The U.S. Department of Justice wants stronger asset forfeiture and money laundering laws put in place around the world to better disrupt and dismantle international criminal organizations, the department's second-in-command said today in remarks in Singapore.
Deputy Attorney General David Ogden, who spoke on a panel at an Interpol general assembly meeting, said stronger asset forfeiture laws are "essential weapons" in the fight against international crime.
“Right now, international organized crime pays—and we need to change that,” he said in prepared remarks.
Certain forfeiture laws should not require that individuals or organizations be convicted of crimes before any steps can be taken against ill-gotten assets, Ogden said in the remarks. “This tool is essential in transnational cases where the crime is committed in one country but the illicit proceeds are located in another,” he said, explaining the need for forfeiture laws that do not require precedent criminal convictions.
Ogden, chair of the department’s Organized Crime Council, also announced a new Justice Department strategy to respond to international organized crime. He said the strategy focuses on four elements—including increasing partnerships abroad and improved sharing of information among law enforcement agencies in the United States and around the world.
In May, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. established the new International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center. The center, nicknamed IOC-2, allows partner agencies in the United States to combine resources for transnational investigations. Ogden called IOC-2 a good “start” in combining U.S. resources.
Transnational crime threatens “the lives and security of those in every nation it touches—and it touches us all,” Ogden said in his remarks. “Together, we must meet this threat through thoughtful and coordinated action.”