June 28, 2016
FBI National Press Office
FBI and Department of State Announce a Global Law Enforcement Forum on Diamond Trafficking and Illicit Trade Hosted by Europol
THE HAGUE—Today, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of State announce a global law enforcement forum on diamond trafficking, illicit trade, and threat financing. This forum is being hosted by Europol, the European Law Enforcement Agency based in The Hague, Netherlands, and will run from June 28 to June 30, 2016. It is also being co-sponsored by the World Customs Organization.
For the first time, senior law enforcement and customs officials, regulatory bodies, anti-money laundering experts, private sector experts, and others who have equities in combating the illicit trade in diamonds will assemble. The forum will focus on the exploitation of the diamond trade and the use of diamonds as a vehicle for trade-based money laundering, crime financing, and similar nefarious purposes.
“Europol is interested in this topic from several angles—robbery crimes, money laundering, and terrorist financing activities—due to the high value and portability of diamonds. Precious stones and gold are still readily liquid and moveable assets that can be easily traded and transported over borders,” said Europol’s Deputy Director Wil van Gemert.
“The FBI is proud to help lead the charge to bring together global law enforcement partners in an effort to strengthen and enhance cooperation and information sharing. We are fighting back against illicit trafficking and trade that so often goes to fund more and more criminal activity,” said FBI Assistant Director for the Criminal Investigative Division Stephen Richardson. “This forum is a crucial step forward in our mission to disrupt the criminal activity that touches not just the United States but the entire world.”
William Brownfield, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, said, “We laud these positive efforts to combat the illicit diamond trade, and we recognize that they are important, initial steps in addressing a complex problem. To effectively counter the negative consequences of illicit trade in diamonds and other contraband and to bring successful prosecutions of those who engage in such transnational crime, it will take strong political will and determination from our international partners.”
The forum will facilitate and increase international law enforcement cooperation and awareness of the illicit trade in diamonds and will provide a platform for information sharing and networking. In addition, the forum will help build law enforcement partnerships that will lead to the identification, dismantling, and disruption of criminal networks associated with the illicit trade in diamonds. This is the first global law enforcement forum on the topic of illicit diamond trafficking and trade.