September 4, 2019

Cassidy Releases White Paper Addressing Trade-Based Money Laundering as a Top National Security Threat

WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), member of the Senate Committee on Finance and the Joint Economic Committee, today released the following statement and white paper addressing trade-based money laundering (TBML) as a top national security threat which ties together drug trafficking, terrorism, and dangerous counterfeit consumer products. 

Cartels and terrorist organizations have hijacked the international trade network to transfer funds across international borders in order to circumvent traditional, monitored banking systems, a practice commonly known as TBML. 

“Cartels and terrorists are moving billions of dollars unchecked to fund their violent organizations,” said Dr. Cassidy.Trade-based money laundering is one of America’s biggest national security threats that almost no one is paying attention to. To solve, we must employ an all-of-government approach.”

“Trade-based money laundering (TBML)…can be done by misrepresenting price, quantity, or quality of imports or exports. [Below] illustrates an example of TBML,” wrote Dr. Cassidy.

TBML White Paper Image

“America’s intelligence agencies, law enforcement, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Treasury Department, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Justice, and the private sector must strategically cooperate to confront terrorist and criminal activity… There also needs to be a legislative agenda to strengthen national security by countering trade-based money laundering and disrupting drug trafficking, terrorism, adulteration of critical supply chains, and the sale of counterfeit goods,” Cassidy continued.

“Terror networks such as Hezbollah are…using the United States’ banking, trade, and supply chain systems to aid and abet crimes. Drug cartels have also been extremely successful in financing their operations, moving as much as $100 billion through U.S. financial systems,” said Cassidy.

Hezbollah was recently designated as a terrorist group by countries in the Tri-Border Area (Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil). Its presence in Latin America is dangerous.

“TBML [is] one of the most profitable and safe mechanisms to launder money, and it is imperative that Congress act. Until we prioritize TBML as a national security concern, corrupt actors will continue to use licit trade to fund illicit activities,” Cassidy concluded.

Cassidy’s white paper addresses:

  • What is trade-based money laundering and how does it affect every American’s security?
  • How to use trade data and intelligence data to combat TBML.
  • The need for private and public sector cooperation.
  • Methods to enhance cooperation with our trading partners to identify TBML via trade agreements.

This Congress, Cassidy introduced a bipartisan bill to combat money laundering and terrorism by expanding the capacity of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). FinCEN recently announced the formation of a unit focused on money laundering on a global scale – Cassidy voiced support.