US Financial System Helps Shelter Profits From Environmental Organized Crime

"Environmental organized crime is a massive global enterprise, bringing in hundreds of billions of dollars each year — and the U.S. financial system appears to be helping conceal its profits.

Interpol estimates that environmental crime such as poaching and illegal logging generates up to $281 billion a year, making it the third-most lucrative illegal business worldwide.

Although the crimes themselves take place in various parts of the world, America’s financial system makes it ideal for parking and laundering the proceeds due to weaknesses in its anti-money-laundering infrastructure, according to Julia Yansura, program director for environmental crime and illicit finance at the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition.

The illicit industries behind these crimes vary widely in scale and level of organization, from the smaller, less organized networks involved in the illegal wildlife trade to large, lucrative industries like illegal logging and illegal gold mining, the latter of which has financial links to other illicit economies like drug trafficking, terrorism and the funding of political corruption."

Zack Budryk reports for The Hill May 7, 2024.

Source: The Hill, 05/08/2024