Trade-based money laundering: not just a bank’s burden


May 15 2017

Financial crime was at the forefront of the agenda at the 2017 annual conference of the Bankers Association for Finance and Trade (BAFT): on top of a number of banks’ compliance officers and compliance technology providers, speakers included representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). These specialists helped the audience understand what trade-based money laundering (TBML) and terrorist financing look like on the ground, and how authorities tackle these cases.

Banks are a crucial link in the physical and financial supply chain that handles illicit trade – but they are only one component. Exporters, importers, freight forwarders, shippers, ports and customs authorities are all interlinked parts of this ecosystem, all contributing to trade in one way or another. Why, then, does it seem like regulators are placing the burden of combatting TBML solely on banks?