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NEWS: Pleyer and Lee honoured for their efforts fighting financial crime at EAFCS 2024

PRESENTATION: Dr Marcus Pleyer (centre) Deputy Director General of Germany's federal finance ministry and former FATF president receives his award from Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, Derville Rowland (r) and James Treacy, co.founder, AML Intelligence at European Anti-Financial Crime Summit 2024.

By Paul O’Donoghue, Senior Correspondent

TWO outstanding figures in the area of global anti-financial crime – Dr Marcus Pleyer and Chief Jim Lee – have been formally awarded for their efforts in tackling the problem.

The two public servants received awards for exemplary careers of leadership in the public service at last week’s European Anti-Financial Crime Summit 2024 (EAFCS) in Dublin.

Dr Pleyer is Deputy Director General of the German federal finance ministry and former President of FATF (2020-2022). He is also in charge of building out Germany’s new federal AML super-agency.

Chief Lee stepped down as head of Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) last month after an eminent career of law enforcement and international co-operation.

Delegates applauded both recipients as they received the award plaques over the two-day event.

AML Intelligence chair Stephen Rae said: “It is only right that two legends in this area should be acknowledged for their supreme roles in tackling global financial crime and money laundering. Both are career public servants who have led from the front and made tangible differences in tackling the damage caused by criminality.

“Both recipients have gone above and beyond during their careers of public service and have led by example. They are worthy recipients of the inaugural award and have now been enrolled into the EAFCS Hall of Fame,” he said.

The legend on their citations read that the awards were for their careers of “public service and contribution to the global fight against financial crime”.

HONOUR: Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe TD (r) congratulates Dr Pleyer (c) on his award along with AML Intelligence chair, Stephen Rae (l) at EAFCS2024. Mr Donohoe also holds aloft the Speaker’s lapel badge for this year’s Summit.
PEERS: Chief Lee receives his award at the Closed Session of EAFCS2024 with former IRS-CI colleagues present.

Dr Marcus Pleyer served as the president of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for a two-year term between 2020 and 2022.

He serves as deputy director general in Germany’s Ministry of Finance, where his responsibilities include policy development and international engagement relating to money laundering, counter-terrorism financing and cyber security.

Dr Pleyer is currently leading out the establishment of the country’s new AML super-agency the BBVA which will be several thousand-strong and incorporate the FIU, financial intelligence gathering and AML investigation. It is to be based in Cologne and Dresden.

He is also a member of the board of governors of Germany’s Foundation for Financing the Disposal of Nuclear Waste and the Development Bank for Agribusiness.

Before he assumed the position of FATF President, he also served as FATF Vice-President and as the head of the German delegation from 2016 to 2019.

Pleyer studied law at the National University of Singapore and the University of Heidelberg, graduating in 1995 before he qualified for the position of a judge in 1997.

Dr Pleyer’s award was presented by Central Bank of Ireland Deputy Governor, Derville Rowland and AMLi MD and co-founder James Treacy at the main auditorium of EAFCS at the RDS convention centre in Dublin on Thursday last.

He holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Edinburgh, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Wales and a Ph.D. from the University of Dresden. 

APPLAUSE: Dr Pleyer receives his award during EAFCS2024 in Dublin.

Prior to his appointment to the Ministry of Finance he held a variety of senior roles at German state and government bodies, including Head of Cabinet of Federal Finance from 2011 to 2014 and head of the Division for International Financial Markets from 2014 to 2015.

Chief Jim Lee’s award was presented to him by Central Bank of Ireland Deputy Governor, Derville Rowland and Stephen Rae, AML Intelligence’s chair and co-founder, at the Closed Session of EAFCS during the Speaker’s Dinner on May 15 at the Stephen’s Green Club in Dublin.

Lee, who now works for Chainalysis, was appointed as the head of Criminal Investigation (CI) at the United States Internal Revenue Service, before retiring from the role in February 2024.

While in CI, he oversaw a staff of more than 3,200 employees who investigated thousands of financial crimes including money laundering, public corruption, cybercrime, narcotics trafficking and terrorism financing.

AWARD: Chief Lee reads the citation on the award during the Closed Session.

During his time leading CI, the agency carried out some of the most significant enforcement actions in its 100-plus year history. 

These included the shutdown of Hydra Market, the world’s largest and longest-running darknet market. 

Lee was also at the helm of the takedown of Welcome to Video, a darknet marketplace for child sexual abuse materials that accepted crypto payments. In the wake of the shut down, 23 children were rescued and 337 child abusers were arrested.

Lee spent 29 years at CI, starting out in 1995 as a special agent in Detroit, Michigan. Since then he has held a variety of roles in the agency, including the special agent in charge of the New Orleans Field Office and the director leading various field operations branches.

Lee joined Blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis in April 2024 in the role of Global Head of Capacity Building, where he will advise regulators and state agencies on how they can fight crypto crime using Chainalysis tools.

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