THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release October 22, 1995
ROBERT GELBARD, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR
INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS MATTERS;
RICHARD NEWCOMBE, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY,
OFFICE OF FOREIGN ASSETS CONTROL;
GEORGE WARD, ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR
RICHARD CLARKE, SENIOR DIRECTOR, GLOBAL AND
MULTINATIONAL AFFAIRS, NSC
The Warwick Hotel
New York, New York
1:50 P.M. EDT
MR. MCCURRY: Okay, I wanted to put a little more focus
on the President's initiative today on international organized crime and
Thank you, Mr. Lake. A splendid job, as always. And we
are delighted that you're here.
I've got really our team, our interagency team, who
helped developed and will also now be in the position of implementing
the President's executive order and other decisions, who are here, who
can answer specific questions coming out of the speech.
And here, for those of you who don't know, Dick Clarke,
Special Assistant to the President at the NSC; Rick Newcombe, who is the
Director of the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control;
Bob Gelbard, who is Assistant Secretary of State for International
Narcotics Matters; and George Ward, who is -- are you Assistant
Secretary or Acting -- Acting Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of
International Organizations at the State Department.
The list of things that have already occurred as of
midnight last night are pretty impressive. And I -- however you guys
want to -- maybe, Rick, it would be best to start with you just to talk
about what's already been transmitted. Do you want to -- I'll have Dick
start then. Thanks.
MR. CLARKE: Thanks.
As Tony said, the President's theme was reform and
refocus. Briefly on reform, his message was that reform is not just
about saving money; reform is about cutting waste and overhead,
increasing the percentage of the money that we do spend that goes toward
He said that we were the largest donor nation. We are.
One dollar out of every three dollars the United Nations has received in
the last three years has come from American taxpayers. And we are,
nonetheless, at this point, also the largest debtor to the United
Nations. As the President said, he's engaged in a dialogue with the
Congress hoping to eliminate that.
On refocus, the President suggested that we refocus our
attention on what, for lack of a better term, we're calling
international organized crime. And that means terrorism, narcotics,
alien smuggling, nuclear smuggling -- that entire nexus that the
President has been talking about for the last several months as the
forces of disintegration.
Why? Why, in an international forum, talk about crime?
Because as he said in his Freedom House speech, the significance of
borders is deteriorating. Problems that we face here at home have their
origins overseas. The majority of organized crime cartels that the FBI
is now dealing with in this country are headquartered overseas.
American citizens are on a routine basis subject to violence and other
criminal assaults that are of foreign origin. He has, therefore,
proposed a series of initiatives as the result of a year-long study that
has just concluded.
You have in your information package a sanitized,
declassified version of a presidential directive, decision directive,
that was the result of that year-long study. You also have an executive
order that was issued last night.
The chief aspect that he referred to in his speech today
from the series of decisions was a decision to go after their money,
whether it's terrorists or narcotics cartels, people dealing in alien
smuggling or nuclear smuggling, most of them are in it for the money.
And two of the steps which he ordered today go after their money. The
first is a money laundering initiative. The second is to go after the
assets of such cartels. Beginning last night, with seizing and blocking
assets owned by the Cali Cartel, which is the largest drug cartel in the
We're prepared here to go through with you all of these
initiatives and to give you the names of the front companies that were
blocked as off midnight last night, and to give you the names of the 80
individuals whose assets were blocked.
So let me turn it over first, I think, to Bob Gelbard to go
through the money laundering and other aspects of the initiative.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD: The themes that the President
discussed today are, in fact, themes which have been increasingly of
concern within the administration for quite sometime. If you look back
on Secretary Christopher's speech at Harvard early this year on foreign
policy, he touched on new issues of greater concern in terms of foreign
policy, particularly stressing these four subjects of narcotics, crime,
terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. He also emphasized these
issues substantially in his speech to the General Assembly a few weeks
The administration, the President see these issues as the
very new and dramatic themes that in the post-Cold War environment are
creating even more dramatic problems for nations, particularly because
we see that borders have disappeared as it relates to the flows of
money, the movement of capital, trade, and increasingly the movements of
So in this sense -- and Rick Newcombe will talk about the
specifics of the President's executive order -- the President issued an
executive order under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act,
aimed at undermining the major narcotics traffickers centered in
Colombia, and announced an initiative on money laundering that really
goes to the heart of the profits of these criminals.
The purpose of this is because of our deep concern about
these problems, as I said, and what we want to do is use the tools of
the U.S. government to meet the ever-more resourceful problems that have
been presented by criminal organizations which are increasingly not
national entities, but are linked up internationally with other groups
and operate cross-border in the way they do their business.
Specifically, he signed the executive order utilizing the
International Economic Emergency Powers Act which has been used most
recently also against terrorists, and it's been used previously against
individuals and entities in Haiti, Cuba and elsewhere -- in this case,
to find that the activities of significant foreign narcotics traffickers
centered in Colombia, including the so-called Cali Cartel, which account
for approximately 80 percent of the cocaine entering the United States
and probably some 15 percent of the heroin entering the United States,
constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security,
the foreign policy, and the economy of the United States.
The order blocks their assets in the United States and in
U.S. banks overseas. It includes these traffickers, their front
companies, and individuals acting on their behalf, and prohibits U.S.
persons, which includes individuals and entities, from both commercial
and financial dealings with them.
What we expect on the basis of this action is that we will
be able to uncover the extent of the worth of these companies and deny
them the benefits of normal trade with the United States.
The Treasury Department, as is being passed out I believe,
has published now a list of the targeted companies and individuals. We
fully expect that over time we will be coming up with more both
individuals and companies, and we expect to take similar actions against
What we want to do now is call on other nations to take
similar actions. We think it's critical that the nations of Europe,
Asia, Latin America and elsewhere also take actions to prevent their
companies, their individuals from doing business with these Cali
Cartel-related enterprises, so that they can be strangled and that they
can be eliminated.
As Dick Clarke said, in terms of going after the money,
which is something we see as one of the critical choke points to try to
eliminate international crime, the President also has instructed the
Secretaries of State and Treasury and the Attorney General to notify
nations which are the most egregious in terms of their unwillingness up
until now to adopt measures to eliminate the possibility of money
laundering or other financial crimes in their countries, to enter into
bilateral or multilateral organizations with them to get them to conform
to international standards against money laundering.
These standards were adopted by the 28-member financial
action task force, a group which is currently led by the United States.
If after a reasonable period of time, these countries do not enter into
agreements and implement laws against money laundering, the Secretaries
of Treasury and State and the Attorney General will recommend to the
President whether sanctions should be applied. And these sanctions
could include the prohibition of electronic fund transfers and dollar
clearing to financial institutions in the subject country. In other
words, these would be very dramatic measures which would eliminate their
ability to do business through the U.S. financial system.
Finally, the President has instructed the Secretary of
State, the Secretary of Treasury, and the Attorney General to collect
and analyze possible legislative tools and develop and international
crime bill to be presented to the Congress in its next session so that
we could better investigate, prosecute, and have better tools to go
after international criminal organizations throughout the world.
We are also instructed by the President to try to develop
other evidence which can be put together to go after other international
criminal organizations as we are now doing and as we have now done
against the Cali Cartel. This includes narcotics trafficking, but does
go beyond narcotics trafficking, to look at international criminal
organizations throughout the world.
Finally, the President called for in his speech the
negotiation of an international declaration on citizen security and
combatting international organized crime. What we hope to do through
this mechanism is to jointly commit to undertake measures, national
measures and multilateral measures, of specific actions against drug
traffickers, terrorists, and other international criminals, and to
provide mutual assistance and investigation and prosecution of their
Q Questions? You, the President, coupled drug trafficking
and terrorism. Could you give us some examples of countries whose
terrorists or organizations with terrorist activities are financed at
least in part by drug trafficking?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD: We coupled them only in the
sense that we are looking at these four major elements of criminal
activity. But there are, indeed, cases where there are terrorist
organizations which are engaged in drug trafficking, usually to finance
These have included and continue to include the FARC and
ELN in Colombia, which continue to be engaged in drug trafficking. In
the past in Colombia, the M-19. It includes -- there have been several
instances of the PKK in Turkey, the LTT in Sri Lanka --
Q Anybody in the Middle East?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD: We think there have been
other -- and Hezbullah.
Q Do you have any idea of how much money you're talking
about that's going to be frozen in these companies, and also, which
countries you're talking about that facilitate money laundering?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD: At this point, we're looking
at a range of countries in which we see a tremendous amount of activity
related to money laundering and other kinds of financial crimes, as I
say, due to their unwillingness or inability so far to implement the
measures particularly of the 1988 Vienna Convention. That was 1988;
it's seven years later. We think there has been by far enough time for
these countries to have passed the legislation and implemented it.
The fact that only 54 percent of U.N. membership has even
ratified the Vienna Convention seven years later is shocking. And I
would estimate that only about a quarter of U.N. membership has even
implemented it. But a number of countries in Asia, several countries in
Latin America, Middle East and even Europe are places where we've seen
flourishing money laundering.
What we intend to do over coming weeks and months now is to
try to develop a list, notify these countries, offer to engage in talks,
help them even to undertake the measures they need. But passing the
laws is only a first step. We really feel they have to implement those
This is something we have been pressing on now for several
years. But as we have seen centers of financial crimes really become
concentrated, we want to really try to emphasize the need for them to
approve and implement these measures rapidly.
Q Which are the most egregious offenders? Give us a half
dozen. Who are the --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD: I'd rather not right now.
Q Well, but I mean, how can you do this? You're making --
the President makes a big point of this in his speech, and you stand up
here and say, no, but I can't tell you who they are. What kind of deal
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD: It's easy.
Q Seriously, that's --
MR. CLARKE: It's the kind of deal that gets results.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD: Yes. What we want to do
right now is, now that we've put these countries on warning, we want to
go to them quickly, which we expect to do within the next week or so,
and approach them stressing the need for them to undertake these
measures rapidly or face obvious consequences.
Q Well, how many are there?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD: I think there's a large
number potentially around the world. We want to concentrate on a number
of countries first to show our seriousness. There are a number of
countries in the Caribbean, in other parts of Latin America, where we're
seeing money laundering flourish, in Southeast Asia. But let me leave
it at that.
Q -- about the Russian cartels? Do you think that these
moneymakers are going to be affected for Russian-based criminals --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD: We have strongly encouraged
Q -- where does Russia stand in conforming to these
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD: We have strongly encouraged
Russia and some of the other new republics to undertake these measures.
There is, we think, some serious recognition in Russia that they need to
undertake some of these measures to strengthen their own financial
system. And in fact, a U.S. delegation, which I'll be leading, will be
in Russia in the next couple of weeks to discuss, among other things,
the need for them to do this to strengthen their financial system. But
this is something the Russian government clearly recognizes.
Q Of the 80 countries and individuals whose names you gave
us, how many of them do you believe do have assets held in U.S. banks
or U.S. --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD: Why don't I leave this now to
Rick Newcombe, and we can back to any other questions after he's done.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY NEWCOMBE: Thank you. I'd like to get
to these questions about the specific individuals named, but if I could
spend just two minutes putting this in context. Yesterday, President
Clinton signed an executive order under the International Emergency
Economic Powers Act, entitled Blocking Assets and Prohibiting
Transactions with Significant Narcotics Traffickers. This order blocks
all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction, which there is an interest
of four principal figures in the Cali drug cartel. Those four
individuals are named as principal individuals.
In addition, the order blocks the property and interest and
property of foreign persons determined by the Secretary of the Treasury
in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State to
play a significant role in international narcotics trafficking centered
in Colombia, or to materially assist in or provide financial or
technological support for or goods or services or other support of
persons designated pursuant to the order. In addition, this order
blocks all property and interest of property subject to U.S.
jurisdiction of person owned or controlled by, or acting for, or on
behalf of persons designated in that order.
Listed today are a total of 80 foreign entities and
individuals designated pursuant to this order. This further prohibits
any transaction or dealing by a United States person or within United
States -- within the United States in property or interest of properties
of the so-called specially designated narcotics traffickers and any
transaction that evades or avoids or has the purpose of evading or
avoiding this order is also prohibited.
Now, in terms of who these people are, first let me say
there are four principal individuals, 33 business entities, 43
additional individuals. And to give you just some highlights of what
contained in the list, these include drug store chains, holding
companies, import-export firms, pharmaceutical and chemical companies,
miscellaneous stores and shops located in a variety cities in Colombia,
automobile dealerships, relatives who are on boards of directors of
these companies, principal managers of the companies, and principal
Q Do you have an estimate about how much money is
involved, that is being frozen, if that's the word?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY NEWCOMBE: No, not at this point. And
the reason --
Q And how can you freeze the assets of someone who isn't a
ASSISTANT SECRETARY NEWCOMBE: Under the International
Emergency Economic Powers Act, the threat is from outside of the United
States, so not only are transactions with these individuals prohibited,
their assets are frozen both in the United States, foreign branches of
U.S. banks, U.S. persons anywhere in the world are prohibited from
having any transaction of any nature whatever. So supply houses cannot
sell them goods. They cannot be serviced. Any U.S. connection is now
severed, including especially their use of the dollar clearing system.
Q But you say you don't have an estimate of property and
assets that might be --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY NEWCOMBE: No. And the reason is in
every one of these programs, dating back for the life of IEEPA, going
into an asset freeze, the element of surprise is so important, by going
and researching where they're assets might be and the amount of them
would ruin the element of surprise. So the answer to that is no, we
anticipate in coming days and coming weeks to have those answers and
will be available. But it's the affect in the foreign designated
location and the trade with the U.S. company that's the most
Q -- assets by entities and individuals, these folks, the
companies, are outside U.S. borders. It just occurs to me, there don't
seem to be any in the U.S. Are you saying then that there are no Cali
fronts in the United States?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY NEWCOMBE: Well, there is -- the
investigation continues. We continue to look for other connected
companies. There are other names we are continuing to research. By
definition, IEEPA is a threat from outside of the United States. They
indeed may, and probably do, have assets in this country. Those will be
blocked. Their relatives will no longer be able to receive payments in
the United States. They can no longer travel to this country because of
financial transaction with them would be prohibited.
Q It stands to reason that, with all the millions of
dollars that they have, that in addition to having fronts in Colombia
that they would have fronts in this country. And what can you do, or
are you doing at all, with regard to people and entities that are in the
United States, not in Colombia, that front for Cali?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY NEWCOMBE: Well, the very first step is
this list. All multinational companies will be checking this list for
international trade transactions with any of these individuals or
companies. U.S. banks will go through the various automated clearing
mechanisms and so forth.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD: Let me just add to that.
This is something that the Justice Department and our law enforcement
agencies have been and continue to look into. And obviously what we
intend to do, whether it's bank accounts that are held in the United
States or front companies related to the Cali Cartel, we've either
already taken action against them or are in the process of trying to do
Q Given that there are lots of nations that are doing
money laundering, as you point out, do you have any reason to believe
that there is any significant amount of money by these groups in U.S.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD: Well, that's obviously
something we have been investigating and are continuing to try to
investigate. There have been some accounts seized in the past. And
we're continuing to look. They use a whole series of front companies
and false names and go-betweens, so it becomes complicated to try to
find it. But the fact that we have now been able to develop this
extensive list of individuals and companies, I think, is a demonstration
of the amount of information we've been able to accumulate in the last
few months, in particular. And we intend to do more.
Q What has actually been frozen or seized at this point?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY NEWCOMBE: What's been frozen are all
assets that they may have subject to U.S. jurisdiction.
Q Do you know --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY NEWCOMBE: No, not at this point. We
have no report to give you on that. However, the investigation
continues. I think the critical point here is these individuals and
these companies are cut off from the U.S. financial system.
Q Yes, we understand that, but what we're trying to get a
sense of here is if they have anything here to be cut off.
MR. CLARKE: There are two bites to this proposal. One is
blocking assets they may have in this country. But the bigger bite, and
the much more serious bite is that no American firm can now deal with
firms that they own overseas. Rick mentioned there is, for example, the
largest pharmaceutical chain of stores in Colombia is on this list.
What is the value, the stock market value, the resale value of that
chain of stores now that that chain of stores can't buy aspirin made in
the United States, can't buy even Microsoft software to run its computer
We have just, by making it impossible for that chain of
stores to do transactions in dollars or to do transactions with American
companies great devalued the market value of that company to the
criminals who owned it. The real bite is in cutting these people off
from the United States. The lesser bite is in blocking what assets they
may have in the United States.
Q How do you do that in a practical sense? I don't
understand how you prevent good company A from doing business with
marked company B. And certainly I don't understand how you stop
somebody from going in and buying a toothbrush in the largest
pharmaceutical chain in Cali, Colombia.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY NEWCOMBE: It's not the toothbrush that
we're after. What we're after is --
Q I know that, but what is your legal basis for
prohibiting an American citizen or American company from dealing with
some overseas company that as far as they know is ostensibly a drug
firm? I mean, a pharmaceutical firm.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY NEWCOMBE: Well, the legal basis is the
International Emergency Economic Powers Act where the President has the
authority to confer upon himself the ability to regulate financial
transactions with so designated individuals. U.S. -- as a practical
matter, this information goes out of Fedwire, chips, federal and state
bank regulators, the securities industry, the automated clearing houses,
U.S. banks with operations in Colombia, Colombian banks with operations
in here, and all U.S. companies operating in Colombia. They will be on
specific written notice of this today.
We have a specially designated national list of the U.S.
Treasury Department where individuals of Libya, Iraq, terrorists, now
designated narcotics traffickers and others, are checked before these
trade transactions can occur.
Q What does the fact that you have to go -- that you're
going after so many companies say about the U.S. relationship with the
Colombian government? And what effect do you think this will have on
the already tenuous relationship with them?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD: Well, in fact, the
information that has enabled us to take these actions is based on
operations that were accomplished by Colombian law enforcement
authorities with support of U.S. entities. We've been working very well
in the course of this year with the Colombian police, for example.
I don't think it necessarily says anything about the
Colombian government per se. What is means is that we urge and hope
that the Colombian government itself will also take action against these
entities and individuals in the case of those individuals who are not
I think what's come out over the course of this year as
Colombian police operations have really improved dramatically in their
scope and in what they have been able to achieve, the Colombian people
themselves and the Colombian media have played a terrific job in this,
have really been able to demonstrate the extraordinary penetration of
the Cali Cartel through so much of Colombian society.
For example, three weeks before Miguel Rodriguez Orjuella,
who's on this list, was captured, a number of his documents were seized
that listed the names of 2,800 prominent Colombian citizens and the
amounts of money that Rodriguez Orjuella had paid to them. And these
were people in the government, in the courts, in the judiciary, in the
Congress, in business, athletes, all through society. They have been
able to distort the entire criminal code of Colombia. They have been
able to eliminate extradition through their buying up of members of the
constitutional assembly. What is -- they have been able to subvert
And what I, what we would all hope is that this would
demonstrate to the Colombian people and to the Colombian government even
more the need to take action as we have. But I think it's also critical
that other nations, as I said earlier, take similar measures to what we
have taken in order to choke off the ability of these empires, which in
many cases are still being run by the incarcerated Cali Cartel
leadership from continuing to flourish.
MR. MCCURRY: Last question.
Q How new for the United Nations is what the President is
asking the United Nations to do? What activities does the U.N. now have
against international terrorism, organized crime, narcotics smuggling?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD: The U.N. has taken on some
very important leadership roles in recent years. I mentioned earlier
the 1988 Vienna U.N. convention, which we consider to be the model
framework to guide countries in establishing legal frameworks and
undertaking action. That's why I attributed so much importance for the
need for the U.N. membership to ratify and implement fully that
We work very closely with the United Nations drug control
program, their crime branch, and also with other multilateral
organizations, such as inside of the Organization of American States. I
think it's quite clear if you listened to the Secretary General's
remarks, which interestingly were very similar to the President's, that
there is a building consensus of the nature and importance of these
transnational problems and the need to confront them through al elements
of the international system.
Q Some of you guys have been working on Colombia for a
long time. Who came up with the idea of using IEEPA against the
cartels, and how come it took so long?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD: I think the decision on using
IEPA is one that was developed on an interagency basis. We have been
able to develop a number of very effective tools over the course of
time. It's not coincidental that we've -- that we have been helping
honest police, an honest prosecutor general in Colombia over the course
of this year. And that's produced dramatic results.
The reason that this is being used now is that over the
last six or eight months, as the Colombia police under General Serrano
have been able to have very effective operations supported by U.S.
government entities, we have together been accumulating dramatic
documentation, both quantitatively and qualitatively, about their
activities, much more than we ever knew before. And as they've seized
these documents, as they've been able to decode encoded computer
traffic, as they've been able to develop other information, we've been
able to develop a much better sense of the empires that they have. But
clearly there's more. There's no question about that. And we now hope
to be able to do the same things with other international criminal
groups, narcotics, as well as many other kinds of international criminal
MR. MCCURRY: Let me, before I excuse our team here, George
Ward here could take any particular question on the subject of the U.N.
reform or arrearages. Was there anything that needs to be cleared up on
that? Yes, Leo.
Q The fact sheet, the last page, has a more pessimistic
slant on perspective arrears than the President had in his speech. In
his speech, the President said, I'm working with Congress and we'll work
it out. But in your fact sheet you show at the end of FY '96 that we're
going to be about $2 billion in arrears, depending on whether the House
or Senate figure becomes the final one. Isn't the United States,
according to your own figures, going in the wrong direction rather than
in the supposedly right direction that the President intimated in his
ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY WARD: If we get the worst of
the figures that are up on the Hill now -- that is the Senate figures --
we're going to go steeply in the wrong direction. The President's point
is that we have begun a dialogue with the Congress on U.N. reform, and
we hope to deepen that dialogue in the coming days and weeks in order to
improve the situation markedly.
Q -- at worst, but even the best of the congressional
scenarios you show the situation getting worse to $1.4 billion, which is
worse than it is today.
ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY WARD: We feel that working with
Congress that we can implement the President's pledge to pay back all
our obligations to the United Nations. The key is to demonstrate to the
Congress that the U.N. is willing and able to begin a process of reform.
We've laid out a four-part reform agenda. We feel that if we can make
that reform agenda real, that it might be possible to convince the
Congress that reform is happening and that we can move to a better
Q Where would that money come from? Are you talking about
a new appropriation, the Pentagon, the Medicare Trust Fund?
ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY WARD: That's going to be up to
the Congress and to dialogue between the administration and Congress.
Q What's the administration's idea on that?
ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY WARD: We're going to Congress
with a number of proposals on U.N. reform, with a number of proposals on
how the dialogue between the executive and the legislature on
peacekeeping and peacekeeping decisions can be improved. And we'd like
to hear their reactions to those ideas before we get into specifics of
Q Can I ask about Bosnia -- no, no, in this respect --
financially. The working theory is each country pays for the upkeep of
its peacekeeping forces and you know they're not going to use dual key
and all, but you're going to have some resolution for the U.N. Will the
administration ask the U.N. in any way to finance this operation?
ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY WARD: The working theory for
Bosnia is that we would seek a Security Council resolution that would
authorize a coalition, in this case, under the command of NATO, to
implement a peace agreement. There would be some certain humanitarian
and other U.N. operations left over which would be either financed by
voluntary contributions, as they are now, or under the regular budget.
But the peacekeeping operation would be one that would be financed
through other means -- non-U.N. means.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 2:25 P.M. EDT