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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Anti-Money Laundering/Counter Terrorist Financing


As the global GDP has increased in the last two decades, so too has the magnitude of all-source money laundering. The IMF and World Bank estimate that 3%-5% of global GDP is laundered-approximately $2.17- $ 3.61 trillion annually. Narco-traffikers, kleptocrats, transnational organized criminals are but three significant entities that engage in the effort to disguise their illegal proceeds derived from more than 300 predicate crimes. When criminals (including corrupt officials) and organized crime syndicates disguise the illicit nature of their proceeds by introducing them as legal funds into the stream of legitimate commerce and finance, they not only are clandestinely hiding their ongoing affairs but they are also tainting the international financial system and eroding public trust in its integrity. Although some of the funds used to finance terrorism have come from non-laundered funds donated to dual-purpose charities, through the formal financial sector, the amount that has been blocked globally in the formal sector is less than $170 million dollars. Although international institutions argue that terrorist financiers are employing “new modalities”, in fact, the opposite is true. Terrorist financiers are reverting to traditional ways such as hawala, trade based money-laundering, and cash couriers, particularly in countries with non-existent or weak national anti-money laundering systems to move their funds to finance their terrorist activities. Financial and anti-money laundering tools help to expose the infrastructure of criminal organizations, the web of corruption, or a conspiracy to commit terror acts; provide authorities with a roadmap to those who facilitate the criminal and illicit activities; lead to the recovery and forfeiture of unlawfully-acquired assets; and support broad deterrence against a wide range of criminal activities including the financing of terrorism, which cannot be thwarted absent a comprehensive anti-money laundering regime.

INL’s strong anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CTF) programs, strategies, and tools help committed partners to prevent, trace and recover illicitly-acquired assets that are the proceeds of more than 300 predicate crimes, and to disrupt and dismantle global terrorist financial and criminal laundering operations.

INL AML/CTF training assists committed countries to:

  1. implement the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards, which mainly address: (a) the types of AML/CTF laws and regulations a country should have; (b) the agencies a country should establish (financial intelligence units (IUs), regulatory agencies, specialized law enforcement and prosecutorial authorities); (c) the reporting regime and the entities within and outside of the financial sector that should be obliged to file reports (e.g., banks, money remitters, exchange houses, securities brokers, mutual funds, insurance companies, casinos, lawyers, accountants, realtors, art dealers, etc); and (d) the sharing of non-evidentiary information via the FIU and evidentiary information via MLATs and MLAAs to generate cooperation with other countries to ensure conviction of launderers;
     
  2. provide law enforcement with financial investigative skills;
     
  3. obtain training for prosecutors to develop money laundering cases;
     
  4. obtain training for those in the regulatory and supervisory authorities, such as bank supervisors;
     
  5. train judges in specific elements of money laundering and terrorist financing crimes. INL AML/CTF programs also provide support on issues related to access to financial intelligence reports (suspicious transaction reports, cash transaction reports, reports on the cross-border transportation of currency or monetary instruments, and reports on cross-border wire transfers); obligated reporting entities (both financial and non-financial institutions); interagency and international information exchange; and broad asset seizure, forfeiture and management capabilities.


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