Ottawa, Feb 1 (IANS) Canada’s federal financial intelligence unit has published a new operational alert to assist businesses in better identifying and reporting financial transactions related to the laundering of proceeds of crime from illegal wildlife trade.
In a statement, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) said on Tuesday the alert, Laundering the Proceeds of Crime from Illegal Wildlife Trade, will facilitate the production of actionable financial intelligence in support of law enforcement investigations of this appalling and cruel crime in Canada and abroad, Xinhua news agency reported.
The alert is based on a strategic analysis of suspicious transaction reporting received by the FINTRAC and it is supported by credible and compelling domestic and international research, as well as information and input from Project Anton, a new international public-private partnership aimed at improving awareness and understanding of the global threat posed by illegal wildlife trade, and targeting the laundering of proceeds from this crime, the statement added.
Illegal wildlife trade as a major transnational organised crime generates billions, some have estimated nearly $20 billion, of criminal proceeds each year. In Canada, bears are killed for their bile, paws and other parts, which are then sold for a large profit domestically and internationally. Moose, wolves, reptiles and narwhals, among others, are also considered species at risk for the Canadian illegal wildlife market, according to the statement.
The illegal wildlife trade often involves fraud schemes, tax evasion and other serious crimes that facilitate the illicit enterprise. Organised crime groups involved in wildlife crime are often also involved in other domestic and internationally connected criminal activity such as human trafficking, drug trafficking, firearm trafficking and money laundering, the statement said.