Press Release / / 03.06.20

Breaking: UK’s National Crime Agency Releases First-Ever Alert on Dirty Money, Links to Corrupt Political Networks in South Sudan

Official Warning on Money Laundering and Illicit Financial Flows into the UK Linked to Human Rights Abuses; Raises Red Flags for Banks, Real Estate Companies, Luxury Goods Businesses, and Private Schools

 

March 6, 2020 (London) – Today, the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA), the UK’s lead law enforcement agency for serious and organized crime, released a historic, first-ever country-specific Alert aiming to stem the flow of dirty money into the UK, targeting the proceeds of major political and economic corruption in South Sudan. The Alert targets illicit activities connected to South Sudan, while seeking to ensure that legitimate financial transactions and business can continue as usual..

The Alert by the NCA, issued on behalf of the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), warns banks, real estate companies, law firms, accounting firms, luxury goods providers, and private schools of an immediate risk to the UK of illicit financial flows and money laundering linked to South Sudan.

George Clooney, Co-President of the Clooney Foundation for Justice and Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: “The UK’s National Crime Agency has taken unprecedented and unique action to cut off dirty money flowing from one of the 21st Century’s most brutal war zones. Today, peace in South Sudan is possible, but only if the nations of the world recognize their responsibility to counter the greed-fueled networks that profit from massive suffering and human rights abuse.”

The Alert aligns with the US Treasury Department’s 2017 advisory focusing US financial institutions on the illicit financial flows from South Sudan. It follows on recommendations for a similar UK Alert and strong financial pressure raised in the recent investigative report series “The Taking of South Sudan” by The Sentry.

Denisse Rudich, Senior Advisor to The Sentry in the UK, said: “This is the first Alert of its kind since the formation of the National Economic Crime Centre at the NCA. The UK government continues to lead by tackling corruption and cracking down on illicit finance at home and abroad to ensure that the vast natural wealth and resources in South Sudan ultimately benefit its people. Along with expanded enforcement activity in the UK, we hope this Alert will lead to more intelligence sharing and possible whistleblowing, which governments, the private sector, The Sentry, and other concerned groups will be able to utilize to inform new investigations.”

Brian Adeba, Deputy Director of Policy at The Sentry, said: “Despite the recent formation of the Government of National Unity in South Sudan, the kleptocratic system that allows the corrupt elite and their enablers to loot remains in place. The UK has taken an important, commendable step not only to protect its financial system from the illicit proceeds connected to these corrupt networks, but also to disrupt the large-scale looting that undermines South Sudan’s long-term peace and governance efforts.”

John Prendergast, Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: “The UK should be strongly commended for joining the United States in serious efforts to counter the criminal exploitation of the global financial system at the expense of millions of suffering, abused, and displaced people in South Sudan. The Sentry’s recent investigations into war profiteering by international networks linked to the leaders of both the South Sudanese government and its opposition have shown how corruption at the highest levels continues to threaten sustainable peace. This action by the National Crime Agency is a critically important and historic step.”

Analysis by The Sentry – Why this Alert is unique:

  • This is the first time the NCA has issued an Alert with a country-specific focus (South Sudan).
  • This Alert is the agency’s first issued since Brexit.
  • The Alert is not only aimed at sectors traditionally regulated for risks of money laundering and terrorist financing, but also at private schools and providers of luxury goods.
  • The Alert aligns with the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) 2017 advisory on South Sudan, promoting greater consistency to protect the international financial system.
  • It is the first public Alert aimed at the financial services sector, in addition to the non-regulated sector.

 

Read the NCA press releasehttps://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/alert-issued-on-the-illicit-finance-risks-associated-with-south-sudan

Read the full NCA Alerthttps://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/who-we-are/publications/428-amber-alert-south-sudan/file

Read The Sentry’s investigative report “The Taking of South Sudan: The Tycoons, Brokers, and Multinational Corporations Complicit in Hijacking the World’s Newest Nation”

 

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606, gh@thesentry.org

ABOUT THE SENTRY

The Sentry is an investigative and policy team that follows the dirty money connected to African war criminals and transnational war profiteers and seeks to shut those benefiting from violence out of the international financial system. By disrupting the cost-benefit calculations of those who hijack governments for self-enrichment in East and Central Africa, the deadliest war zone globally since World War II, we seek to counter the main drivers of conflict and create new leverage for peace, human rights, and good governance. The Sentry is composed of financial investigators, international human rights lawyers, and regional experts, as well as former law enforcement agents, intelligence officers, policymakers, investigative journalists, and banking professionals. Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is a flagship initiative and strategic partner of the Clooney Foundation for Justice.

Learn more at www.TheSentry.org.