When the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meets in Paris next week (11-14 February), it will not only discuss new methods of money laundering and review developments in non-cooperative countries and territories. The organisation has announced that it also will report on its progress to counter the financing of terrorism.
The FATF’s latest report on international money laundering methods is expected to be released on Friday, February 14. Mr. Jochen Sanio, President of the FATF and Mr. Patrick Moulette, Executive Secretary, are expected to present the report at a news conference that day. The report outlines current trends and emerging threats such as:
– terrorist financing schemes;
– money laundering vulnerabilities in the securities sector; and
– links between the diamond, gold and precious metals trade and money laundering and terrorist financing.
Operation Green Quest, the US customs-led task force that tackles terrorist financing, has announced that it will expand the number of its dedicated field units from 1 to 15 this year. The “Operation Green Quest Investigative Financial Groups” will comprise several agents, intelligence analysts and investigative assistants, and will be based in 13 US cities.
According to the US Customs Service, the increasing workload and the hundreds of leads that the task force receives have prompted US customs to expand the operation. Green Quest efforts last December resulted in the arrest of six men and the seizure of the contents of five bank accounts in the US for suspected breaches of the *USA PATRIOT* Act. Money transfer operations in the US are now required to register and comply with financial institution reporting requirements under the provisions of the *USA PATRIOT* Act. At that time, a spokesman for the US Customs Service said illegal money transfer businesses are vulnerable to exploitation by criminal organisations, including terrorist groups. *”It is for this reason, Operation Green Quest will continue to aggressively investigate and dismantle these illegal money transfer operations,”* he said.
In addition to the Customs Service, Operation Green Quest includes agents and analysts from the Internal Revenue Service, the US Secret Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the US Postal Inspection Service, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
**Office of Foreign Assets Control**
Yesterday, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added the names of 59 businesses and 78 individuals to its list of Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNTs). SDNTs are subject to the economic sanctions imposed against Colombian drug cartels in Executive Order 12978. OFAC has determined that these 137 new SDNTs are acting as fronts for Colombia’s Cali drug cartel and are part of its international business and financial network operating in Spain and Colombia.
According to a Treasury release, the OFAC action blocks the assets of SDNTs found in U.S. jurisdictions and prohibits Americans from doing business with them, *”thereby further exposing, isolating, and incapacitating Colombian drug cartels and their agents.”*
**Executive Order 13224**
The US Treasury also designates entities as financiers of terrorism under Executive Order 13224, subsequently asking the United Nations to add names to the list of those whose assets must be blocked by all member nations under United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1390.
The list of all businesses and individuals named by OFAC as SDNTs is available on the web site of the U.S. Treasury Department, as is the list of those designated under Executive Order 13224.