Prepared Remarks of FinCEN Director Kennth A. Blanco, delivered in Buenos Aires, Argentina




Muchas gracias, Mariano, y muchas gracias por la invitacion para estar aqui hoy, es un gran honor tener esta oportunidad de participar en este foro, hablando de temas tan importantes -

Temas en lo qual afectan las vidas de milliones de personas - No solo de nuestros paises, pero del mundo entero-

Y temas muy adequado por que han pasado 25 anos desde el ataque terrorista aqui en Buenos Aires - las vidas de las victimas nunca se van a olvidar - viviran para siempre - y este foro es un ejemplo de eso.

Si me permiten, voy a cambiar a mi idioma natal que es ingles.

I have to say that I am truly humbled to be here today.

Not only to have this conversation with you, all of our colleagues, but more importantly, knowing that we are having this conversation here today under the spirit of those innocent lives lost 25 years ago to a cowardly act of terror here in Buenos Aires. We are here under the watchful eye of that spirit, the watchful eyes of their families and loved ones, and all of those who were injured, and all the families that were touched by that cowardly act, the repercussions of which are still being felt today.

These themes we are talking about today, actually played themselves out not too far from this room 25 years ago. We should remember that fact, and the events of that day today in everything we say today - whatever we say, every time we open our mouths - but what is important know and remember is that words are not enough, it is our actions that count.

Mariano - our two nations stand together, shoulder to shoulder, forever linked as brothers, because we too, like you, understand what it is like to have our nation attacked by terrorists - and we know that we can NEVER allow its intended affect to be realized. We can never back down, we can never cower, we can never be in fear to act. Rather, we must carry on the fight against terror, and all those who carry it out, and those that support them in whatever way. To do otherwise would justify and give support to their despicable and cowardly actions.

Over the last several years, this special bond between our two nations has led to unparalleled cooperation between us in the areas of illicit finance and crime, particularly in terrorist financing. Indeed our two units (UIF and FinCEN) as regulators in AML/CFT for our respective countries, and as the Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) for our respective countries, we play a critical national security role and are key players in the fight against terror.

I can spend all day talking about the work we do together. Whether it’s FinCEN’s role in the Kassem Chams Exchange matter, our work together on Clan Barakat or the Nader Farhat matter, and the leadership both of our units and countries have shown in this global arena. There will be plenty of time for that in the panel discussion today. And, we also heard just moments ago from the other speakers about the need for further and continued cooperation in this hemisphere, so there is no need for me to repeat what they have already so eloquently said.

I would rather like to take the few minutes I have and use it to congratulate and thank Argentina for its courage and leadership, in particular, for putting forth new laws and authorities to take action against terrorists, and today taking action through those new authorities by designating Hezbullah as terrorist, freezing their assets, and requesting that they be listed on a public registry.

This is a historic day for Argentina and indeed for all civilized countries. Although it may not bring forth complete justice for those victims of the attack 25 years ago, it does provide action for the victims and their loved ones, and for all Argentines. It also puts the world on notice that strong nations and peoples will not back down in the face of terror, rather, they will show their resolve by taking action, defending their people, seeking justice, and protecting their nation from harm.

Strong nations take action and I am proud to see Argentina exercising its status as a world leader and taking action on Hezbullah.

This fight on terror is global - it is real - all nations must lead and act if we are to keep our citizens safe and economies prosperous. Silence is not leadership. Silence is not action. Words alone are not enough - you actually have to do something.

We know that terrorists, like most other criminals, need money to develop their networks and execute their attacks. Identifying and disrupting these money flows is one of the most effective ways to uncover and stop these bad actors, these terrorist, these cowards, from harming innocent civilians. This includes taking their assets and the assets they use to further their activities.

This is what Argentina did today - Resolve, Courage, and Leadership. That is what Argentina showed the world today. Thank you, and I look forward to our panel discussion.