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Foreign Corruption Investigations

ICE pursues corrupt foreign officials who plunder state coffers for personal gain and then attempt to place those funds in the U.S. financial system.

The agency's Foreign Corruption Investigations Group, part of ICE Homeland Security Investigations, is charged with spearheading investigations that hold these individuals accountable.

Large-scale corruption on the part of public officials in other nations, particularly developing nations, poses a significant threat to public trust and government infrastructure. In many cases, public corruption exists in unstable environments in which criminal and terrorist organizations flourish.

The ICE Foreign Corruption Investigations Group was established in Miami in 2003. Miami was chosen as the group's location due to the number of requests assistance requests received by that office from Central and South American and Caribbean governments.

ICE participates in the overall U.S. government response to the issue of large-scale foreign public corruption as a member of an ad hoc anti-kleptocracy working group, which was initiated by the National Security Council. ICE plays an integral role in developing the government-wide anti-kleptocracy strategy due to the agency's expertise in investigating international money laundering and enforcing customs and immigration law. ICE's extensive international investigative assets allow the agency to pursue a wide array of investigative leads related to kleptocracy.

Success

Since the inception of the Foreign Corruption Investigations Group, ICE has initiated more than 394 investigations, made 216 criminal arrests, secured 277 indictments and seized more than $153.5 million associated with foreign corruption.

Recent Investigations

  • ICE's Foreign Corruption Investigations Group, in coordination with Romanian authorities, arrested the former director of Romania's National Railroad – Romania's number one fugitive at the time. He was accused of stealing $110 million in government funds while in office. ICE located numerous properties, bank accounts and several corporations associated with the former director.
  • Operation Persistence began as a narcotics investigation, but was later turned over to the Foreign Corruption Investigations Group. Drug smugglers used an undercover vessel to transport 300 kilograms of cocaine from Colombia to Miami. Twenty individuals were indicted, extradited from Colombia and convicted for trying to smuggle drugs into the United States. Evidence from the investigation linked the drug smuggling operation to a corrupt Colombian official.