In the European Union (EU), hundreds of financial crimes such as fraud and money laundering commit each year. However, the rate at which victims can recover their assets state as 2%. To prevent this significant threat, Europol has given the task of establishing the European Financial and Economic Crime Center (EFECC) by the EU member states. This development is also a result of Europol's 2020+ strategy.
What Is The European Financial and Economic Crime Center (EFECC)?
EFECC will be part of Europol's current organizational structure and consolidate all financial intelligence and economic crime capabilities into a single asset. The unit consists of 65 international experts and analysts. It will provide operational support and analytical capacity for financial crime research to strengthen operational effectiveness, increase operational visibility, and enhance stakeholder management and funding opportunities.
Europol's report on financial crimes in the EU provides an overview of the most threatening events in economic and financial crimes, including various types of fraud, the production and distribution of counterfeit goods, and money laundering. A notable area of risk identified by Europol, among others, is the growing relationship between cryptocurrencies and money laundering activities. The establishment of the EFECC forms part of the European Commission's Action Plan (Action Plan) for a wide Union policy to prevent terrorist financing and money laundering.
The Action Plan sets out the EU's roadmap to develop the AML and CTF framework:
- effective enforcement of existing rules
- a single EU rulebook
- EU-level inspection
- a support and cooperation mechanism for financial intelligence units
- better use of information for enforcing criminal law; and
- a more robust EU in the World.
The Action Plan also sets out the timeline for steps to be taken to support the EFECC and relevant Member States' law enforcement authorities' ability to perform their duties. The principal means of providing this support will be EU-wide AML / CTF legislation, scheduled to be proposed in the first quarter of 2021.
What Are The Strategic Purposes?
The purposes of the EU criminal information center;
- use financial intelligence,
- interact with organizations and non-EU countries,
- serve as the principal repository for the EU criminal intelligence, fraud, money laundering, corruption, threats, and trends related to property crimes and Euro fraud.
Purposes of agile operational support encourage the systematic use of financial investigations and provide analytical and other support to inquiries. The European platform's purposes for policing solutions are; act as a center of expertise in the eco-fin landscape and provide specialist training and support to develop and improve existing legislation.
EFECC Operations is Europol's initiative against economic and financial crimes. For eligible to EFECC Operational support, the case must affect one or more member states and include a criminal offense for which Europol is competent. EFECC Operations processes analyze and process operational data regarding suspicious transactions and activity reports filed by smart financial units (FIUs), reports on cash determinations, and ongoing economic and financial crime investigations from all relevant institutions across the EU and beyond. This institution supports and assists authorities in preventing and investigating transnational criminal organizations involved in economic and financial crimes.
EFECC Operation can discuss the situation with European liaison offices and field officials to find the best solution for the investigators' needs. The services provided are:
- Financial intelligence reports
- Operational and coordination meetings
- Operational analysis reports
- Early warning notifications
- Mobile office setup for non-action days / on-site expertise
- Status reports
- Strategic analysis and information products
- Various training