Report Finds U.S. Is an Easy Place To Hide Your Money if You’re an Environmental Criminal
The report examined previous cases of illegal gold mining and illegal logging in Columbia and Peru, interviewing Latin American experts, activists, and Indigenous leaders, along with U.S. money laundering experts and government officials.
A new report from the FACT Coalition called on the U.S. to strengthen its anti-money laundering laws, saying that existing loopholes in regulations allow environmental criminals to remain hidden while cleaning money from crimes in the Amazon. The report examined previous cases of illegal gold mining and illegal logging in Columbia and Peru, interviewing Latin American experts, activists, and Indigenous leaders, along with U.S. money laundering experts and government officials, in all 3 countries. They found that the money from those crimes and others similar to it likely made its way into the U.S. banking system.
The report provides recommendations to help the U.S. close these loopholes, including creating anti-money laundering rules for real estate professionals, adding illegal deforestation as a specific offense in money laundering law, and passing legislation requiring more transparency of the true owners of anonymous shell companies.
'These crimes not only threaten fragile ecosystems, but they’re often related to other illicit activities, including corruption, terror financing, money laundering, human trafficking, and drug trafficking,' said Andrea Gacki, current director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, in public remarks.
The report acknowledges that this is a global problem, but since FACT is a U.S.-based coalition, it focused on the U.S. and called on organizations in other countries to conduct similar research.
By AUBREY PATTI