The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) on Thursday issued a notice to banks and other financial institutions calling attention to what it has identified as a rising trend in environmental crimes.
Global environmental crimes “now rank as the third largest illicit activity in the world following the trafficking of drugs and counterfeit goods,” FinCEN stated. Examples of such crimes include wildlife trafficking, illegal logging, illegal fishing, illegal mining, and waste and hazardous substances trafficking.
The notice aligns with President Joe Biden’s whole-of-government approach to combat the causes of climate change. But FinCEN, a bureau of the Treasury Department, expanded the ramifications further, noting environmental crimes’ strong association with illicit financial activity.
“Environmental crimes frequently involve transnational organized crime and corruption and are often associated with a variety of other crimes including money laundering, bribery, theft, forgery, tax evasion, fraud, human trafficking, and drug trafficking,” the agency said.
The notice includes instructions for financial institutions filing suspicious activity reports (SARs) related to environmental crimes, including what to detail and keywords to include in such filings.