Homeland Security Investigations

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs

In 2014, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), provided financial investigations training to over 430 foreign law enforcement officers; regulatory, intelligence, and administrative agencies; judicial authorities; and bank and trade officials from over 12 nations. Employing broad experience and expertise in conducting international financial investigations, HSI designed the training to provide the attendees with the critical skills necessary to successfully identify and investigate financial crimes.

Cross Border Financial Investigations Training Program

HSI’s Cross Border Financial Investigation Training (CBFIT) program provides specialized training, technical assistance, and best practices related to cross-border financial investigations to foreign law enforcement personnel, intelligence and administrative agencies, and judicial authorities. CBFIT provides foreign partners with the capability to implement international standards, with special emphasis on new technologies, dissuasive actions, competent authorities, international cooperation, alternative remittance, and cash couriers.

The U.S. Department of State has provided HSI with funds to manage and implement the CBFIT program and to enhance the ability of foreign law enforcement personnel to deter terrorists and terrorist groups. HSI International Operations administers the CBFIT program and has provided blocks of training detailing cross-border financial crimes, new trends and aspects of money laundering, and sharing of best practices on how to initiate multi-jurisdictional investigations following bulk cash interdiction incidents. During fiscal year 2014, International Operations conducted 11 CBFIT training events for several countries, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, Jordan, Maldives, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates.

Cross Border Financial Investigations Advisor

HSI special agents have been deployed for extended periods of time to foreign posts to serve as resident cross border financial investigations advisors (CBFIA). For the entire length of the temporary duty assignment, the advisors work in support of the HSI attaché with appropriate host nation agencies (customs/border authorities, investigators, prosecutors, financial investigations units, etc.) to organize and conduct financial investigation training seminars at various locations within each host nation. Moreover, the advisors are available to host nation authorities for response to incidents involving the discovery or interdiction of currency or other financial instruments and the development of financial investigations. This provides the host nation the opportunity to employ the material and tactics learned in the classroom in a real world setting, while at the same time having the benefit of the experience, guidance, and investigative resources of HSI. During fiscal year 2014, HSI deployed 14 subject matter experts to serve as advisors under the CBFIA program in Argentina, Brazil, Ethiopia, Jordan, Nepal, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates.

Trade Transparency Units

Trade Transparency Units (TTUs) are designed to help identify significant disparities in import and export trade documentation and identify anomalies related to cross-border trade that are indicative of international trade-based money laundering. TTUs generate, initiate, and support investigations and prosecutions related to trade-based money laundering, the illegal movement of criminal proceeds across international borders, the abuse of alternative remittance systems, and other financial crimes. By sharing trade data, HSI and participating foreign governments are able to see both sides of import and export transactions for commodities entering or exiting their countries, thus assisting in the investigation of international money laundering organizations. The number of trade-based money laundering investigations emerging from TTU activity continues to grow.

The United States established a TTU within DHS/HSI that generates both domestic and international investigations. With funding support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, HSI continued to expand the network of operational TTUs, which now includes Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, and Paraguay. As part of the TTU initiative, HSI provides equipment and increased operational support to these TTU partners to ensure the network’s successful development.