In the previous six years, the number of cross-border money laundering cases reported to the EU's judicial body Eurojust has doubled.
In a recent report released today, the organization notes that over 600 incidents of cross-border money laundering were reported in 2021 alone, out of the almost 3000 cases that had been reported to the agency.
With numbers consistently increasing year over year, money laundering crimes currently make up 12–14% of all recorded cases at the agency.
Eurojust said in a statement that it had gained "practical knowledge" of the "challenges, solutions and best practices that can make a difference when engaging in international judicial cooperation on money laundering cases."
The agency emphasized that identifying the beneficial owner of illegal assets, which Eurojust has noted is sometimes "very difficult" due to the use of shell firms, was a "key challenge" in money laundering investigations.
Some of the most important difficulties encountered when dealing with illegal funding are highlighted in Eurojust's Money Laundering Report, including:
- Differences in national law requirements for identifying predicate offences for the conviction for money laundering
- Relevance of dual criminality
- Lack of harmonisation over predicate offences for money laundering
- Financial expertise and resources required to analyse data
- Identification of beneficial owners
- Non-familiarity with regulations on mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders
- Victim determination and compensation
- Tracing of money transfers outside the EU
- Conflicts of jurisdiction
Italy, France, Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands handled the most cases brought to the agency during the previous six years, according to Eurojust. While the non-EU nations most frequently embroiled in legal disputes are Switzerland, the UK, the US, and Ukraine.
Over the course of six years, the agency claimed to have organized 600 meetings for national authorities to coordinate as well as 33 action days. 116 joint investigative teams for cases of money laundering were also created by Eurojust.
In addition to "providing support" to professionals attempting to combat dirty money, Eurojust stated that it will continue to "closely follow" developments pertaining to the new EU AML Action plan.
By fLEXI tEAM