FinCEN Asks Banks to Watch for Transactions Linked to Environmental Crimes

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The U.S. Treasury Department’s anti-money-laundering watchdog on Thursday issued its first-ever advisory on environmental crimes, asking banks and other financial institutions to pay special attention to transactions that may be linked to activity that the agency says contributes to climate change and a loss of biodiversity.

A bureau of the Treasury, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, is both a regulator and a collector of financial intelligence whose mission it is to stop the flow of money linked to a range of criminal activity.

Environmental crime ranks as the third-largest illicit activity in the world, generating hundreds of billions in estimated profits, according to FinCEN. The agency has asked banks to file a report when they come across a transaction that might be linked to such activity.

One reason to give priority to these types of activities is that environmental crimes are often tied to corruption and transnational criminal organizations, FinCEN said. Both are priorities named by FinCEN in June as areas on which banks should focus their compliance resources.

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