Money Laundering from Environmental Crime

 Environmental crime – such as forestry crime, illegal mining and waste trafficking – is an extremely profitable criminal enterprise, generating billions in criminal gains each year. It fuels corruption, and converges with many other serious and organised crimes, such as tax fraud, drug trafficking and forced labour.

20.05.2022 G7 Germany Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors´ Petersberg Communiqué

“We recognise that the fight against money laundering linked to environmental crimes can contribute to combatting climate change as well as the loss of biodiversity. We renew our commitment to address the risks of illicit finance from environmental crime and recognize them as a cross-cutting issue.”

G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors´ Petersberg Communiqué


28.06.2021 FATF: Money Laundering from Environmental Crime

Money Laundering from Environmental Crime

25.06.2020 FATF: Money Laundering and the Illegal Wildlife Trade

Money Laundering and the Illegal Wildlife Trade

10.09.2018 Interpol World Atlas of illicit flows / Environment

Combined, environmental crimes, including those that involve the sale or taxation of natural resources, account for 38% of the financing of conflicts and of non-state armed groups, including terrorist groups; followed by drugs (at 28%); other forms of illegal taxation, extortion, confiscation and looting (26%); external donations (3%); and money extorted through kidnapping (3%).1 This evidence-based report aims to quantify how these illicit flows finance the major non-state armed groups

See Environmental crime. The largest conflict finance sector page 15

World Atlas of Illicit Flows

03.01.2024 Global Fishing Watch Study reveals 75 percent of the world’s industrial fishing vessels are hidden from public view

New research harnesses AI and satellite imagery to reveal the expanding footprint of human activity at sea

05.01.2024 Heise: Dank Satellitenbildern und KI: Bislang unbekannte Fischereiflotten entdeckt

Thanks to satellite images and AI: previously unknown fishing fleets discovered

24.01.2024 Sentinel-1 and AI reveal 75% of fishing vessels not tracked

Fight Against Money Laundering And Terrorist Financing In The EU

The EU’s rules on anti money laundering and countering terrorist financing protect its financial system and contribute to security and growth.

EU fight against money laundering

Money laundering and the financing of terrorism are major concerns for the EU. They pose major risks to the EU’s economy and financial system and to the security of its citizens.

For over thirty years, the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing has been high on the EU’s political agenda, with the first anti-money-laundering directive (AMLD) being adopted in 1991. Since then, the directive has undergone several reforms.
Fight Against Terrorism

Euro banknotes hanging on a washing line.

NarcoFiles: The New Criminal Order

Drug trafficking is a globe-spanning business. Cocaine might start life at a plantation in Colombia before being repackaged in Mexico, processed in the Netherlands, and sold on to users as far away as Bulgaria. Markets are booming in Asia, Africa, and Australia, generating billions in illicit revenues that flow back across the world through bank wires, cash transfers, and other transactions.

But the harms are not felt equally. It is developing nations that are most often strangled by the drug trade’s tentacles of violence, corruption, environmental destruction, and economic instability. The borderless nature of these crimes — and the gangs and cartels behind them — requires cross-border cooperation by journalists trying to expose them.

NarcoFiles: The New Criminal Order, the largest investigative project of its kind to originate in Latin America, was launched with this in mind.

OCCRP, the Centro Latinoamericano de Investigación Periodística (CLIP), Vorágine, and Cerosetenta / 070 gained early access to the data from two organizations, Distributed Denial of Secrets and Enlace Hacktivista. They then shared the leak with more than 40 other media outlets. Journalists from over 23 countries worked on the investigation, chiefly in Latin America but also in Europe and the United States.

Using leads found in the leaked data, reporters produced dozens of stories revealing the myriad ways in which organized crime groups are evolving, expanding, and experimenting in the modern world — while leaving new victims along the way….

What The Collapse Of Silicon Valley Banks Says About The Stability Of U.S. Banks

NPR’s Ayesha Rascoe talks to Anat Admati, professor at Stanford University’s Business NPR logoSchool, about the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and what it says about the stability of the U.S. banking system.


The rapid collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, or SVB, on Friday has left a lot of people in the banking and financial sectors shook. Signs of trouble appeared on Wednesday, when SVB announced the sale of securities at a loss. It also sold over $2 billion in new shares to bolster its bottom line, but panic had already set in. Companies started withdrawing their money, and by Friday, trading of SVB shares had halted. The bank was shut down and went under FDIC receivership. That’s the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. We’re joined now by Anat Admati, professor at Stanford University’s business school. Welcome to the program.

ANAT ADMATI: Thank you.

RASCOE: How did this bank fail – it feels like in 48 hours, but was it a longer-term thing going on here? Like, what happened?

ADMATI: Oh, definitely. It was a much longer thing in that bank in particular but across the banking system more broadly. And basically, there are two main things here. One is the fact that inflation picked up, and the Federal Reserve started increasing interest rates. And when you increase interest rates, all kinds of things start happening in banking. And historically, it has often been the precursor of some trouble.

But the other thing is that there were a lot of deposits kind of sloshing around the system, a lot of people looking for what to do with the money. So what ended up happening was all this money that Silicon Valley Bank had coming was invested, some of it in loans in the Silicon Valley area to all kinds of businesses and especially startups and venture capital and others. And there were businesses that had large deposits uninsured by the FDIC, which only covers up to $250,000. And so their investments started losing money. And that was both on some of the riskier investment loans that they made but also on various other securities.

Basically, as interest rates go up, the value of previous promises to pay at lower interest rates go down. And so a lot of banks, not just Silicon Valley Bank, have a lot of losses on the actual market value of their investments. Now, you might not see that change. It might be invisible to you because they’re not selling it, so you don’t see it, basically. And it became insolvent months ago. It just wasn’t recognized as that.

RASCOE: Is there anything in the way that this bank collapsed that tells you that SVB was an outlier? Or is this a larger issue and a sign of more troubling weakness across the banking sector?

ADMATI: I think the bank had a specific configuration that made it more vulnerable. There is trouble across the board. Right now, in December, the FDIC, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, reported that across the banking system, there are $620 billion of what they call unrealized losses – in other words, losses that we’re not seeing in their reports that the banks make. And that’s up from 8 billion the year before. So it’s more about seeing who’s swimming naked. As Warren Buffett said, you know, when the tide goes down, you see who’s swimming naked. So it’s really about recognizing the weaknesses in time. And that is a job of the regulators.

RASCOE: So what does it mean for a bank to go under FDIC receivership? What can the FDIC do at this point?

ADMATI: So when FDIC takes over a bank, that’s basically the equivalent of a bankruptcy that you would file for when it becomes insolvent or it starts defaulting. What they did by stepping in is they just froze everything. And they told the insured deposits that they can get access to their money on Monday, like, in one day, and that the uninsured deposits, which is majority of them – so we’re talking about over $150 billion or something like that – will get some kind of certificate for some dividend to be decided later. So they’re not getting access to cash. Now, that created a huge problem for a lot of these small businesses around here and the large depositors because they are using the bank to make payroll.

RASCOE: Our economy is kind of in this weird space right now. We have low, really low unemployment, but then we’ve got this high inflation. We keep hearing about an impending recession, but the job numbers are still looking good. And there’s some, you know, competing factors there. So does SVB’s collapse say anything about the larger economic picture? And should people be really – regular people who just kind of get their paychecks at the bank, at Wells Fargo or, you know, Bank of America – should they be worried about keeping their money in the bank?

ADMATI: No, no, definitely not. There is no question that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is good for its guarantee. The FDIC essentially is backed by the government and by the Federal Reserve. They will not default on their promises to guarantee all deposits up to $250,000 per person per account. Other things that are not insured deposits – one is taking risk with those in principle. And, you know, people like higher returns, so they move money to money market funds to, you know, all kinds of other mutual funds, and then they invest. So that’s an issue. But certainly, deposits are not – deposits up to the deposit insurance limits are not a problem…

23rd Parliamentary Intelligence-Security Forum – Washington, D.C.

Parliamentary Intelligence-Security Forum
23rd Parliamentary Intelligence-Security Forum – Washington, D.C., December 6-7,
Illicit Finance – Day 1
• Senator Larry Pressler, Former United States Senator
• Hon. Jerome Beaumont, Executive Secretary, Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence
• Hon. Andreas Frank, AML/CFT advisor for the Bundestag, Council Europe and the European Parliament ( 2:08min -2:19 minute and more about Andreas Frank )
• Prof. Celina Realuyo, Professor of Practice, William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, National Defense University
• Mr. Mariano Federici, Senior Managing Director, K2 Integrity

23rd Parliamentary Intelligence-Security Forum – Washington, D.C. – Day 2

Suisse Secrets?

What is Suisse Secrets? Everything You Need to Know About the Swiss Banking Leak.

Pirate Bankster
Some Experts tried to make sure that the bank then received really tough
penalties. But with limited success, even under the Democrats. In
2014-15, after Credit Suisse pled guilty to enabling $20b of tax dodging
by wealthy Americans, James S. Henry joined with Ralph Nader, Andreas Frank
(Germany), Dr Paul Morjanoff Australia), Bart Naylor(DC), and two
Holocaust survivors in an effort to get the US Department of Labor to
ban CS from advising US pension funds. This was under a law that bans
convicted felons from giving such advice unless they get a DOL waiver.

In January 2015 they presented a full day of testimony, offering evidence
of CS chicanery on 4 continents. However, with the help of lobbyists
and lawyers — including Knight Spaulding’s Chris Wray, who had
represented the bank in the tax dodging case, DOL gave CS a 5-year

Meanwhile, most of its $2.6b fine from Obama’s DOJ was tax deductible
in Switzerland. No one went to jail. CS lost none of its banking
licenses either in the US or anywhere else. Of course CS had also
pocketed at least $25b of gov bailouts in 2008-2011 during the GFC. Nor,
as we learned from the survivors, did it ever fully honor its 1990
commitments to them. So the actual net penalties were pretty slight —
especially on a NPV basis

Sadly for CS shareholders, however, since 2015, the bank has not
performed very well among international banks — partly because it has
acquired such a dodgy reputation

But CS has managed to slither on.

Indeed, it has diversified in some rather disturbing ways that this
OCCRP investigation doesn’t mention — for example, by acquiring 25%
of the high frequency trading platforms now used on Wall Street to
handle 75% or more of trades. 2021 was a record year for high freq
trading, most of which is anonymous – rt up CS’s alley.

Furthermore, in mid 2017, after Trump fired Comey as FBI Director, who
do you suppose he and the US Congress select to replace him — with
overwhelming bipartisan support?

None other than CS’s chief xUS defense attorney, Chris Wray. Not
surprisingly, white collar crime cases by the US DOJ + IRS against major
banks have completely dried up since 2017.

And in 2019 — despite “Suissegate,” “Pandora Papers,” and
“Panama Papers,” plus superb additional work by Dr Morjanoff in
Australia, Andreas Frank in Germany, Khadija Sharife in RSA, + our own
research — CS got yet another 5-yr DOL waiver, this time without even
a hearing.

So now we have the long-run context for the important additional
evidence on display in this latest OCCRP story.

How can we make sure that THIS TIME AROUND it will make a difference?

See more: Suisse Secrets-das-ist-das-leak

Harm Bengen / Business Dresses for Banker

Breaking The Connection Between Environmental Crimes And Finance

The report highlights the opportunity to reduce environmental crimes by widening the scope and interpretation of existing Anti-Money Laundering (AML) rules.

Pointing to the limits of such an approach, however, the report highlights the need to go further, and proposes a way forward paralleling anti-slavery and conflict diamond approaches.

A new report published today from Finance for Biodiversity (F4B) points to how to break F4BlogoColor.pngthe environmentally-destructive connection between environmental crimes and legitimate investments. F4B calls on the global financial community, working with regulators and civil society organisations, to take steps to ensure the entire financing value chain is free of environmental crimes.

Environment crime, such as illegal wildlife trade and logging, is now one of the most profitable global criminal enterprises, generating up to almost USD300 billion in criminal gains each year, and creating even more profound damage and cost to the environment and society. Many entirely legal enterprises benefit from such environmental crimes, as do those who finance them.
F4B Breaking Env Crimes Finance Connection_final report 

F4B Breaking Env Crimes Finance Connection_final exec summary-1

Abholzungswort stock abbildung. Illustration von ...

The UK’s Kleptocracy Problem


  • The intertwining of financial globalization
    and deregulation with the post-Soviet The Media-Men List and the Chatham House Rule | The New Yorkertransition has, since the 1990s, created a new international political and economic environment. In this context, the UK’s relations with Russia and Eurasian states are characterized in part by features of transnational kleptocracy, where British professional service providers enable post-Soviet elites to launder their money and reputations.
  • The UK adopts a risk-based approach to anti-money laundering which relies on private sector professionals conducting appropriate checks. However, evidence indicates that the system is effectively risk-insensitive, with banks over-reporting suspicious activity, and thereby creating a deluge of reports for UK authorities to process. Other, non-financial service providers often under-report such activity and are inconsistent in whether they undertake effective due diligence.
  • Failures of investigation and enforcement by the National Crime Agency and other UK state bodies have led to flawed judgments by UK courts, especially regarding post-Soviet elites. Capable and expensive lawyers (hired by members of transnational elites or their advisers) defeat or deter the regulators’ often weak and under-resourced attempts to prosecute politically exposed persons.
  • The provision of aggressive reputation management services by UK professionals includes libel actions, quasi-defamation cases, and the use of public relations agents against journalists and researchers. These services also transplant authoritarian agendas and rivalries to the UK, which has become a leading site of legal action and political conflict between post-Soviet elites.
  • Opportunities for reputation laundering are placing the integrity of a range of important domestic institutions at risk. Philanthropy to UK universities and charities is one method by which post-Soviet elites clean up their reputations – but these donations are processed in secret, and several cases suggest that their due diligence has been flawed. Westminster – and the Conservative parliamentary party in particular – may be open to influence from wealthy donors who originate from post-Soviet kleptocracies, and who may retain fealty to these regimes.
  • This situation is materially and reputationally damaging for the UK’s rule of law and to the UK’s professed role as an opponent of international corruption. It demands a new approach by the UK government focused on creating a hostile environment for the world’s kleptocrats. An effective anti-kleptocracy drive would close legal loopholes, demand transparency from public institutions, deploy anti-corruption sanctions against post-Soviet elites and prosecute British professionals who enable money laundering by kleptocrats.

UK Kleptocracy Problem


Australia’s AML/CTF Laws Are Regulated By AUSTRAC

is responsible for preventing, detecting and responding to criminal abuse of the financial system to protect the community from serious and organised crime.

Four new ML/TF risk assessments for Australia’s banking sector

Learn about the criminal threats and vulnerabilities facing major banks, other domestic banks, foreign subsidiary banks and foreign bank branches operating in Australia.

Risk assessments

Risk assessments examine current money laundering and terrorism financing threats and vulnerabilities in specific parts of Australia’s financial sector.

They are a resource for reporting entities to use to refine internal controls and to meet your reporting obligations, particularly in relation to suspicious matter reporting.

Risk assessments bring together insights from industry with intelligence from AUSTRAC and our partner agencies to provide a comprehensive assessment of ML/TF risks relevant to a specific sector or product.