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Remarks by Douglas H. Paal, Director of the American Institute in Taiwan, Ministry of Justice and Investigations Bureau (MJIB) and FBI Seminar on Money Laundering

DIR-052605-01E | Date: 2005-05-26

Director-General Yeh, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

It is a pleasure to be here today to welcome you to this training program on Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture.  As law enforcement officials, you are on the front lines of the global effort to combat crime and terrorism by following the money.  Since terrorist organizations have publicly announced their goal of damaging the world economy and global trading system in whatever ways possible, what you do has become of paramount importance.

Last summer, U.S. and Taiwan authorities were given a frightening wake-up call.  When a large number of North Korean "supernotes" were found in circulation in Taiwan, we were all reminded that Taiwan's modern financial sector and its role as a hub for international trade make it an attractive place for criminals to use in their operations.  Thanks to a speedy and robust response from Taiwan's Central Bank and Taiwan law enforcement agencies, a major currency crisis was narrowly averted.  We continue to receive excellent cooperation from Taiwan authorities on this investigation.  We must not let this happen again.

Even though Taiwan cannot be a party to the UN International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, its adherence to the goals and provisions of the Convention demonstrate to the world that Taiwan is a responsible member of the global community.  Similarly, Taiwan's role as a founding member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering means that Taiwan is a leader in the region.

The United States has designated six nations as State Sponsors of Terrorism, including: Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.  North Korea's main exports to Taiwan are counterfeit cigarettes, illegal drugs, and counterfeit U.S. currency.  Taiwan must be particularly vigilant since criminal and terrorist organizations would like to take advantage of Taiwan's status in international law enforcement organizations.

Ultimately, thwarting the money launderers is a key component of the Global War on Terror.  This is a different kind of war, one in which the terrorists and their State Sponsors will use every available avenue to further their nefarious goals.  To stop terrorist states we too must use all tools at our disposal:  diplomatic, law enforcement, intelligence, financial and military.

Over the past five years, Taiwan has created and implemented an anti-money laundering regime that meets all international standards.  It is up to you, as law enforcement officials, to strengthen and enforce those measures.  I wish you luck in that endeavor and I applaud you for your efforts thus far.