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 offense in its own right, it is also related to other forms of serious and organized crime. Professional money launderers’ core business model is to perform money-laundering services on behalf of other criminal groups.
On February 21, the Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the United States Department of the Treasury visited the Europol headquarters and discussed how Europol and FinCEN can better work together to safeguard the international financial system from illicit use.
Mr. Kenneth A. Blanco, Director of FinCEN, and Mr Wil van Gemert, Deputy Executive Director of Europol, Operations Directorate, have 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.
“Europol is designed to operate in partnership with law enforcement agencies, governmental departments and other stakeholders,” said van Gemert. “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 organized crime, cybercrime and terrorism. The system of liaison officers ensures that the interests of our stakeholders are represented at Europol’s headquarters.”
Director Blanco said the 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 financial systems and citizens from harm. “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.”
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.