Money Laundering and the Illegal Wildlife Trade

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Money Laundering and the Illegal Wildlife Trade

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25 June 2020 – The illegal wildlife trade is a major transnational organised crime, which generates billions of criminal proceeds each year. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has conducted a new study to provide guidance to countries on measures they can take to combat money laundering from the illegal wildlife trade.

Wildlife traffickers exploit weaknesses in the financial and non-financial sectors, to move, hide and launder their proceeds, enabling further wildlife crimes and damaging financial integrity. One of the most effective ways to identify the broader criminal networks and take the profit out of this crime, is to follow the financial trails of wildlife traffickers.

Despite the significant criminal gains involved, countries and private sector are not prioritising efforts to trace and combat financial flows from this trade in line with risk. To combat the financial flows from the illegal wildlife trade, countries should therefore as a priority:

  1. Identify and assess their money laundering risks relating to the illegal wildlife trade.
  2. Ensure that national laws and powers for law enforcement allow authorities to go after the finances of wildlife traffickers, and to pursue financial investigations.

The private sector also has an important role to play in combatting financial flows from illegal wildlife trade. This study therefore identifies good practices and risk indicators to assist private sector and countries to identify potential suspicious financial activity for the illegal wildlife trade.

This is the FATF's first global report on this topic. It draws on inputs and case studies from over 50 countries from across the , as well as civil society and the United for Wildlife Financial Taskforce.  To ensure an effective response for this work, the FATF has agreed to conduct a review from mid to late 2021 to collect information from countries and the private sector on how they are using the report and responding to its proposed actions.





In brief 

Illegal Wildlife Trade and Private Sector


Following the money of the illegal wildlife trade

The Duke of Cambridge, who spearheads the work of the United for Wildlife Financial Taskforce together with the Royal Foundation, welcomed the FATF's report.

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Indonesian-Money-Laundering-and-the-Illegal-Wildlife-Trade, working translation provided by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) under the Law Enforcement Assistance Programme (LEAP) to Reduce Tropical Deforestation, funded by the Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI).

MUMCFM-Russian-Money Laundering and the Illegal Wildlife Trade

Spanish-Money Laundering and the Illegal Wildlife Trade