SEVENSEAS Marine Conservation & Travel Issue 14, July 2016 - Page 115

Organized criminal cartels . The report notes that transnational organized criminal networks are using environmental crime to launder drug money. Illegal gold mining in Colombia, for example, is now considered one of the easiest ways to launder money from the country’s drug trade.

International criminal cartels are also involved in the trafficking of hazardous waste and chemicals, often mislabelling this type of waste in order to evade law enforcement agencies. In 2013, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported that the illegal trade in e-waste to Southeast Asia and the Pacific was estimated at $3.75 billion annually.

Rebel groups. Criminal networks linked to the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have spent about 2 per cent of their proceeds to fund up to 49 different rebel groups. According to some estimates by the UN, the illegal exploitation of natural resources in eastern DRC is valued at $722-862 million annually.

Illegal logging. The value of forestry crimes, including corporate crimes and illegal logging, is estimated at $50-152 billion per year.

White collar crime. The report looks at the rise of white collar environmental crime, from the use of shell companies in tax havens to launder money generated from illegal logging to transfer mispricing, hacking and identity theft. Carbon trading is the world’s fastest growing commodities market. Carbon credit fraud cases have involved sums of transfers and profits that stretch into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Download a copy of the report here http://unep.org/documents/itw/environmental_crimes.pdf

Download an additional fact sheet, which includes all the key numbers, information on 2015 Interpol operations and recommendations: http://unep.org/documents/itw/eco_crime.pdf

Arrested poor poachers with muzzleloaders, wood meat and leopard skin. UNEP Rapid. response

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