Legislative Basis for the INCSR

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs

The Money Laundering and Financial Crimes section of the Department of State’s International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) has been prepared in accordance with section 489 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (the “FAA,” 22 U.S.C. § 2291). The 2015 INCSR is the 31st annual report prepared pursuant to the FAA.[1]

The FAA requires a report on the extent to which each country or entity that received assistance under chapter 8 of Part I of the Foreign Assistance Act in the past two fiscal years has “met the goals and objectives of the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances” (“1988 UN Drug Convention”) (FAA § 489(a)(1)(A)).

Although the 1988 UN Drug Convention does not contain a list of goals and objectives, it does set forth a number of obligations the parties agree to undertake. Generally speaking, it requires the parties to take legal measures to outlaw and punish all forms of illicit drug production, trafficking, and drug money laundering; to control chemicals that can be used to process illicit drugs; and to cooperate in international efforts to these ends. The statute lists action by foreign countries on the following issues as relevant to evaluating performance under the 1988 UN Drug Convention: illicit cultivation, production, distribution, sale, transport and financing, money laundering, asset seizure, extradition, mutual legal assistance, law enforcement and transit cooperation, precursor chemical control, and demand reduction.

In attempting to evaluate whether countries and certain entities are meeting the goals and objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the Department has used the best information it has available. The 2015 INCSR covers countries that range from major drug producing and drug-transit countries, where drug control is a critical element of national policy, to small countries or entities where drug issues or the capacity to deal with them are minimal. In addition to identifying countries as major sources of precursor chemicals used in the production of illicit narcotics, the INCSR is mandated to identify major money laundering countries (FAA §489(a)(3)(C)). The INCSR also is required to report findings on each country’s adoption of laws and regulations to prevent narcotics-related money laundering (FAA §489(a)(7)(C)). This report is the section of the INCSR that reports on money laundering and financial crimes.

A major money laundering country is defined by statute as one “whose financial institutions engage in currency transactions involving significant amounts of proceeds from international narcotics trafficking” (FAA § 481(e)(7)). However, the complex nature of money laundering transactions today makes it difficult in many cases to distinguish the proceeds of narcotics trafficking from the proceeds of other serious crime. Moreover, financial institutions engaging in transactions involving significant amounts of proceeds of other serious crime are vulnerable to narcotics-related money laundering. Additionally, money laundering activity has moved beyond banks and traditional financial institutions to other non-financial businesses and professions and alternative money and value transfer systems. This year’s list of major money laundering countries recognizes this relationship by including all countries and other jurisdictions whose financial institutions and/or non-financial businesses and professions or other value transfer systems engage in transactions involving significant amounts of proceeds from all serious crime. A government (e.g., the United States or the United Kingdom) can have comprehensive anti-money laundering laws on its books and conduct aggressive anti-money laundering enforcement efforts but still be classified a major money laundering jurisdiction. In some cases, this classification may simply or largely be a function of the size and/or sophistication of the jurisdiction’s economy. In such jurisdictions, quick, continuous, and effective anti-money laundering efforts by the government are critical. The following countries/jurisdictions have been identified this year in this category:

Major Money Laundering Countries in 2014:

Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Burma, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Islands, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guernsey, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Somalia, Spain, St. Maarten, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, West Bank and Gaza, and Zimbabwe.

The Money Laundering and Financial Crimes section provides further information on these countries/jurisdictions, as required by section 489 of the FAA.

[1] The 2015 report on Money Laundering and Financial Crimes is a legislatively mandated section of the U.S. Department of State’s annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. This 2015 report on Money Laundering and Financial Crimes is based upon the contributions of numerous U.S. Government agencies and international sources. Specifically, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which, as a member of the international Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, has unique strategic and tactical perspective on international anti-money laundering developments. Many other agencies also provided information on international training as well as technical and other assistance, including the following: Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations and Customs and Border Protection; Department of Justice’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section of Justice’s Criminal Division, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Office for Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training; and, Treasury’s Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, Internal Revenue Service, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and Office of Technical Assistance. Also providing information on training and technical assistance are the independent regulatory agencies, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Federal Reserve Board.