Broaden the current definition of 'money-laundering' crimes to include illegal wildlife trade & illegal timber felling in the UK & Commonwealth

Posted on 11-10-18 by Zak Number of votes: 0 | Number of comments: 1

Animals - both dead and alive - are being bought and sold on an industrial scale as food, pets, medicines and even ornaments. This is having a catastrophic effect on the wildlife of many countries, especially in Commonwealth countries like South Africa & India pushing species like elephants & rhinos into becoming critically endangered.

However, what many don't realise is that this monstrous trade is partly enabled by money men who finance not only the poachers who killed the beautiful creatures like rhinos & elephants but also the buyers in the 'end country', so in order to clamp down on this trade more effectively action needs to be taken against these money men.

How? I propose that a future Labour-run Treasury:

 

1) Investigate how the current definition of 'money-laundering' can be extended to not only just include the proceeds of 'money-laundering' & 'organised crime' in both the UK & Commonwealth but also broaden to include 'money-laundering' the proceeds of environmental crimes like illegal wildlife trade (e.g. smuggling endangered animals like Pangolin, fur & bone trade in endangered species like tigers as well as ivory smuggling) & illegal timber felling (e.g. felling rare trees in endangered rainforests) in both the UK & Commonwealth.

 

2) Investigate how it can be made more easier for UK-based & Commonwealth-based environmental groups to launch class-action lawsuits against UK-based & UK-territory based firms (e.g. banks & investment firms) that facilitate 'money-laundering' of illegal wildlife trade & illegal timber felling.

 

In case anyone is wondering how effective broadening the definition of 'money-laundering' to illegal wildlife trade & illegal timber felling can be to tackling the menace of illegal wildlife trade & illegal timber felling below is an interesting article by the BBC on this very topic.

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-45784627

 

Excerpt from the above link: "For each of these trafficked animals, money changes hands - across the palms of corrupt officials, between those involved in the trade on the ground and on the internet. Yet these money flows are often overlooked in the fight to curb the illegal wildlife trade. At a conference in London this week, financial approaches to dismantling the criminal networks involved will be discussed. Rather than "follow the money", the most common approach remains that of "follow the animal". Much of this money is exchanged physically between individuals, but large amounts also pass through banks."

Referring to: Justice and Home Affairs

The Justice and Home Affairs Policy Commission examines Labour thinking on issues such as policing, the justice system, immigration and asylum, and political and constitutional reform.

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