TRAFFIC, a non-governmental organisation working globally on trade in wild animals and plants, has hosted its first panel at the International Anti-corruption Conference (IACC) to highlight the need for an alliance against environmental crimes.
The panel of counter-corruption and financial crime experts discussed how organisations can work together in proactive multi-sector approaches to tackle corruption and associated financial crimes that propel illegal wildlife trade.
The panel included HSBC’s financial crime analysis and compliance manager, Stephen Dennison; director of the South African Financial Intelligence Centre, Xolisile Khanyile, and TRAFFIC’s wildlife crime analyst, Ben Brock.
Legitimate banks’ role
Building on the interconnections between corruption, financial crime and illegal wildlife trade, panel discussions focused on the role of financial institutions by ‘following the money’ and obtaining information on these criminal activities via existing anti-money laundering initiatives and relevant financial intelligence.
The panel suggested this information could be shared via national financial intelligence units to uncover and disrupt organised cross-sector multibillion-dollar crimes such as illegal fishing and illegal timber trade that are often laundered via legitimate banks.
Financial sector co-operation
“Being able to identify and track those who benefit from criminal activity is essential mitigation, but we also need to co-operate with partners from across the financial sector,” according to Brock.
“A broader, proactive response to illicit financial flows will reduce the money laundering risk to institutions while also interrupting the financial flows that motivate and facilitate environmental crime,” he says.
Environmental corruption forum
The IACC also saw the launch of the Countering Environmental Corruption Practitioners Forum. TRAFFIC is a founding member alongside Transparency International, WWF, and the Basel Institute on Governance, with financial support from USAID and the principality of Liechtenstein.
The forum is designed to encourage and connect conservationists with anti-corruption actors to work across disciplines to address corruption as a critical driver of environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, and climate change.
Details of the Countering Environmental Corruption Practitioners Forum can be found here
Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News