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Serious Organized Crime Threat Assessment (SOCTA)

In EU SOCTA 2021, published on April 12, Europol cautioned that money laundering in the European Union is widely spread and more complex than previously thought. The report, which is published every four years, provides insight into international developments in respect of various forms of organized crime. The report shows that money laundering is an essential part of the majority of crime operations and that  professional money launderers have set up a “parallel” financing system which operates underground. This parallel system ensures that proceeds from crime cannot be traced as part of an advanced criminal economy. According to the report:

  • more than two thirds (68%) of criminal groups and networks use the “classical” methods for money laundering , such as investing in real estate or high-quality goods. The other groups and networks rely on more advanced methods like the use of cash-intensive businesses.
  • large-scale money laundering has evolved into complex structures and methods. These are offered as services by specialized groups for money.

The report pays attention to the role of illegal intermediaries and money brokers. The report shows that many illegal money brokers and bankers form High Value targets, as these are crucial with a view to enabling money transfers and services for customers. Tackling these brokers or intermediaries is important to disrupt money laundering chains, as these are crucial in linking up criminal networks and individual criminals. The report moreover points to low level facilitators, who have various businesses in their name. Tackling these facilitators can be a first step toward tackling organized crime. To see the report on Europol’s website, click here.

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