THE NIGERIAN CONNECTION
Nigerian Letter Scam funds = Drug trafficking funds = Terrorist funding
Possible connections between 419 scam letters, drug trafficking, terrorist funding, and money laundering
Nigerian Scam Letter fraud rings operate all over the world. Although the primary source is Nigeria, and more often than not Nigeria is the residence of the kingpins, letters originate from all the nations listed below. In turn, victims wire money back to these same countries.
Stated origin of 419 letter and Transnational Drug Issues
Nigeria: Illicit drugs: a transit point for heroin and cocaine intended for European, East Asian, and North American markets; safehaven for Nigerian narcotraffickers operating worldwide; major money-laundering center; massive corruption and criminal activity, along with unwillingness of the government to address the deficiencies in its anti-money-laundering regime make money laundering a major problem
Benin: Illicit drugs: transshipment point for narcotics associated with Nigerian trafficking organizations and most commonly destined for Western Europe and the US; vulnerable to money laundering due to a poorly regulated financial infrastructure
Cote d'Ivoire: Illicit drugs: illicit producer of cannabis, mostly for local consumption; transshipment point for Southwest and Southeast Asian heroin to Europe and occasionally to the US, and for Latin American cocaine destined for Europe and South Africa; while rampant corruption and inadequate supervision leave the banking system vulnerable to money laundering, the lack of a developed financial system limits the country's utility as a major money-laundering center
Togo: Illicit drugs: transit hub for Nigerian heroin and cocaine traffickers; money laundering not a significant problem
South Africa: Illicit drugs: transshipment center for heroin, hashish, marijuana, and possibly cocaine; cocaine consumption on the rise; world's largest market for illicit methaqualone, usually imported illegally from India through various east African countries; illicit cultivation of marijuana; attractive venue for money launderers given the increasing level of organized criminal and narcotics activity in the region
Amsterdam: Illicit drugs: major European producer of illicit amphetamine and other synthetic drugs; important gateway for cocaine, heroin, and hashish entering Europe; major source of US-bound ecstasy; large financial sector vulnerable to money laundering
Philippines: Illicit drugs: exports locally produced marijuana and hashish to East Asia, the US, and other Western markets; serves as a transit point for heroin and crystal methamphetamine
Switzerland: because of more stringent government regulations, used significantly less as a money-laundering center; transit country for and consumer of South American cocaine and Southwest Asian heroin
London: Illicit drugs: gateway country for Latin American cocaine entering the European market; major consumer of synthetic drugs, producer of limited amounts of synthetic drugs and synthetic precursor chemicals; major consumer of Southwest Asian heroin; money-laundering center
Hong Kong: Illicit drugs: strenuous law enforcement efforts, but faces serious challenges in controlling transit of heroin and methamphetamine to regional and world markets; modern banking system provides a conduit for money laundering; rising indigenous use of synthetic drugs, especially among young people
Spain: Illicit drugs: key European gateway country for Latin American cocaine and North African hashish entering the European market; destination and minor transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin
Additional originating countries with no known drug trafficking: Burkina Faso, Kuwait.
Note: Movement of funds through a Financial Action Task Force (FATF) designated non-cooperative territory is considered to be an aspect of financial transactions indicative of terrorist funding. Nigeria is listed as an FATF non-cooperative territory. Information Drawn From the Suspicious Activity Reporting System, SAR Bulletin, Issue 4, January 2002, United States Department of the Treasury, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, "Alert to financial institutions," Case #3. http://www.ustreas.gov/fincen/sarbul0201-f.pdf
Acknowledged sources of terrorist funds include private funding, phony charities, counterfeiting, drug trafficking, and counterfeit internet products.