London. Standard Chartered today announced that it has signed up to the Financial Taskforce convened by His Royal Highness, Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge through United for Wildlife, a conservation collaboration focusing on illegal wildlife trade.
United for Wildlife’s Financial Taskforce is chaired by Lord Hague of Richmond, with David Fein, Standard Chartered’s General Counsel, serving as vice chair.
Standard Chartered, alongside representatives of other financial institutions, legal advisors and technical experts, has committed to implement appropriate measures to improve the identification and reporting of this crime in a bid to disrupt the illegal income generated by the trade in wildlife products such as elephant tusks, ivory horn and pangolin scales.
The illegal wildlife trade (IWT) is organised crime on a global scale, estimated to be worth up to $23 billion annually, and is linked to money laundering, corruption and extreme violence, as well as the trafficking of drugs and weapons.
Using existing frameworks for tackling global financial crime, alongside initiatives which some financial institutions are already utilising to tackle IWT, the Taskforce has created a six-point declaration that covers actions including:
1. Raising awareness of IWT and the financial crimes associated with it.
2. Staff training to support IWT investigations.
3. Utilise current financial reporting infrastructures when looking at IWT cases.
4. Review and action Taskforce intelligence reports outlining suspicious IWT financial activity.
5. Consider additional actions, examples include policy amendments that support the aims of the Taskforce.
6. Promote the Taskforce commitments and its successes.
David Fein commented: “For too long, illegal wildlife trafficking has been viewed seen solely as a conservation issue. In reality, it’s a transnational organised crime with links to modern slavery, and the trades in narcotics and arms.
“By following the money, financial institutions can help map the criminal networks and provide law enforcement with vital intelligence to support their investigations and prosecutions. We want to take the fight to the traffickers, by using the tools and experience the financial sector has learned from combatting other devastating crimes, such as human trafficking and terrorist financing.”
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