This is an extract from the Intelligence Briefing on Illegal Wildlife Trafficking by Financial Crime News. To obtain a copy of the Briefing contact FCN directly.
Wildlife Trafficking endangers many species, with particular concern over iconic African mammals, such as the Elephant and the Rhino, but also the Pangolin, which is the most trafficked mammal of all, Gorillas, Big Cats, Reptiles, Birds (like the African Grey Parrot) and wildlife from outside Africa.
Wildlife Trafficking generates significant proceeds from Elephant, Rhino and Pangolin markets.
The Elephant Ivory market is valued at approximately US$240 million to $720, with the Rhino market valued at between US$91 million and $698 million and for Pangolin’s the market is estimated at US$46 million annually.
Wildlife Trafficking in Elephant Ivory, Rhino Horn and Pangolin Meat and Scales is undertaken alongside other crimes, not just those to facilitate the illicit trade like corruption and forgery of documents, and the killing of rangers, and by organised criminal gangs also involved in drugs, arms, goods and human trafficking as well as in some cases links have been drawn to terrorist groups operating in Africa..
Is Money Laundering a modern phenomena?
Whilst the term “money laundering” in the sense we understand it now was first used in print in 1973 during the Watergate scandalmoney laundering as a practice reaches much further back into history. Its origins may lie as far back as 4,000BC when Chinese merchants found ways to conceal or move assets accumulated through trade in order to avoid confiscation. We can see many of the actions that form the basis for money laundering throughout history; such as the trafficking of opium after cultivation of the opium poppy began in c. 3400BC, counterfeiting of coins recorded in 640BC, the case of Hegestratos’ Fraud in 300BC, or Roman laws addressing forgery which were enacted through 80BC.