Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing Leadership Calls on Treasury Dept. to Focus on Trade Based Money Laundering

Feb 11, 2016 Issues: Anti-Terrorist Financing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Ranking Member Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA) and Vice Chairman Robert Pittenger (R-NC) sent a letter Thursday to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew expressing concern with the Administration’s current policies on combating trade based money laundering and the threat this illicit practice has on the United States and our economic partners.

“On February 2, 2016, the House Financial Services Committee’s Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing held a hearing which focused on trade based money laundering and the threat it holds toward our national security, financial system and the international trade system,” wrote Fitzpatrick, Lynch and Pittenger. “This hearing revealed that, although the men and women of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are doing tremendous work, there is significant room for more accurate data collection, improved data consolidation, and increased cooperation with the private sector and our regional partners.”

The Task Force has requested the Treasury Department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis examine the data at its disposal and generate an official estimate of the impact trade based money laundering has on the United States.

Trade-based money laundering has been widely recognized as the most common form of money laundering and value transfer method utilized by criminal and terrorist organizations, allowing these groups the ability to move billions of dollars annually virtually undetected. Given the considerable volume of international trade and the value of the transactions, the effects of trade-based money laundering can result in extensive repercussions for global commerce and government revenues.

The full letter is attached and below:

Dear Mr. Secretary:

We write to express concern with the Administration’s current policies on combating trade based money laundering and the threat this illicit practice has on the United States and our economic partners.

On February 2, 2016, the House Financial Services Committee’s Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing held a hearing which focused on trade based money laundering and the threat it holds toward our national security, financial system and the international trade system. This hearing revealed that, although the men and women of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are doing tremendous work, there is significant room for more accurate data collection, improved data consolidation, and increased cooperation with the private sector and our regional partners. Furthermore, it was brought to our attention that there is no official estimate on the magnitude of trade based money laundering as a whole.

Therefore, we respectfully urge the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis to examine the data at its disposal and generate an official estimate of the impact trade based money laundering has on the United States. We look forward to your immediate engagement to address this issue.

Sincerely,