The United States Treasury Department has established a new Executive Office for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes (EOTF/FC). This office, which reports directly to the Deputy Secretary, has been charged with coordinating and leading the Treasury Department’s multi-faceted efforts to combat terrorist financing and other financial crimes, both within the United States as well as abroad.
In a release today, Treasury Secretary John Snow said *”President Bush has reaffirmed that stopping the flow of money to terrorist groups is a top Treasury Department priority, and towards that end I am announcing today the formation of a new office dedicated to that charge.”*
According to the release, the EOTF/FC will work closely with other offices within the Treasury – and throughout the U.S. government – to identify, block, and dismantle sources of financial support for terror and other criminal activities, including money laundering. In addition, the team will work with international partners to expand the fight against terrorist financing and financial crimes in other nations. The Office will focus on reducing the risk that the domestic and international financial systems are being misused by criminals and terrorists.
The new Office is charged with the following duties:
– developing and implementing U.S. government strategies to combat terrorist financing domestically and internationally (in concert with Treasury’s International Affairs Task Force on Terrorist Financing );
– developing and implementing the National Money Laundering Strategy, as well as other policies and programs to fight financial crimes;
– participating in the department’s development and implementation of U.S. government policies and regulations in support of the *USA PATRIOT* Act, including the outreach to the private sector;
– joining in representation of the United States at focused international bodies dedicated to fighting terrorist financing and financial crimes;
– developing U.S. government policies relating to financial crimes.
Juan Zarate, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, will lead the office, reporting to the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.*(Until a new Deputy Secretary is named to fill the current vacancy, Mr. Zarate will report to David Aufhauser, Treasury General Counsel, who serves as the Chairman of the NSC policy coordinating committee on terrorist financing)*
Within the U.S. Treasury, the new Office will provide policy guidance for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) bureau as it works with the financial sector, the law enforcement community, and foreign financial intelligence units to foster cooperation against domestic and international financial crimes. Also, the EOTF/FC will provide policy guidance to the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC). OFAC administers U.S. trade and economic sanctions, and targets and blocks financial transactions and assets of terrorists, narcotics traffickers and foreign countries that are known to threaten U.S. national security.
*”FinCEN welcomes the establishment of this important office which will serve as a focal point for the Department of the Treasury’s vital role in support of the efforts against terrorist financing, money laundering, and other financial crimes,”* stated FINCEN Director Jim Sloan.
OFAC Director Rick Newcomb added, *”This step by the Treasury Department should enhance and strengthen the role OFAC has traditionally played in targeting those countries, organisations and individuals that threaten U.S. national security, especially through the targeting of terrorists and the financial network that supports their activities.”*
EOTF/FC also will work side by side with the International Affairs Task Force on Terrorist Financing (TFTF), which continues to work with other countries to implement and improve mechanisms for blocking terrorist assets globally, and thereby deny terrorists access to formal and informal financial systems. The TFTF will continue to track global progress on blocking terrorist assets and coordinate anti-terrorist financing action in international fora such as the IMF and G-7.
**USA Patriot Act Regulation Review Task Force**
Treasury also announced today that until a Deputy Secretary is confirmed, General Counsel Daviod Aufhauser will chair the existing USA PATRIOT Act Regulation Review Task Force.
This Task Force was established by former Deputy Treasury Secretary Kenneth Dam as part of efforts to develop effective regulations which will help crack down on terrorist financing and money laundering. The task force reviews the drafted and finalised regulations under the Act to see if they are unnecessarily burdensome on the financial community – or if they are not muscular enough.
While a Treasury led effort, the task force reaches out to all the experts in this area, both public and private, as well as industry groups.