Global Threats Require a Concerted National and International Approach

Faced with the foregoing, it is important that we find ways to best leverage the experience and law enforcement framework that has been developed to combat crime in significant part by tracing the financial proceeds, in ways that can also be used to combat the hopefully less common instances of financing of terrorism. This applies both within each jurisdiction, but increasingly on a transnational scale. I recognize that there is a perception outside the United States that my country takes an aggressive stance in the fight against money laundering and in particular terrorist financing, but I would like to emphasize that the U.S. Government very much favors a multinational approach. Rather than repeating details with which the audience today is very familiar - about the international consensus on the need for global implementation of international anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) standards, I would instead wish to reiterate the commitment to them.

In the recent testimony of Under Secretary Levey which I mentioned earlier,12 he touched on the critical role that the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, of which FinCEN is a part, plays in protecting U.S. national security; which in turn enhances our economic security and global prosperity.

  • Given the global nature of the financial system, focusing only on the U.S. financial system and its AML/CFT regime is not sufficient. Safeguarding the U.S. financial system requires global solutions and effective action by financial centers throughout the world. We work toward this objective through multilateral bodies that set and seek to ensure global compliance with strong international standards.
  • The Treasury Department primarily advances this strategic objective through the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which articulates standards in the form of recommendations, guidelines, and best practices. The FATF standards have been recognized by more than 175 jurisdictions and have been integrated into the work of international organizations such as the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.13 The FATF seeks global implementation of its standards through a number of mechanisms. Partnership with the IMF, World Bank and FATF-Style Regional Bodies ensures that every country in the world is assessed against the same standards using the same methodology. AML/CFT is one of twelve core standards used by the IMF to evaluate financial sector stability and is the sole required standard for all countries. As of September 2007, the IMF had conducted 50 assessments -- four of which were done jointly with the World Bank -- of country compliance with AML/CFT standards. These assessments highlight the key deficiencies for countries seeking to improve their AML/CFT standards. We have seen steady progress in legislation by countries to address their deficiencies identified in their assessments. Assessments also highlight deficiencies in a way that is useful to the private sector in assessing risk.

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