On the heels of a first-ever conference tackling the emerging and dangerous issue of trade-based money laundering (TBML), the U.S. Senate Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Committee has earmarked $2 million in assessment funding for FY 2020.
The September 18 conference, held at George Mason University’s Arlington campus and hosted by the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC) at the Schar School of Policy and Government, featured a day of panel discussions made up of more than 25 experts from around the world, representing the fields of finance, public policy, nongovernment organizations, think tanks, and academia.
The conference served to raise awareness of the prevalence of the practice, said keynote speaker, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who helped secure the funding. “Cartels and terrorists are moving billions of dollars unchecked to fund their violent organizations,” he said, adding that the crime “links together drug trafficking, human trafficking, terrorism, Hezbollah, and dangerous counterfeit products.”
“The conference on trade-based money laundering brought this important national security and financial issue to a diverse audience,” said Louise Shelley, director of TraCCC. “The conference also highlighted the key role that TBML facilitated by corruption plays in environmental crime.”
“Trade-based money laundering is America’s biggest national security threat that almost no one is paying attention to,” Cassidy added. “In order to solve this crisis, we need to bring it into the national conversation.”
The conference, he said, “elevates the issue.”