the Treasury Department in coordination with 
the Secret Service and the State Department began working 
with Ethiopia's central bank.  In the near future, Treasury 
plans to sign an agreement with the Ethiopian central bank 
governor on a workplan to help upgrade skills and knowledge 
of Ethiopian banking staff on money laundering and 
counterfeiting issues.  The Secret Service plans to conduct a 
training program in June to support these efforts.  The 
Ambassador and Embassy staff raised the importance of 
combating counterfeiting and money laundering with the 
central bank governor.  While Ethiopia is not the largest 
counterfeiting operation in Africa, it is the location with 
the highest incident rate of supernote passage in Africa. 
The 2004 Ethiopian police investigation implicated the North 
Korean Embassy, at which point the police turned the matter 
over to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  END SUMMARY. 
 
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BACKGROUND/EMBASSY STEPS BEING TAKEN 
------------------------------------ 
 
¶2. (S/NF) In August 2004, Commerzbank AG, Germany's 
second-largest bank, received 5,036 pieces of counterfeit 
U.S. Federal Reserve notes in deposits from Ethiopia's 
central bank, the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE).  In 
December 2004, the Ethiopian Government requested Embassy 
assistance to investigate the counterfeiting.  The U.S. 
Secret Service subsequently met in February 2005 with 
 
SIPDIS 
Ethiopian Federal Police officials to investigate the 
counterfeit notes.  The Ethiopian police provided information 
on suspects, including a Kenyan national, who may have passed 
the counterfeit money.  By December 2005, the Secret Service 
had taken custody of USD 406,600 in suspected counterfeit 
notes.  In September 2006, another 170 bills suspected of 
being counterfeit were deposited into the Commerzbank in 
Frankfurt, Germany, by the NBE.  While investigations 
continued, the Ethiopian banking officials requested training 
to identify counterfeit currency.  A training program was 
provided in November 2006.  Another training program will be 
provided by the Secret Service in June 2007 to Ethiopian 
banking officials. 
 
¶3. (S/NF) The Ambassador, while serving as DAS in the Africa 
Bureau, raised the counterfeit issue with senior Ethiopian 
officials during trips to Addis Ababa in 2005 and 2006. 
Since arriving in Ethiopia, the Ambassador raised with the 
Foreign Minister (as recently as last week) the 
counterfeiting question as a priority for the U.S. Mission. 
To date, no suspects have been arrested.  Embassy staff 
continue to support Secret Service cooperation with Ethiopian 
officials.  According to Secret Service officers from 
Pretoria, the counterfeit money from Ethiopia, while not the 
highest volume uncovered in Africa, did have a significant 
amount of supernotes (the officer said Ethiopia is the 
location with the highest incident of supernotes in Africa.). 
 USSS said, however, that the supernote problem has 
significantly declined since August 2004.  In 2006, within a 
USD 90 million deposit, USD 17,000 from the supernote family 
(C-21555) was detected by the German Federal Bank.  The 
German BundesKriminal Amt (BKA) interviewed Ethiopian 
officials who claimed the money came from deposits from ten 
banks located within Ethiopia.  The reason for the sharp 
decline in supernotes from USD 715,000 in 2004 to USD 17,000 
in 2006 from Ethiopia is unknown.  The police suspect that 
this is cyclical (passage of bills, investigation, interview 
of suspects and then tapers off) and will return again.  The 
police nor the banks lack sophisticated technology to detect 
supernotes.  It is believed that devices to detect supernotes 
cost an estimated USD 60,000 each. 
 
 
ADDIS ABAB 00001221  002 OF 002 
 
 
¶4. (S/NF) Parallel to the Secret Service efforts, the 
Treasury Department dispatched one person to work in the NBE 
to develop a workplan and training program for central bank 
employees.  The Treasury Department hopes to sign a workplan 
agreement within the next month to help NBE employees 
identify and stop money laundering as well as counterfeit 
currency. 
 
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FUTURE PLANS 
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¶5. (S/NF)  The Ambassador and Embassy plan to continue 
raising this issue with Ethiopia,s senior leadership, 
especially information-sharing on counterfeit currency and 
money laundering, and to push for prosecution of those 
involved. 
YAMAMOTO