U.S.: Haven for Eco Criminals to Conceal Money

Strengthening US anti-money laundering laws to combat environmental crime


A new report from the FACT Coalition has called for the US to strengthen its anti-money laundering laws, citing existing loopholes that enable environmental criminals to evade detection while laundering money from crimes in the Amazon. The report, which examined previous cases of illegal gold mining and logging in Latin America, urges the US to take action to close these loopholes and prevent such crimes from being financed through its banking system.

Environmental crime and money laundering

The report compiled evidence from interviews with experts and officials in the US, Columbia, and Peru, which suggested that the proceeds of environmental crimes such as illegal gold mining and logging were likely being laundered through the US banking system. The report highlights the serious consequences of this practice, which not only threatens delicate ecosystems but also fuels other forms of illegal activity, including corruption, terrorism, human trafficking, and drug trafficking.

The need for stronger anti-money laundering laws

Given the serious risks posed by environmental crime and money laundering, the report recommends that the US take action to close loopholes in its anti-money laundering laws. Specifically, it calls for:

The creation of anti-money laundering rules for real estate professionals
The addition of illegal deforestation as a specific offense in money laundering laws
The passage of legislation requiring more transparency of the true owners of anonymous shell companies

If implemented, these recommendations could help prevent US banks from being used to launder the proceeds of environmental crime, thereby reducing the harm done to fragile ecosystems and enabling law enforcement to better tackle related illegal activities.

A global problem

While the report focuses on the US, it acknowledges that environmental crime and money laundering are global problems that require concerted international efforts to combat. The FACT Coalition, which is US-based, therefore calls on organizations in other countries to conduct similar research and take action to prevent environmental crimes from being financed through international banking systems.


The FACT Coalition’s report provides compelling evidence that environmental crimes are being financed through US banks and calls on the US to take action to close loopholes in its anti-money laundering laws. By implementing the recommendations in the report, the US could help to prevent the financial support of environmental crime and reduce harm to delicate ecosystems. However, given that these crimes have global implications, it is important for other countries to also take action to prevent the laundering of proceeds from environmental crimes.

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