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FINTRAC, in collaboration with the Project Anton team, issues an alert on money laundering proceedings from illegal wildlife trade.
FINTRAC has published a new operational alert to counter money laundering and proceeds of crime from illegal Wildlife trade which assists businesses subject to money laundering and terrorist financing to identify and report financial transactions associated with illicit wildlife trade.
This reporting will facilitate the production of actionable financial intelligence supporting law enforcement investigations of this horrendous and vicious crime in Canada and abroad.
FINTRAC’s operational alert was created in backing of Project Anton, a new international public-private cooperation aimed at improving understanding and awareness of the global threat posed by illegal wildlife trade, targeting despicable crime domestically and internationally. The project was named in honour of Anton Mzimba, the head of security at the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve and a Global Conservation Technical Advisor who was killed in 2022 while protecting and conserving wildlife.
Illegal wildlife trade is a significant threat to biodiversity and the global environment, species that are already rare, habitats, communities and livelihoods.
FATF (Financial Action Task Force) also has identified wildlife trade as a major transnational crime that produces billions for criminal proceedings every year. According to the Wildlife Justice Commission news, illegal wildlife trading is a low-risk and high-reward criminal activity that often involves fraud schemes and tax evasion.
In addition to money laundering and organised crime, human, drug, and weapon trafficking, and associations that deal in wildlife crime typically engage in other forms of crime.
Many officials from notable firms commented on illegal wildlife trade and its association with heinous crimes such as trafficking and money laundering.
According to Sarah Paquet, Director and CEO of FINTRAC, “Illegal wildlife trade is an appalling and merciless crime committed for financial gain and to advance other criminal enterprises. It threatens our environment, public health, prosperity, and the safety and security of our communities. Together with our dedicated Project Anton partners in Canada and around the world, we are determined to follow the money and leverage the power of financial intelligence to help target, disrupt and dismantle the organised criminal networks that profit from this insidious illicit activity.”
Nicole Rose, Chief Executive Officer, AUSTRAC said, “Criminals rely on financial services to enable their activities, whether drug, human or wildlife trafficking. AUSTRAC’s Fintel Alliance pools the diverse capability of government agencies and financial institutions to generate financial intelligence to disrupt crime and has led to the targeting of transnational organised crime syndicates trading in illegal wildlife. Initiatives like Project Anton reinforce the impact that close cooperation between governments and industry can have in combating crime.”