The U.S. Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Sigal Mandelker, has decided to step down from her position and return to the private sector. As Under Secretary, Ms. Mandelker was charged with developing and implementing U.S. government strategies to combat terrorist financing and money laundering, as well as other policies and programs to fight financial crime. She supervised the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (OIA), and the Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes (TFFC), leveraging the department’s unique regulatory and enforcement functions to help safeguard the financial system from illicit use and combat terrorist financiers, weapons of mass destruction proliferators, human rights abusers and corrupt actors, money launderers, drug kingpins, and other national security threats.
John Prendergast, Founding Director of the Enough Project, says “In South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ms. Mandelker utilized state of the art tools of financial leverage usually reserved for only the most important geopolitical crises like North Korea, Syria, and Iran. She prioritized pairing anti-money laundering measures with targeted sanctions aimed at networks of actors complicit in massive human rights abuses and state looting. For example, she imposed sanctions on South Sudanese and Congolese generals and their affiliated companies, the main business partners of the heads of state in both Congo and South Sudan and their companies, and arms traffickers fueling violence in both countries. To make these “network sanctions” more effective, she ensured that compliance officers in banks throughout the world would focus on these sanctions targets as well as the patterns of illicit financial behavior in which they engaged by having the Treasury Department issue anti-money laundering advisories specifically on South Sudan and more generally on corruption and human rights. The impact of that innovative policy cocktail has been undeniable. In South Sudan, under these and other financial pressures, the warring parties signed a peace deal last year that has dramatically reduced violence in some of the main zones of conflict. In Congo, concerned about his financial future, the former president decided last year not to change the constitution and seek a third term, which would have likely led to major instability if not renewed war. These are tangible, specific impacts that are in part a result of policies pursued by Sigal Mandelker and her colleagues within the U.S. government.”
You can read more about her departure, with additional commentary from John Prendergast, in the The Wall Street Journal.
You can also read about her historic trip to East Africa, where she spoke at a press conference alongside John Prendergast, here.