The Hague - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Executive Associate Director Peter T. Edge and Europol Director Rob Wainwright signed an agreement formalizing HSI’s membership in Europol’s Focal Point (FP) Sustrans, which targets organized crime networks involved in money laundering.
HSI plays a key role in combating cross-border crime and is a leader in the global fight against transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) that exploit legitimate travel, trade and financial systems for illicit purposes. HSI pursues intelligence-driven investigations that focus on identifying the methods by which TCOs move, store, and attempt to legitimize illicit proceeds through money laundering, bulk currency smuggling, and other financial and trade-related crimes.
“Simply put, when we follow the money, we find criminals. Some criminal enterprises focus on smuggling and cybercrime, others drugs and arms trafficking, but all of them - including those engaged in terrorism finance - try to manipulate financial systems for their gain, which is another avenue we can use to disrupt and dismantle their operations,” said Edge. “Today’s signing signals HSI’s commitment to the international cooperation that is crucial to law enforcement success in this arena.”
HSI’s membership in FP Sustrans brings new capabilities and expanded reach to Europol’s fight against terrorist and criminal financial networks. HSI’s broad statutory authority and rich subject matter expertise have already contributed significantly to Europol’s response to migrant smuggling and to the November 13, 2015, terrorist attacks in Paris. Today’s signing further strengthens information sharing and collaboration with Europol and law enforcement agencies throughout Europe to defeat illicit trade, travel and financial networks that threaten global security.
Wainwright underlined the added value the agreement brings to Europol’s endeavors stating, “In this technological era, nations around the world cannot tackle criminality on their own. Money laundering is a complex and relentless offense which requires a concerted international response. I am therefore delighted to see such an important partner join our continued efforts to build a borderless law enforcement community.”
In addition to FP Sustrans, HSI belongs to FP Checkpoint, Europol’s network devoted to combating human smuggling networks and participates in the Joint Operations Team Mare, an initiative focused on countering irregular migration in the Mediterranean.