This week, the Treasury Department announced it was taking actions against individuals known to associate with three transnational organized crime groups by freezing any assets said individuals may have within the jurisdiction of the United States. The criminal organizations are heavily involved in financial crimes such as money laundering and counterfeiting, in addition to more violent crimes like murder and kidnapping.
"Treasury will continue to target additional members and supporters of these groups, as well as other significant transcontinental criminal organizations, as we systematically expose their criminal operations and protect the U.S. financial system from their illicit activity," said David S. Cohen, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, in a statement.
It's a sobering reminder that the fight against financial crime never ends, --and is often an uphill battle -- with governments and financial institutions having to battle organized crime, individual hackers and rogue nations. Here's a closer look at the criminal organizations the Treasury is taking on.
According to the Treasury Dept., the Italy-based Camorra operates internationally and is involved in serious criminal activity, such as money laundering, extortion, alien smuggling, robbery, blackmail, kidnapping, political corruption, and counterfeiting.
In 2012 Italian law enforcement conducted multiple operations to seize Camorra assets, including 800 million euro seized from the Casalesi clan in July.
The Yakuza, based out of Japan, is reputedly the world‚Äôs largest criminal organization with over 70,000 members, the Treasury reports.
The Treasury Department previously targeted the Yamaguchi-gumi and the Sumiyoshi-kai clans of the Yakuza, in February and September 2012, respectively, and now is targeting the Inagawa-kai, the third-largest of the Yakuza organizations, for acting for or on behalf of the Yakuza. The top three clans account for approximately 72.4 percent of the Yakuza membership, the government said.
The Brothers' Circle
The Brothers' Circle is a multi-ethnic criminal group composed of leaders and senior members of several Eurasian criminal groups largely based in countries of the former Soviet Union but extending to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. To date, the Treasury said it has identified 15 individuals affiliated with the Brothers‚Äô Circle and their associates.
The Brothers' Circle serves as a coordinating body for several national level criminal networks, mediating disputes between the individual criminal networks and directing global criminal activity, according to the department.
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Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio