Treasury Notes

 Fighting the Dark Side of Globalization

By: David S. Cohen

One of the Treasury Department's core duties is to safeguard and protect the U.S. economy and financial system from abuse by all those who would seek to harm it, manipulate it, or undermine its integrity. This is the foundation of Treasury's national security mission.

As our global economy and financial systems have grown more sophisticated and interdependent, they have also become more vulnerable to the efforts of transnational criminal organizations to do us harm. Today, I joined several of my colleagues, including Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns at the White House to announce the President’s new Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime, which includes a new Executive order that provides us with broad authority to respond to the threat that significant transnational criminal organizations pose to our country and the international financial system.

The Treasury Department is already employing this new tool by implementing sanctions today against four significant transnational criminal organizations: The Brothers' Circle, the Camorra, the Yakuza, and Los Zetas.

The new Executive order freezes any assets these individuals and the entities who support them may have within the United States, prohibits any transactions through the U.S. financial system, and makes it a crime for U.S. persons to engage in any transactions with them.

Transnational criminal organizations are principally motivated by financial gain. That is a major vulnerability that the new Executive order and the President’s broader strategy seeks to exploit, striking at the heart of their economic power.

Read more about the Strategy and Executive order here.

Also: Attorney General Eric Holder´s blog post on the White House Blog.

David S. Cohen is Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

Posted in:  Terrorism and Financial Intelligence
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