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EPPO uncovers €220m VAT fraud involving Italian alcohol exporters

The investigation uncovered a highly skilled white collar criminal organisation suspected of using false invoices to evade the payment of taxes for exporting large quantities of alcoholic beverages, using an intra-community VAT ‘carousel’ fraud – a complex criminal scheme that takes advantage of EU rules on cross-border transactions between its Member States, as these are exempt from value added tax (VAT).

IMF publishes detailed assessment report on AML/CFT in the British Virgin Islands

Analyses the level of compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) 40 Recommendations and the level of effectiveness of VI’s AML/CFT system and provides recommendations on how the system could be strengthened.

FATF Plenary Outcomes, 21-23 February 2024 – key developments

The key outcomes include introduction of a new risk-based guidance for implementing Rec.25, enhancing transparency in legal arrangements like trusts, public consultation on a range of options for adapting FATF Standards to changes in new payment systems’ business models and messaging standards (Rec.16), final modifications to Rec.8 to safeguard non-profit organisations…

Wolfsberg Group responds to EBA consultation on travel rule guidelines

Offers detailed suggestions on how the Guidelines may be further improved by acknowledging the various roles played by Payment Service Providers n a transfer chain and addressing the potential unintended consequences of the new requirements around batch payments.

MONEYVAL publishes Fifth Round Mutual Evaluation report on Azerbaijan

Notes that conversion from intelligence obtained through suspicious transactions reports (STRs) and other reports into case investigations and ultimately prosecutions is insufficient. The absence of a beneficial ownership framework is also remarked upon.

CFTAF publishes Mutual Evaluation Report on the British Virgin Islands

Finds that the overall understanding of ML/TF  risks is “fair and narrow”, although most prosecutions comprise simple cases of possession of cash proceeds derived for drug trafficking.

DEA issues letter to E-commerce companies on the sale of pill presses used to make fentanyl pills

In 2023, the Drug Enforcement Administration seized over 79 million fake pills containing fentanyl—a more than 33% increase from the year before. DEA laboratory testing currently indicates that 7 out of 10 pills contain a potentially deadly dose of fentanyl.

FATF sets out methodology for the fifth round of mutual evaluations

The next round of mutual evaluations will be a six-year cycle, significantly shorter than earlier rounds, which lasted 10 years on average. There will be a strenghtened focus on effectiveness and greater emphasis on the major risks and context. Recommendations will also be more results-oriented

The EU Council and EU Parliament select Frankfurt as the seat of the future European authority for anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing (AMLA)

AMLA is the centrepiece of the reform of the EU’s AML framework, which will have direct and indirect supervisory powers over obliged entities and the power to impose sanctions and measures. AMLA will be based in Frankfurt and will begin operations mid-2025. It will have over 400 staff members…

 

 

 

FINTRAC updates guidance related to the ministerial directive on financial transactions associated with Russia

This guidance is related to the Ministerial Directive issued by the Minister of Finance that was published in the Canada Gazette and came into force on February 24, 2024.

FATF removes Barbados, Gibraltar, UAE and Uganda from its ‘Grey List’ and these countries will no longer be subject to increased monitoring

In order to be removed from FATF monitoring, a jurisdiction must address all or nearly all the components of its action plan. Once the FATF has determined that a jurisdiction has done so, it will organise an on-site visit to confirm that the implementation of the necessary legal, regulatory, and/or operational reforms is underway…

 

Europol announces the arrest of five high value targets arrested as one of the largest networks smuggling migrants across the English Channel halted

French and Belgian judicial orders executed in Germany led to 19 arrests and 28 locations raided following an 18-month-long joint investigation under Europol’s Operational Task Force Wave in an action coordinated by Eurojust.