On Tuesday, Interpol and the Financial Action Task Force unveiled a brand-new strategy to boost the paltry level of worldwide asset seizures.
Both organizations agreed that the amount of illegal assets now being recovered globally is intolerable. Less than 1% of illegal cash flows worldwide, according to the UN, are ever recovered.
Interpol and FATF announced this week that they have started a "joint initiative to deprive criminals of their dirty money, marking a turning point in global efforts to recover illicit assets," following the so-called "FIRE" conference in Singapore.
150 attendees at the inaugural FATF-INTERPOL Roundtable Engagement (FIRE) session emphasized the need to:
- promote national policies and actions to prioritize the tracing, seizure and confiscation of criminal assets;
- enhance operational cooperation at the national, regional and international levels;
- increase effective information sharing among public authorities and with the private sector.
The process of recovering stolen assets is complicated and necessitates extensive international collaboration since stolen funds are frequently promptly transferred out of nations and routed to or via other countries.
According to estimates by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, governments intercept and recover fewer than 1% of worldwide illegal financial flows, despite the fact that it should be a significant component of a nation's strategy to combat money laundering and terrorist funding.
Participants agreed that the key to successfully combating illegal flows is a better awareness of the global financial crime environment, particularly in respect to cyber-enabled financial crime.
Law enforcement agencies, financial intelligence units, asset recovery offices, prosecutors, policymakers, representatives of international organizations, and business executives were among the attendees.
According to Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stock, "the magnitude of illicit profits, and the velocity at which billions are moving across borders, is deeply worrying."
"Organized crime groups are undermining global financial systems and inflicting huge losses on businesses and individuals alike. We must do more to deliver the significant operational impact that is needed today," he continued. "By ambitiously pursuing every solution, every piece of actionable data, we will bring these illicit flows out of the dark and back to the legitimate economy."
T Raja Kumar, president of the FATF, added: "Increasing the visibility and priority of asset recovery at national level sets the tone for all stakeholders, sending a clear signal that we are acting to cripple organized crime syndicates, better protect society and contribute to sustainable economic growth. By catalysing global efforts, this exciting FATF and INTERPOL initiative can make an impactful lasting change in the way we go after the proceeds of crime."
The Anti-Money Laundering Rapid Response Protocol, a stop-payment mechanism developed by Interpol, was featured at the event (ARRP).
The FATF Standards should be strengthened, according to delegates, so that nations are better prepared to respond effectively at every level of the asset recovery process.
In a joint statement, the two agencies listed many strategies for boosting asset recovery and eliminating the profit from crime, including:
- a shift in law enforcement perspectives and culture
- enhanced international networks and tools, and
- stronger legislation and global standards against money laundering.
By fLEXI tEAM