Justice Department Anticorruption Task Force Launches New Measures to Combat Corruption in Central America
October 15, 2021
WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice today announced a tip line to help assist its Anticorruption Task Force fight corruption in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, a key component of the Vice President’s work to address the root causes of migration.
“As the Vice President recognized during her visit to Guatemala earlier this year, corruption and impunity in the region undermine democracy, fuel irregular migration, and pose a threat to our national security because they sustain criminal organizations and transnational crime,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr., of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “In June, the Justice Department announced an Anticorruption Task Force, and has now created a tip line so that anyone with information about corrupt actors in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras who are violating U.S. laws or moving proceeds of their crimes in or through the United States, may now report the conduct in Spanish or English at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Tips regarding possible corruption or movements of ill-gotten funds that are received through the email address will be reviewed by the Department of Justice’s Anticorruption Task Force. The Task Force will determine whether the tip indicates a possible jurisdictional link to the United States – including use of the U.S. financial system – that would allow the Task Force to investigate, to prosecute, and where appropriate to forfeit and return stolen assets to the people of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
The Task Force encourages our law enforcement partners in the region, or anyone with information about corruption-related crimes and possible violations of U.S. law, to contact the Task Force by emailing the FBI at email@example.com.
As previously announced by U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, the Department of Justice is committed to work to combat official corruption in countries in Central America where the conduct violates U.S. law. To that end, the Department of Justice created an Anticorruption Task Force focused on El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras with representatives from each of the following Criminal Division components:
- The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Unit of the Fraud Section, which enforces the U.S. criminal statute that generally prohibits certain persons—including U.S. companies and individuals, foreign companies whose shares trade on a U.S. stock exchange, and non-U.S. persons who engage in corrupt acts in the United States—from paying bribes overseas to obtain or retain business;
- The Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative in the International Unit of the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS), which is focused on recovering assets linked to foreign corruption and prosecuting related money laundering, especially when corruption proceeds are found in the United States or were obtained or transferred through abuse of the U.S. financial system; and
- The Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section (NDDS), which enforces federal narcotics laws against the manufacturing, importation, and distribution of illegal drugs into and out of the United States and laundering of profits or of funds to promote or facilitate narcotics trafficking, including corruption resulting from narcotics trafficking.
The work of the Task Force is also supported by Special Agents of the FBI International Corruption Unit, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Allegations will be investigated by these law enforcement agencies, working in cooperation with the Legal Attachés and Country Representatives at our U.S. embassies, as well as with the Justice Department’s Task Force and the Department’s Office of International Affairs.
The task force is part of the Administration’s commitment to consistently engage in the region to address the root causes of migration. Corruption undermines government services and the rule of law, including critical institutions that provide health, education, and other services to those most in need. Corruption also deters attracting quality investment needed to create jobs. It is essential that we join efforts to increase transparency and bring swift prosecution for corruption.