Economic and financial crime on the rise in 2021 according to TRACFIN

In a context of resumption of transactions after the crisis related to COVID 19 and the war in Ukraine, TRACFIN, the service of the Ministry of Finance in charge of tracking this type of crime, publishes its activity report for 2021, which shows growing and changing volumes. types of fraud.

Economic and financial crime: growing volumes

Professionals from the financial and non-financial sectors who enter the system of fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism (including public bodies and their foreign correspondents) transmitted in 2021 to the intelligence service TRACFIN, almost 161,000 suspicious transaction reportsan increase of 44% compared to 2020. On the other hand, the systematic information related to the movement of cash has slightly decreased.

The role of TRACFIN

TRACFIN is an intelligence service placed under the authority of the Ministry of Finance fight against clandestine financial circuits, money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

TRACFIN’s three priority missions are:

  • him fight against economic and financial crime,
  • the fight against fraud public finance,
  • the defense of the fundamental interests of the Nation.

TRACFIN is responsible for collect, analyze and enrich the reports of suspicions that the subject professionals (under no circumstances individuals) are required by law to declare to him.

The sectors of activity concerned are in particular: banks and insurance companies, money changers, advisers and financial managers, etc., on the one hand and, on the other hand, the professions of figures (accounts), law and real estate, toys organizations, art shops, players’ agents…

TRACFIN collects, analyzes, enriches and uses this information and, in case of proven fraudtransmits the results of its investigations to the judicial authorities, to the administrations and to its foreign counterparts.

In 2021, more than 95% of suspicious transaction reports were conveyed to him by the financial professions (and, for the most part, from banks and payment institutions, almost equally), the notice being the source of almost a quarter of the statements of non-financial professions.

At the end of the treatment, TRACFIN transmitted, in 2021, 3,242 pieces of information or information to the recipient organizations (justice, tax authorities, international, etc.), up 7% compared to 2020. The corresponding financial events are estimated by TRACFIN at 2.8 billion euros.

Economic and financial crimes: main types of crimes

Based on the types of criminal offenses, the money laundering is the one that is most observed with, as origin, in half of the cases, scams, the most common of which are false transfer ordersthem fake investments (currency market, digital assets, diamonds, advertising inserts, etc.) and those based on local businesses (collection of funds from stolen or counterfeit means of payment, organized bankruptcies, etc.).

Then come the crimes related to the tax fraud (example: no declaration of income received abroad) and social (example: hidden work). Moreover, it is the detection of tax fraud that has grown the most in 2021, representing a financial participation estimated by TRACFIN at 669 million euros.

Among the subjects on which this financial crime is increasing: real estate, accounting manipulations, embezzlement of public aid schemes (the most obvious example of which concerns the CPF – personal training account), crypto-laundering (through the use of crypto-assets) and more generally internet trafficu bribery of foreign public officials, etc. with the specific case of asset freezing measures in the case of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis.

TRACFIN and the general public

The general public has little direct contact with TRACFIN. But the obligations it imposes have a visible impact on all consumers, including:

– The need for customer knowledge from the institutions that it regulates: request for information and updated documents, in particular on professional activity and sources of income, etc., for the opening of an account or a new contract and in general the commercial report;

– U filter for specific operations (transfers, checks, etc.), which can induce delays and blocks, both of a high amount, in terms of cash or non-recurring with questions in particular about the origin of the funds, the owner, the economic justification, etc.

– Of the enhanced measures in case “non-cooperative” countries are involved, or politically exposed people, or constraints are imposed (example: freezing of assets), etc.

However, it should be noted that TRACFIN has broad investigative powers, similar to those of tax or customs authorities.

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