Ambassador Adrian Zuckerman at the Financial Frauds and Following the Money Virtual Conference

Monday, September 28, 2020, 1:30 pm

As Delivered

Welcome everyone. It is my great privilege to be here and welcome you to COVID-19 Crimes, Financial Frauds, and Following the Money to Investigate and Prosecute Transnational Organized Crime.

I want to thank my good friend Minister Predoiu, for the invitation to join you and address this outstanding and large audience of Romanian prosecutors and law enforcement officials from around the country.

Today marks another concrete affirmation of our commitment to working together to defeat organized crime. Organized crime is a cancer on our society. Whether it is criminal groups trafficking the most vulnerable members of society, or stealing money through elaborate fraud schemes, or selling counterfeit medicines and materials during the COVID-19 pandemic and placing thousands of people at risk. Organized crime undercuts the Rule of Law, undermines democracy, and slowly bleeds the life blood out of society.

When I arrived in Romania as the United States Ambassador I had a goal – my goal was to do everything I could to help the country of my birth achieve the future it rightfully deserves. The bond between the United States and Romania is a very deep and special one. I am proud to have been born in Romania and every day I am thankful that President Trump chose me to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Romania.

In you, Minister Predoiu, the United States found a true partner in the fight against organized crime. When you and I first sat down and talked last year – I remember our conversation – we talked about not only the greatness of Romania, but also the criminal element that continues to prey upon the Romanian people and what we could do about it.

During our first meeting we made a commitment to work together – to form a new and deeper partnership – based upon action and not merely words – dedicated to fighting serious crimes, holding criminals fully responsible for their crimes and depriving them of their illicit gains. Since our first meeting we have put together the best of our resources and expertise to win this fight – and win it we shall. Romania has made great strides over the last year in fighting organized crime and the Romanian citizens are safer for it. There is, however, much work still to be done.

Today the United States reaffirms our commitment to being your partner in the fight against organized crime. Romania is a strong country and vitally important partner for the United States – whether it is countering malign influences from China and Russia or working together to tackle organized crime and the traffickers preying upon the vulnerable. The Romanian/United States partnership is a model of how dedicated democratic people can work together to accomplish great things.

Today, with the assistance of two extremely talented agents from Homeland Security Investigations, you in the audience will learn how to trace the illegal moneys and profits made by criminals. This is necessary to investigate and fully prosecute them. Tracing money is often a starting point in any investigation. The skills you will learn today will help you better investigate organized crime, intellectual property crime, human trafficking, public corruption and cybercrime. These skills will also help you catch and prosecute the criminals, who prey upon society, to the fullest extent of the law and ensure justice is done.

Since we started working together as partners, I hear weekly about the great achievements you are making in combatting crime. I read about your investigations, your recent arrests, and your successful prosecutions. I applaud the commitment of the Romanian Government to this ongoing struggle and the tangible results you are achieving. Your dedication to the job and learning new skills in the fight against organized crime helps to ensure a safer future for Romania. Together, we will win this fight.

To Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu, Chief Prosecutor of the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) Ana Dana, and ANABI Director Cornel Calinescu –thank you for your friendship, partnership and steadfast commitment to justice and the Rule of Law within Romania. The hurdles you faced as you came into your jobs were high, but your commitment has been even stronger. You have been steadfast in your efforts and in doing so have helped to undo the corruption and criminality of the prior years, and in turn you are making life better for the citizens of Romania. You are great Romanians and you make us all proud.

I am heartened by your actions in not only vigorously investigating and prosecuting criminals, but also in doing everything you can to ensure that criminals are – consistent with the Rule of Law – unable to profit from their crimes. ANABI is essential to the task of truly holding criminals responsible. Whether it is organized crime, corruption, human trafficking, intellectual property or financial fraud, justice requires that criminals must be held accountable, they must pay the price for their crimes and they must not be allowed to profit from their crimes.

To David Varner, my FBI LEGAT and your FBI team at the U.S. Embassy, thank you for your constant help, commitment to Romanian law enforcement, and your partnership on these ICHIP training webinars. You and your team have always been eager and available to help – despite the challenges – and for that, thank you. Law enforcement partnerships – such as the ones you display – are essential in defeating organized crime and keeping all if us safe.

I also want to thank Scott Kerin and his International Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property program team, for their hard work, support and for putting together these webinars. The ICHIP program is a joint U.S. Department of Justice and Department of State-INL program that is essential to defeating organized crime and stands as a concrete example of the commitment between the United States and Romania. Your ideas, plans and training programs have become the core of our law enforcement capacity building outreach efforts.

I am honored and thankful to President Trump for giving me the opportunity to return to the country of my birth as the United States Ambassador – we have accomplished a lot together. Romania is an amazing country and it is a strong country. President Trump and I are proud to stand alongside you as your partners in ensuring justice, strengthening the Rule of Law and defeating organized crime. Romania has no better friend than the United States.

I believe in the greatness of democracy and the Rule of Law. I believe in the greatness of Romania. I believe and know that a better future is possible. And to accomplish that, I ask all of you to be courageous and protect freedom and democracy. I ask you all to believe in yourselves, and I ask you all to perform great deeds.

We hope you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy.

May God bless you and keep you safe and may God bless the people of Romania and the United States.

Thank you all.