Integrity of the global trade system and financial industry under threat from TCOs, collaboration needed says WCO and Egmont Group

The integrity of the global trade system and financial industry as well as both regional and global security are under growing threats posed by transnational criminal organisations (TCOs) and terrorist organisations according to the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and the Egmont Group (EG) of Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs).

In a statement issued at the end of a jointly organised conference in Budapest, the two organisations said certain TCOs and terrorist organisations use complex money laundering schemes to launder illicit funds, including trade-based money laundering (TBML).

They also said threats to the global trade system and financial industry could be countered by close cooperation between customs and FIUs at the national level and between the WCO and EG at the international level.

Trade fraud and mis-invoicing

Often TBML involves comingling and layering, whereby the illicit proceeds are placed together with legitimate money through an intricate web of financial transactions via banking and non-banking routes according to the statement.

It adds that customs and FIUs are the best-placed authorities to identify and combat such complex criminal activity and proposes that customs are traditionally the authority responsible for monitoring TBML, trade fraud, mis-invoicing schemes, and international currency transportation reports.

Gold and precious metals

Participants discussed that the prevalence of currency, gold and precious metals smuggling has not diminished in the last decade due to the advent and proliferation of virtual assets in the global economy.

“Although Customs and FIU efforts in AML should invest efforts to identify ML/TF activities involving virtual currencies, they should not lose sight of actual/fiat currency and precious metals smuggling,” it says.

The joint WCO and EG statement issued at the end of the joint event, Budapest Conference: a global Anti-Money Laundering – Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) Workshop for Enhanced Engagement between Customs Authorities and Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs), can be found here.


Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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