Financial action task force (FATF) on combating the legalization of funds obtained by criminal means recognized that the international trading system has become one of the principal means by which criminal organizations and terrorist financiers transfer their funds, trying to hide their criminal origin through legalization. It is expected that such unlawful use the international trading system will become more and more attractive to criminals, as the application of standard methods to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism to other methods the legalization of funds obtained by criminal means, became more efficient.
At present, however, many customs, law enforcement agencies, Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the tax authorities, and services for monitoring and control in banking (competent authorities) to identify and discourage the practice of money laundering through the trading system are less efficient than the struggle with other forms of the legalization of funds obtained by criminal means.
Anti-money laundering (AML) is the practice to enhance the ability of the competent authorities to collect and effectively use trade transactions, both within countries and internationally, in order to identify and investigate cases of money laundering (ML) and financing of terrorism (FT) using the international trading system. The FATF group will continue to study vulnerabilities in the trading system, including those relating to financial transactions for trade transactions, in order to develop measures that can be taken to counter the illegal use of the trade system.
Typological studies conducted by the FATF show that criminal organizations and terrorist groups search and use vulnerabilities in international trade system to move values for their criminal purposes.
They identified a number of specific instances of the funds legalization obtained by criminal means, including from different types of predicate offenses:
- drug trafficking;
- illicit trafficking in stolen and other goods;
- corruption and bribery;
- counterfeit or pirated goods;
- smuggling of goods.
The most common schemes are based on the fraudulent practices known in the trade as the inflating and underestimating the cost of goods and services invoiced; multiple payments on the same lot of goods or service; excess- or under-declaration of the amount of the goods shipped or services provided; specifying false information in the descriptions of goods and services. In more sophisticated designs, these frauds are woven in intricate combinations of transactions and movements of goods.
Vulnerabilities inevitably exist in the international trading system (for example, huge amounts of trade flows, impeding the tracing of individual transactions) give the criminal organizations and terrorist groups, a lot of opportunities for the movement of precious commodities across borders.
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