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On January 25, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced that Treasury and South Africa’s National Treasury recently formed the U.S. – South Africa Task Force on Combating the Financing of Wildlife Trafficking. According to the announcement, the Task Force will combat illicit finance connected to illegal wildlife trade in three key areas:
- Prioritizing the sharing of financial red flags and indicators connected to wildlife trafficking cases. Specifically, the South African Anti-Money Laundering Integrated Task Force, a public private partnership, will play a key role working in coordination with FinCEN.
- Increasing information sharing between financial intelligence units to support key law enforcement agencies from South Africa and the U.S. This is intended to “bolster law enforcement efforts to use financial investigations to pursue and recover the illicit proceeds of wildlife criminals, especially transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) fueling and benefiting from corruption and the trafficking of, among other things, abalone, rhino horns, pangolins, and elephant ivory.”
- Bringing together government authorities, regulators, law enforcement, and the private sector to enhance controls to combat money laundering and the illicit proceeds connected to drug and wildlife trafficking.
Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen emphasized that in order “[t]o protect wildlife populations from further poaching and disrupt the associated illicit trade, we must ‘follow the money’ in the same way we do with other serious crimes.”