District Attorney Vance Testifies Before Congress Regarding Terror Financing

June 24, 2015

Manhattan District Attorney’s Office Also Announces Creation of New Counter Terrorism Program 

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee’s Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Finance, and voiced his support for legislation designed to combat terrorism financing, as well as money laundering, tax evasion, and other crimes facilitated by U.S. corporations with hidden owners.

“Criminals rely on lax incorporation requirements in the United States to enable their illicit activity,” said District Attorney Vance. “A simple requirement to identify beneficial owners on state incorporation forms would vastly improve the capacity of American law enforcement to attack terrorism finance, disrupt terror plots, and prevent money laundering and other crimes.”

The testimony can be read in full here.

Separately today, District Attorney Vance announced the formation of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s Counter Terrorism Program, housed in the Major Economic Crimes and Rackets Bureaus. For years, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has been a leader in combatting terror finance and money laundering. Over the course of eight bank sanctions cases and other international and national money movement investigations, the Office has played an important role in identifying and preventing financial crimes. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is also the only local prosecutor’s office to convict two homegrown, violent extremists under New York State’s terrorism statute.

“Working with our federal partners, local authorities are often in the best position to identify and prevent ‘lone wolves’ from carrying out a domestic terror attack,” said District Attorney Vance. “My Office is expert at bringing important illicit money movement investigations and prosecutions. As New York City is a global center of finance, it will remain a prime target for bad actors.  Through the Counter Terrorism Program, we will continue to identify the threats, investigate them, and attempt to stop them before the next attack.”

District Attorney Vance named three Counter Terrorism Coordinators to lead this Program and further focus the Office’s resources and abilities to combat terrorist financing, planning, and activity. The coordinators will identify and pursue investigative leads relating to terrorism, terror financing, and homegrown violent extremists, and maintain relationships with domestic and international law enforcement agencies and partners. Alliances with the NYPD, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and other federal law enforcement  agencies, as well as partnerships with law enforcement agencies abroad, including the City of London Police,  are critical to developing these complex cases, which are often international in scope, and preventing the next attack.

Assistant District Attorneys Deborah Hickey, Rachel Hochhauser, and David Stuart have been designated as the Office’s Counter Terrorism Coordinators. They will work with Michael Tiffany, a counter-terrorism specialist and 35-year NYPD veteran who has served as a consultant to the Office since 2010.