Russian Financial Crimes Expert Sorokin Calls for U.S.-Russian Cooperation Against Drug-Money Laundering
Sept. 6, 2013 (EIRNS)An interview with Konstantin Sorokin, a Russian expert in financial crimes, was published in EIR's Sept. 6 issue, on how to confront the challenges of the Afghanistan-based heroin economy, money-laundering into the global banking system, and the drive for drug legalization. Sorokin was a contributor to the report "Afghan Narcotrafficking: A Joint Threat Assessment," written by the non-governmental Joint U.S.-Russian Working Group on Afghan Narcotrafficking. He is also an advisor to the International Training and Methodology Center for Financial Monitoring of the Russian Federal Financial Monitoring Service.
Sorokin described the problems that will be created by drug legalization as "significantly worse than the Afghan problem is today. To ignore this trend today would be a very big mistake."
He noted that while there have been occasional joint operations between NATO countries and Russia in Afghanistan to destroy drug labs and other infrastructure, "this is clearly not enough." Whereas the Russian position is that the opium poppy crops have to be completely destroyed, Western countries "do not want to move for complete crop eradication." The reason cited by the United States and others is that destroying the crops will deprive farmers of their livelihoods, thus turning the population against the international troops there and making counterinsurgent warfare more difficult. Sorokin argues that the only solution is for nations to work together to help develop other sources of income for those farmers.
The Russian expert placed great importance on the "financial infrastructure" of drug trafficking, notably the laundering of funds into the international banking systemwith a focus on the Persian Gulf states, the United States, and the EU. The influence of drug traffickers with powerful financial institutions can become so strong, he said, that they facilitate "the export of state terrorism" and shape government policies.