US customs to increase focus on TBML this year

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will be increasing its focus on trade-based money laundering (TBML) and tax evasion this year according to CBP’s executive assistant commissioner, AnnMarie Highsmith.

Customs officers are at the forefront of efforts to counter TBML because it routinely involves the deliberate and inaccurate description on customs declarations to artificially raise or lower the value of goods declared on import or export, she told experts gathered at the International Symposium on Economic Crime in the English city of Cambridge.

Common thread

Highsmith sees TBML as a common thread connecting many forms of illicit trade into a single tapestry.

By focusing on this common thread, she says CBP can leverage its enforcement authorities to prevent illicit trade, which may involve drugs, weapons, humans, cultural property, counterfeit and pirated goods, wildlife, illegal logging and mining operations, illegal fishing, and even human organs.

On the lookout

Most national governments are still learning to identify and tackle TBML, which facilitates many of these crimes according to Highsmith.

She says that to address TBML challenges, CBP employs an intelligence-driven approach, looking for a variety of red flags, including payments made to a vendor via wire transfers from unrelated third parties.

The US agency is also looking for false reporting, such as commodity misclassification and over- and under-valuation, double invoicing, and packaging abnormalities that are inconsistent with commodity or shipping methods.


Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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