Europol issued European Migrant Smuggling CentreReport 2019 that looks at the operations supported in 2019 and the intelligence gathered to draw the possible evolution of these crime areas in the near future. Below see some highlights from the report.
During this unprecedented crisis of coronavirus outbreak, governments, international organizations and other authorities are intensifying their efforts to combat various criminal and fraudulent activity related to that. You may have already seen reports of fraudulent activity around the sale of face masks and hand sanitiser.
The COVID-19 pandemic has generated various government responses, ranging from social assistance and tax relief initiatives, to enforced confinement measures and travel restrictions. While unintended, these measures may provide new opportunities for criminals and terrorists to generate and launder illicit proceeds.
Criminals have been quick to seize opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic to generate significant amounts of profit. Certain types of criminal activity intensified during the pandemic, while others almost ceased to occur. Even during times of crisis, criminal business continues.
Scammers are sophisticated, opportunistic and will try to get personal details or money from victims in many ways. They tend to target people who are more vulnerable or susceptible to being scammed, particularly in the current climate with many more people being at home.
– INTERPOL warns of financial fraud linked to COVID-19; – EUROPOL issued multiple reports on the criminal situation in Europe during the Coronavirus pandemic;
– Statement by the FATF President: COVID-19 and measures to combat illicit financing; COVID-19-related Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Risks and Policy Responses issued by FATF; – OLAF launches enquiry into fake COVID-19 related products; – UK FCA on how to avoid coronavirus scams;
– Austria FMA warns about a strong increase in fraudulent activities in the financial markets in conjunction with the Corona pandemic; – USA Justice Department Files Its First Enforcement Action Against COVID-19 Fraud
– California Attorney General Issues Consumer Alert on Fraudulent Charities Amid the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
The activities of terrorists and terrorist groups puts every country at risk. As result, each country has to have a proper understanding of the nature of the exposure to such risks and improve its counter-terrorist-financing regime and the extent to which its financial system is connected to such activity.
Beyond the ISIL core conflict zone – Middle East, threats from Al-Qaida and ISIL affiliates persist globally, especially in Afghanistan and its immediate neighbourhood, but also in parts of Africa and South-East Asia. In East Africa, Al-Qaida affiliate Al-Shabaab maintains a steady pace of attacks on security forces and foreign targets. ISIL affiliates are active in the Philippines, with fighters from Indonesia and Malaysia contributing to insurgent attacks there and in their own countries.
Trends and emerging issues
Small scale, low-value attacks: Over the last several years there has been a tendency towards small-scale, low-cost terrorist attacks against vulnerable or soft targets. A particularly disturbing example of this has been the use of cars or trucks to target random groups of individuals, often at public events or other large gatherings.
Spanish employment company “Terra Fecundis” involved in a social fraud in France reports LeMonde.fr
A big social fraud case in France concerning a Spanish temporary work company: Terra Fecundis, with headquarter in Murcia, is on trial at this point in Marseille court, France.
Defendants are accused of having providing for several years, thousands of workers – mainly from Latin America – without having declared them in accordance with the law requirements and by ignoring various obligations relating to minimum wages, overtime , paid holidays, etc. The damage would be heavy for the employed women and men, but also for the French Social Security, not paying the contributions which, according to the accusation amounts to more than 112 million euros between early 2012 and end of 2015.
The activities of terrorists and terrorist groups puts every country at risk. As result, each country has to have a proper understanding of the nature of the exposure to such risks and improve its counter-terrorist-financing regime and the extent to which its financial system is connected to those higher risk jurisdiction.
Homegrown terrorists still represent the principal threat to European countries. These individuals are radicalized online, consult online tutorials and possibly connect with other radical elements through encrypted Internet applications. They do notrequire contact with the ISIL core or its authorization to claim attacks in its name.
It is reported that European foreign terrorist fighters in the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq continued to provide an income stream for ISIL through a financing network across Europe. Financing from relatives was regularly observed, including through intermediaries based in Turkey. No observed large-scale organized fundraising in Europe on behalf of ISIL or Al-Qaida. Funds entering the ISIL core area often arrive in Turkey through money service businesses and then reach beneficiaries via hawala or cash courier.
Despite weaknesses in the current structure, the threat of a planned complex attack in Europe, especially by former expert operatives who have the ability to operate independently, is assessed to persist. Al-Qaida has also shown interest in large-scale attacks against symbolic European targets. In this regard, HAD is assessed to have a global agenda, including international attack planning and the establishment of clandestine structures.
The European Banking Authority (EBA) is an independent EU Authority which works to ensure effective and consistent prudential regulation and supervision across the European banking sector. Its overall objectives are to maintain financial stability in the EU and to safeguard the integrity, efficiency and orderly functioning of the banking sector.
An ACAMS podcast episode with Danny L. Glaser, principal with the Financial Integrity Network, about the wide use of sanctions, their importance as a national security tool and Glaser’s thoughts about working in the AML field.