LYON, France – Two world leaders in tackling financial crime – INTERPOL and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – came together this week to help police around the world make better use of INTERPOL’s operational tools to track, freeze and seize criminals’ illegal property and money.
With global organized crime thought to generate USD trillions in illegal wealth every year, and as criminals get increasingly innovative in how they hide their illicit profits, police need sophisticated tools to detect and prevent criminals’ attempts at investment.
Since the launch in 2022 of INTERPOL’s Global Rapid Intervention of Payments (I-GRIP) stop-payment mechanism, countries have intercepted more than USD 200 million, stemming largely from cyber-enabled fraud.
Around 200 experts at the interactive conference showcased operational successes, discussed their challenges and how INTERPOL’s policing tools had helped them identify and track criminal assets globally. These assets range from luxury yachts, cars and racehorses to cryptocurrency investments and real estate.
One investigation that was showcased revealed how an organized crime syndicate in Asia responsible for INTERPOL impersonation scams across Europe had been identified, its illicit money followed, and the organization disrupted.
In another major success, a drug trafficking ring was taken down when police identified and traced its money laundering operations across Europe.
Experts at the two-day meeting learned how I-GRIP helps police submit and handle time-critical requests to trace, intercept or freeze illegal proceeds of crime across borders.
“It is only through increased cooperation and aligning of efforts, such as this FATF-INTERPOL event, that we can map a way forward in closing the gaps which criminals exploit every day,” added the Secretary General.
“There needs to be a major mindset and culture shift to focus on asset recovery as a national law enforcement priority. This takes time, but it is essential for countries to start now. Asset recovery is not a secondary or ancillary aspect of investigations and prosecution. It should be a key crime prevention strategy to remove the primary incentive for financial crime – money. If done well, it will prevent and reduce further crime,” said FATF President T. Raja Kumar during his opening remarks.
Second FATF-INTERPOL Roundtable Engagement (FIRE)
Designed to give an operational focus to the discussion on asset recovery, the FIRE event (19 and 20 September) at the INTERPOL headquarters brought law enforcement, financial intelligence, public policy and judicial officials as well as industry and academia under one roof to find ways to overcome challenges faced in asset recovery globally.
Through thematic panel discussions and real-life case studies, specialists with a diverse range of expertise, approaches and experience devised and examined effective ways to address contemporary financial crime threats and support law enforcement in detecting and disrupting criminal asset flows.
The FATF-INTERPOL alliance
Global challenges require global partnerships to achieve successful outcomes. FATF and INTERPOL have joined forces to address the threats posed by transnational crime by going after the lifeblood of criminal enterprise, namely the dirty money that funds crime.
This partnership has also included the EGMONT Group of Financial Intelligence Units.
The FATF sets international standards to ensure national authorities can go after illicit funds linked to drug trafficking, human trafficking, cyber-enabled fraud, illicit arms trade, illegal wildlife trafficking, environmental crime and other serious crimes.
In partnership with INTERPOL, FATF works with national authorities to ensure that asset recovery is a key pillar of countries’ approach to tackling money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
INTERPOL’s asset recovery methods and tools allow officers in 195 countries to share information helping them to trace illegally obtained assets worldwide.
The first FATF-INTERPOL Roundtable Engagement was held in Singapore in September 2022.