Investigating illicit trade: The importance of technology and Open Source Intelligence

Blackdot 03.03 Illicit Trade v2

Illicit trade is a popular vector for sophisticated transnational organised crime groups (OCGs) due to its relatively low risk and high reward nature. By leveraging modern technologies and exploiting the increasingly frictionless structures of globalised trade OCGs are profiting handsomely.

On-Demand Webinar Summary

Blackdot 03.03 Illicit Trade v2

But there are real costs: as well as harming the health and wellbeing of individuals that consume counterfeit medicines and other products, illicit trade is harming society more broadly as the same routes and networks are used to traffic drugs, people and weapons. The integrity of the financial system is also affected through the laundering of the funds that are generated.

Despite the fact that illicit trade crosses a number of “predicate offenses”, discussions around financial crime often neglect to focus on illicit trade.

In this webinar we hope to remind audiences of the importance of developing greater awareness of illicit trade, provide an overview of common typologies and methodologies, and offer tips on how to detect and investigate the people, organisations and networks involved.

Key takeaways:

  • In order to avoid becoming a vehicle for illicit trade, financial institutions need to understand the key indicators of these crimes and to have access to both expertise and technology that will help them fight it.
  • Open source intelligence (OSINT) is an important tool for investigators trying to understand illicit trade because useful insights are often contained in data from corporate registries, publicly available social media and the dark web.
  • The networked, cross-border nature of illicit trade means that the response requires similar collaboration, including law enforcement, technology and the private sector.