WASHINGTON—The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) hosted a FinCEN Exchange last week focused on countering the abuse of the digital ecosystem by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The DPRK continues to use, steal, and launder virtual assets in order to fund its illicit weapons programs. The proliferation of cyber events and cyber-enabled crime instigated by the DPRK represents a significant threat to the U.S. financial system.
The FinCEN Exchange session emphasized the threat posed by the DPRK’s abuse of the digital ecosystem and facilitated coordination where appropriate to counter DPRK-related illicit finance. It included presentations by FinCEN and Federal law enforcement agencies, followed by discussions on information sharing mechanisms, and observations from financial institutions and representatives from the virtual currency industry on ways to effectively combat DPRK’s cyber-enabled illicit finance. FinCEN and the U.S. Department of the Treasury will continue to use all available tools to combat the DPRK’s cyber-enabled illicit finance threats.
The FinCEN Exchange program demonstrates the importance of communication among FinCEN, law enforcement agencies, and financial institutions to effectively identify and investigate criminal actors and money laundering activities. FinCEN appreciates the critical support that financial institutions provide to law enforcement and national security agencies in fighting illicit activities through suspicious activity reporting and the importance of allocating their resources to national security priorities. FinCEN Exchanges provide an important mechanism to enhance law enforcement feedback and to help financial institutions more effectively implement their anti-money laundering programs.
FinCEN strongly encourages all financial institutions, and particularly FinTechs and digital assets industry participants, to register under USA PATRIOT Act Section 314(b) and to form associations to engage in voluntary information sharing. Section 314(b) information sharing can reveal networks of illicit activity that no single financial institution can detect alone, compounding the benefits for both the financial institution and law enforcement. In fiscal year 2022, there were more than 7,600 314(b) registered financial institutions, making extensive network analysis possible.
FinCEN Exchange is a voluntary public-private partnership that convenes relevant stakeholders, including law enforcement agencies and financial institutions. FinCEN Exchange aims to protect our national security and our citizens from harm by combatting money laundering and its related crimes, including terrorism, through public-private dialogue that encourages, enables, and acknowledges industry focus on high-value and high-impact activities.