Today the Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the United States Department of the Treasury visited the Europol headquarters and discussed how the Europol and FinCEN can better work together to safeguard the international financial system from illicit use.
FINCEN AT EUROPOL
Mr. Kenneth A. Blanco, Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and Mr Wil van Gemert, Deputy Executive Director of Europol, Operations Directorate, agreed to deploy a FinCEN Liaison Officer to the Europol headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands. The Liaison Officer will support and coordinate the cooperation between FinCEN, Europol and EU Member States – in particular, when exchanging information.
Wil van Gemert, Deputy Executive Director of Europol: “Europol is designed to operate in partnership with law enforcement agencies, governmental departments and other stakeholders. We embrace the idea of collective intelligence, in the sense of a large group of individuals that gather and share their knowledge, strategic views and skills for the purpose of preventing and combating all forms of serious international and organised crime, cybercrime and terrorism. The system of liaison officers ensures that the interests of our stakeholders are represented at Europol’s headquarters.
“This agreement strengthens the already excellent partnership between FinCEN and Europol and will help facilitate the exchange of vital financial information in a more effective and efficient way in order to better protect our financial system and citizens from harm, “ said Director Blanco. “We are fortunate to be able to provide a dedicated and talented liaison who is committed to our mutual mission of keeping our nations and families safer on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond.”
Almost all criminal activities yield profits, often in the form of cash, that criminals then seek to launder through various channels. While money laundering is an offence in its own right, it is also related to other forms of serious and organised crime. Professional money launderers’ core business model is to perform money-laundering services on behalf of other criminal groups.
A COORDINATED APPROACH
The scale of money laundering is difficult to assess, but it is considered to be significant. Europol’s Financial Intelligence Unit has a broad mandate in the area of combating money laundering, terrorism financing and asset recovery. The Financial Intelligence Unit provides Member States with intelligence and forensic support to prevent and tackle international money laundering and terrorism financing activities and to support Member States when recovering the proceeds of crime. The main objective of money laundering, terrorism financing and asset recovery investigations is to identify the criminals involved, disrupt their associates, and recover and confiscate the proceeds of their crimes.
FinCEN’s mission is to safeguard the financial system from illicit use, combat money laundering, and promote national security through the strategic use of financial authorities and the collection, analysis, and dissemination of financial intelligence.
HOW IT WORK
FinCEN is a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury and carries out its mission by receiving and maintaining financial transactions data; analysing and disseminating that data for law enforcement purposes; regulating banks and other financial institutions concerning the detection, reporting and prevention of money laundering and countering terrorism financing; and building global cooperation with its international counterparts.
Europol is the European Union’s law enforcement agency. Headquartered in The Hague, the Netherlands, Europol supports the 28 EU Member States in their fight against terrorism, cybercrime and other serious and organised forms of crime. With over 1100 staff members, Europol uses state-of-the-art tools to support some 40,000 international investigations each year, serving as a centre for law enforcement cooperation, analytical expertise and criminal intelligence.
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