Money trails: building financial investigations from wildlife and timber trafficking cases in the European Union
This new TRAFFIC and WWF ‘Wildlife Money Trails’ report aims to help law enforcement authorities and financial institutions uncover financial crimes related to wildlife and timber trafficking in the EU. The report features 16 case studies amounting to 18 million euros of illicit profits. Wildlife and timber trafficking often involves transnational organised crime networks and generates significant illicit proceeds, billions each year. Despite the seriousness of this criminal activity, related financial investigations and asset recovery approaches remain largely under-utilised in the EU, with investigations and prosecutions of wildlife trafficking still relying primarily on charges for poaching or trafficking. Wildlife criminals are, therefore, not punished for the financial crimes they have committed, and their criminal assets remain in their hands, allowing them to further invest in their illegal business.