Chris Batt, the regional advisor on global programme against money laundering, said the two crimes were inter-related.
However Batt, who last week facilitated the weeklong workshop on cash couriering in the Pacific, said they were not aware of the extent of these crimes in the region.
“In general terms, most crime is committed for profit apart from say, domestic violence or murders. Most crime if you think about it is committed for greed, personal gain and any drug-related crime clearly is financial crime,” Batt said.
“It is a crime committed for profit so where you have drug trafficking for example, there will be money laundering somewhere because the payment has to get to the drug trafficker.”
Batt said the way these payments are made is a complex topic.
He said it can involve either cash going over the border or trade based money laundering.
Trade-based laundering involves the value of the crime paid in commodities such as televisions, refrigeration and things in that nature, Batt added.
He said money could also be paid into businesses through bank account and transferred electronically.
“There are whole range of ways in which money can be cleaned and laundered but if you got drugs being imported into the Cook Islands, you can be absolutely certain the payments have to be laundered somehow. Some of that money laundering could include cash.”
Last week’s workshop was facilitated by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, New Zealand Customs, and regional anti money laundering group, the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering.
The participants were police and customs officers as well as financial intelligence representatives from the Cook Islands, Samoa and Fiji.