TNRC Blog Using follow-the-money techniques to detect environmental crimes: Potential and challenges

Image representing TNRC's four focus areas: wildlife, fisheries, forests, and finance

Targeting Natural Resource Corruption

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Using Follow-the-Money Techniques to Detect Environmental Crimes: Potential and Challenges

This session took place during the 20th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) held in Washington, D.C. from 6-10 December 2022 and was coordinated by the Basel Institute on Governance. For more information, visit


Financial investigations are a much-lauded tool. The logic is obvious: rarely do seizures of illicit goods alone reveal the entire criminal network, leaving kingpins unpunished and able to both continue deploying their illicit funds for more criminal activity and enjoy the privileges they bring. The reality on the ground, however, is that financial investigations remain an afterthought and the exception, not the rule. This is certainly not for a lack of trying. Numerous anti-corruption and conservation groups have provided consistent technical support to wildlife agencies with law enforcement functions to strengthen this technique. Nonetheless, the approach still remains the exception rather than the norm, with few cases featuring seizures, confiscations, or even significant financial damages. In this session, panelists share their experiences embedding financial investigation techniques and highlight how such approaches need to be fine-tuned to increase the likelihood of success.


Image attribution: © / Jen Guyton / WWF; © Brian J. Skerry / National Geographic Stock / WWF; © Georgina Goodwin / Shoot The Earth / WWF-UK; © Hkun Lat / WWF-Aus