Money Laundering And The Illegal Wildlife Trade: Financial Action At Last?
A proposal by the incoming president of the Financial Action Task Force presents an unprecedented opportunity to tackle the illegal wildlife trade by hitting at its main driver: financial gain.
Attention to the financial dimensions of the illegal wildlife trade (IWT) has steadily increased in recent years. The London IWT Conference in October 2018 was the latest global event to call for an increase in the use of financial investigation techniques to tackle IWT. NGOs such as the Wildlife Justice Commission (this author is a member of WJC’s Council), the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and TRAFFIC have conducted specific IWT financial investigations; and research reports such as those produced by this author and his colleagues and UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering have received a higher profile.
Yet despite all this, most states across the IWT supply chain have remained slow to engage with the financial dimensions of IWT. At best, investigations and prosecutions focus on the crime of possession, rarely (if ever) undertaking related financial investigations. One major reason for this lack of activity can be ascribed to the apparent past indifference to IWT of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global standard setter for anti-money laundering.
Finally a breakthrough in fighting wildlife crime!
The first steps are taken to hit wildlife crime syndicates and its leaders where it jurts the most: in money.
Within the environment of fighting the international wildlife crime we have organisations like TRAFFIC, EIA and Wildlife Justice Commission.
An important think tank to help fighting international wildlife crime as well is RUSI – the Royal United Services Institute.
They announce that the guardian of the integrity of the global financial system and booster of financial investigations, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), has decided to step up and make the fight against wildlife crime a higher priority.
A difficult story to explain, even if you read the article. But it is a breakthrough the (animal) world needs desperately.