the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Presidential Memorandum--Blocking Property of Transnational Criminal Organizations

TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:

Pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), I hereby report that I have issued an Executive Order (the "order") declaring a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat that significant transnational criminal organizations pose to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.

Organized crime is no longer a local or regional problem; it has become a danger to international stability.  Significant transnational criminal organizations have become increasingly sophisticated and dangerous to the United States, and their activities have reached such scope and gravity that they destabilize the international system.  These groups have taken advantage of globalization and other factors to diversify their geographic scope and range of activities.  They have increased and deepened their ties to governments and the international financial system, relying not only on bribery and violence, but also more and more on the ability to exploit differences among countries and to create and maintain legal facades to hide illicit activities.

The specific harms that significant transnational criminal organizations threaten today are many.  They corrupt -- and in some cases co-opt -- governments, thereby destabilizing them and weakening democratic institutions and the rule of law.  They threaten U.S. economic interests by subverting, exploiting, and distorting legitimate markets, and could gain influence in strategic sectors of the world economy.

Significant transnational criminal organizations that engage in cybercrime threaten sensitive public and private computer networks, undermine the integrity of the international financial system, and impose costs on the American consumer.  Those that engage in the theft of intellectual property not only erode U.S. competitiveness, but also endanger the public health and safety through the distribution of tainted and counterfeit goods.  Many of them also engage in drug trafficking.

Finally, significant transnational criminal organizations increasingly support the activities of other dangerous persons.  Some of these organizations are involved in arms smuggling, which can facilitate and aggravate violent civil conflicts.  Others are involved in human smuggling, exacerbating the problem of forced labor.  There is also evidence of growing ties between significant transnational criminal organizations and terrorists.

The Executive Order I have issued today is one part of a comprehensive strategy to address the growing threat of transnational organized crime.  The order targets significant transnational criminal organizations and the networks that support them, striking at the core of those networks -- their ability and need to move money.  It does this by blocking the property and interests in property of four transnational criminal organizations, listed in the Annex to the order, that currently pose significant threats to U.S. domestic and foreign economic interests, as well as to U.S. promotion of transparency and stability in the international political and financial systems.  The order provides criteria for the further blocking of persons determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State:

  • to be a foreign person that constitutes a significant transnational criminal organization;
  • to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the order; or
  • to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the order.

I have delegated to the Secretary of the Treasury the authority, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of the order.

The order is effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on July 25, 2011.  All executive agencies of the United States Government are directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of the order.

I am enclosing a copy of the Executive Order I have issued.

BARACK OBAMA

THE WHITE HOUSE,
July 24, 2011.