By Grace Zhao, July 24, 2014
Any Effective Effort to Save Rhinos, Tigers, and Pandas from Extinction Must Tackle the Anonymous Companies that Propel the Illegal Wildlife Trade
Wildlife trafficking is more than illegally killing exotic animals; it is part of a complex criminal network that makes use of anonymous companies to illegally transfer both goods and money.
The illegal wildlife trade consists of the poaching, sale, and trade of exotic wildlife. Animals are used for food, medicine, commercial products, and even as pets. The illegal trade hosts a bevy of clientele in both developing and developed countries.
We probably all know that wildlife trafficking can be grisly and disturbing. Rhino horns are hacked off, turtles are stuffed into suitcases, and bear gall bladders are milked from living animals. The impact on biodiversity is astounding. According to our 2011 report, Transnational Crime in the Developing World, only 500,000 elephants exist today compared to a population of 1.2 million in the 1970s. The world’s tiger population has plummeted to just 3,200—down 95 percent since 1900, and an entire species of Rhino went extinct in 2009.
By Grace Zhao, July 2, 2014
A couple weeks ago, we wrote a blog post hoping that discipline would go further up the BNP food chain. Unfortunately, the U.S.-BNP Paribas settlement still ineffectively punishes the French bank.
France’s BNP Paribas has agreed to pay a historically large fine of $9 billion for violating sanctions on Sudan, Iran, and Cuba. At face value, this seems to be a big deal. After all, no bank has ever been fined so much for similar crimes.
Yet yesterday, shares in BNP Paribas rose 4 percent, even after the bank pled guilty to a criminal charge. Moreover, no single person within the bank has been charged specifically with any crimes, allowing those who abused executive power to slip away relatively unnoticed. BNP did fire a few employees. Some left on their own. Others faced demotions and pay cuts, small atonements for the billions of dollars that the bank illegally transferred.
By Michele Fletcher, June 11, 2014
Boko Haram developed from social unrest, poverty, and a strong disillusionment with the corruption of the Nigerian government. Today, the same factors make Boko Haram lethal.
Nigeria’s rampant corruption has left the nation unequipped to deal with security concerns, especially along porous borders through which Boko Haram receives immense support. A look at one of their videos reveals an immense amount of weaponry that is not only costly, but very difficult to obtain.
Boko Haram is capitalizing on the destitute and weak areas in the north of Nigeria to extract money from civilians, as well as financial opacity to receive funding from international criminal networks, and channel it towards arms acquisition from abroad: one of many examples of the inextricable link between financial concerns and national security.
By E.J. Fagan, May 21, 2014
On Friday, Global Financial Integrity hosted professors Michael Findley and Daniel Nielson to talk about their new book, Global Shell Games, Experiments in Transnational Relations, Crime, and Terrorism.
The book follows their ground-breaking paper, Global Shell Games: Testing Money Launderers’ and Terrorist Financiers’ Access to Shell Companies, which was published in 2012. The authors approached nearly 4,000 services in over 180 countries in a random assignment experience designed to measure how difficult it was to convince a corporate service provider or law firm to create a shell company without proper identification.
By Jeremy Haken, December 17, 2010
In August 2010, the bodies of 72 immigrants were discovered in Tamaulipas, a state in northeastern Mexico. While nobody knows the sequence of events that led to this massacre, it is well known that Tamaulipas is at the center of a turf war between two powerful drug cartels, the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel. Control of territory and trafficking routes is critical as it enables the cartels to expand their criminal operations to include other moneymaking endeavors like fuel bunkering, prostitution, kidnapping, and even software piracy.
By Jeremy Haken, August 30, 2010
When you first hear about it, the trafficking of human organs sounds like a gruesome black-market practice, carried out by the shadowy characters of the global criminal underworld. And you wouldn’t be entirely wrong. Just Google “organ trafficking” and you’ll see hundreds of pictures of people holding up their shirts to reveal long scars from where their kidneys have been removed. None of the people photographed look like your college roommate or the captain of the tennis team. None of them are reclined in a plush Manhattan parlor or smiling as they climb into the back of a town car. They’re usually sitting on the dirty city streets of developing countries or lying on hospital cots looking undernourished and desperate. Add to this image the unconfirmed reports of people being kidnapped for the express purpose of organ removal and the whole business just seems disgusting and hellish.