Follow the money: how environmental crime is handled by anti-money laundering systems in Brazil, Colombia, and Peru

Environmental crime in the Amazon has become one of the largest illicit economies in the world, generating annual profits estimated at between $110 billion and $281 billion. However, only 6.3% of money laundering cases reported between 2017 and 2020 to the Financial Action Task Force of Latin America (Gafilat), the main body responsible for combating illicit financial flows in the region, were related to environmental crimes.

To assess the level of attention and priority given to environmental crimes at each stage of the anti-money laundering system, we are launching the second publication in the “Follow the Money” series. Focusing on the three key countries of the Amazon basin – Brazil, Colombia, and Peru – the study proposes an analytical approach to the legal and institutional capacities to combat money laundering in five dimensions: 1) strategic planning and preventive measures; 2) monitoring and detection – financial intelligence units; 3) mandatory reporting of suspicious transactions; 4) criminal investigation; and 5) Prosecution and sanctions.

The report also suggests improvements even within countries’ current regulatory systems, such as investing in training and in new risk classification techniques and typologies that can alert intelligence agencies to environmental crimes. Another suggestion is regional cooperation between anti-money laundering and environmental agencies, and other government agencies.

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Haven’t seen the first publication in the series? Please access “Follow the Money: Connecting Anti-Money Laundering Systems to Combat Environmental Crimes in the Amazon”

Access the first publication of the Follow the Money series

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