During Fiscal Year 2012, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), continued its commitment to providing financial investigative training to countries around the world. The HSI Illicit Finance and Proceeds of Crime Unit conducted and/or participated in training provided to over 1,874 members of foreign law enforcement, regulatory agencies, and bank and trade officials from over 100 nations around the world. Utilizing their broad experience and expertise in conducting international financial investigations, HSI designed the training to provide the attendees with the critical skills necessary to successfully identify and investigate financial crimes. The programs included such topics as an introduction to money laundering, investigating bulk cash smuggling, asset forfeiture, an overview of unlicensed money services business/informal value transfer systems, prepaid access devices, and interviewing techniques.
Cross Border Financial Investigations Training Seminar
The Cross Border Financial Investigation Training (CBFIT) program provides specialized training, technical assistance, and best practices related to cross-border financial investigations to foreign law enforcement personnel, intelligence and administrative agencies, and judicial authorities.
CBFIT provides foreign partners with the capability to implement international standards, with special emphasis on new technologies, dissuasive actions, competent authorities, international cooperation, alternative remittance, and cash couriers.
Using primarily U.S. Department of State Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) funding, HSI provided blocks of training detailing the various aspects of money laundering and sharing of best practices on how to initiate multi-jurisdictional investigations from interdiction incidents. These countries included: Afghanistan, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Saudi Arabia, among others.
Through the U.S. Department of State’s International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) programs, HSI conducted financial investigations and anti-money laundering training programs at various ILEA Training Centers.
Resident Cross Border Financial Investigations Advisor
HSI Special Agents and Intelligence Analysts have been deployed for extended periods of time to foreign posts to serve as Resident Cross Border Financial Investigations Advisors (R/CBFIA). The R/CBFIA acts as the point of contact to host nation authorities for the coordination of training sessions. Once training is completed, the R/CBFIA remains available for in–person and/or telephone mentoring of host nation partners related to incidents involving the interdiction of currency or other financial instruments. In 2012, R/CBFIAs were deployed to Afghanistan, Argentina, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, and the Philippines.
Trade Transparency Units
Trade Transparency Units (TTUs) are designed to help identify significant disparities in import and export trade documentation and identify anomalies related to cross-border trade that are indicative of international trade-based money laundering. Trade is the common denominator in most of the world’s alternative remittance systems and underground banking systems. Trade-based value transfer systems also have been used in terrorist financing. TTUs generate, initiate, and support investigations and prosecutions related to trade-based money laundering, the illegal movement of criminal proceeds across international borders, the abuse of alternative remittance systems, and other financial crimes. By sharing trade data, HSI and participating foreign governments are able to see both sides of import and export transactions for commodities entering or exiting their countries, thus assisting in the investigation of international money laundering organizations. The number of trade-based money laundering investigations emerging from TTU activity continues to grow.
The United States established a TTU within DHS/HSI that generates both domestic and international investigations. With funding support from the U.S. Department of State’s INL, HSI continues to expand the network of operational TTUs which now include: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, and Paraguay. As part of the TTU initiative, HSI provided equipment and increased operational support to these TTU partners to ensure the network’s successful development.
In 2012, HSI updated the technical capabilities of existing TTUs and trained TTU and financial intelligence unit personnel from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, and Paraguay. Additionally, HSI strengthened its relationship with the TTUs by deploying temporary and permanent personnel overseas to work onsite and provide hands-on training. These actions have continued to facilitate information sharing between the U.S. and foreign TTUs, increased their effectiveness and enhanced joint criminal investigations.