The Week Of: July 13, 2020

This week’s news and stories of interest to the AML community. If you prefer a news roundup plus other AML/KYC content sent to you, subscribe to This Week Today – our weekly newsletter.

UN report: Wildlife trafficking putting health at risk

A new United Nations report outlines how wildlife trafficking increases the transmission of diseases that spread from animals to humans.

Three quarters of all emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic, according to the World Wildlife Crime Report 2020. Wet markets selling trafficked wildlife are thought to be major sources of diseases like the COVID-19 virus that disrupted the world in 2020. Seizures of pangolins, the world’s most trafficked animal and thought to be an origin of the current pandemic, increased tenfold since 2014; nearly 6,000 different species have been seized over the past decade.

The report also shows how criminal organizations are moving their trade online to facilitate transnational trafficking and encourages Member States to develop the capacity for law enforcement agencies “to investigate online sales of illegal wildlife infiltrate existing online markets, collect relevant  evidence  including  using  digital forensics, and develop enforcement countermeasures.”

Read more from the UN.

Secret Service merging electronic and financial crime task forces to combat cybercrime

The U.S. Secret Service has formed a new task force designed to prevent, detect, and root out cybercriminal activity.

The agency created the group by combining its Electronic Crimes Task Forces and Financial Crimes Task Forces, theorizing that combining the two would “improve the coordination, sharing of expertise and resources, and dissemination of best practices for all its core investigations of financially-motivated cybercrime.”

The move is a recognition that cyber- and financial crimes are intertwined and that the Secret Service, tasked with investigating a wide range of financial crimes, needed to modernize and streamline its investigative techniques.

The agency also faces a possible move back to the Treasury Department, where it originated before moving to Homeland Security following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Read more at Cyber Scoop.

MEPs set out new measures to stop money laundering

European Parliament members voted last week to adopt an action plan to fight money laundering and terrorist financing.

The plan seeks better implementation of rules in member states, more effective use of data—such as identifying ultimate beneficial owners and widening the scope of supervised entities to include new market sectors like cryptocurrencies—and better and faster cross-border cooperation.

MEPs also called for a more thorough investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, a Maltese anti-corruption investigative journalist killed by a car bomb in 2017.

Read more about the plan from the European Parliament.