Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) from the 39-country Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Egmont Group Secretariat gathered in Paris to talk about the global repercussions of virtual assets, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) said in a press release.
“Today FIUs are showing that they are fully mobilized to continue working to improve the security of the financial system and enforce the international anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing standards,” said Lucie Castets, meeting host and co-chair, and the head of the international affairs department of France’s FIU Tracfin. “To meet this ambitious goal and stand out as central actors in the fight against the misuse of new technologies, including virtual assets, for laundering the proceeds of illegal activities, it is instrumental that FIUs continue to share their operational experiences and expertise.”
The Sunday (Feb. 16) meeting had 50 attendees and also co-chaired by the FIU of the U.S., FinCEN Director Kenneth A. Blanco and Marko Stolle, deputy director of Germany’s FIU.
Virtual asset authorities from the FIUs of France, the U.S. and Israel gave comprehensive presentations. Topics discussed included cryptocurrency business models, money laundering and terrorist finance risks, illicit typologies and the role of FIUs in tracing virtual assets.
“International criminals and bad actors know no borders,” said Blanco. “They will reliably search for jurisdictions with weak financial integrity controls and, perhaps, insufficiently resourced investigators. It is critical that all FIUs across the world be brought to the same level of skill and vigilance so that criminals and bad actors can find no safe haven. We will continue to bring the expertise of FIUs together to discuss emerging threats, to share effective techniques, and to join forces for our national security.”
Stolle said that FIUs “are team players — for exactly these reasons” and everyone has to collaborate “on the basis of mutual trust.”
He added that collaboration among FIUs is just the beginning. “Global standard setters, law enforcement, intelligence services, supervisors but also the private sector are our natural partners. Being autonomous and part of a global network are two sides of the same coin.”
Blanco told bankers and lawyers at a conference in December that the information they report provides important data for agents, analysts and investigative personnel.