Senior Obama administration leaders today outlined what they are calling a new strategy to combat international crime, one that includes a legislative push to give federal prosecutors more tools to go after the money of criminal syndicates.
Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and David Cohen, the Treasury Department under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, presented the plan today to State, DOJ and other officials.
In prepared remarks, Holder said the legislative updates, including extending the reach of anti-money laundering provisions, will target the “financial backbone” of criminal groups.
“They also would enhance our ability to identify and respond to the most common, and often evolving, tactics—and methods of communication—that criminal organizations use to conceal their illicit operations and profits,” Holder said.
The Justice Department, he said, wants to modernize racketeering laws to expand their reach to new crimes, including weapons trafficking, healthcare and securities fraud and the anti-bribery law called the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
President Obama today issued an executive order governing the blocking of property in the United States that belongs to transnational criminal organizations. The order included four groups, including The Brothers’ Circle in Moscow and Los Zetas, the drug trafficking outlet in Mexico.