Money laundering always requires a predicate offence. The most common predicate offences are fraud, tax fraud and drug offences. Various phenomena within the shadow economy and economic crime and their impact are discussed on the shared website of the authorities entitled Grey economy & economic crime.
Descriptions of phenomena within the shadow economy and economic criminality (Grey economy & economic crime)
Money laundering is often considered a treaty crime because of its international nature. Rapid international payment transactions enable cross-border fund transfers. Perpetrators may also intentionally seek to commit predicate offences and money laundering in different countries to avoid criminal liability. The number of new electronic payment services and means of transferring money is also growing, and their supply is diversifying at an accelerating pace.
Cash in money laundering
Cash continues to have an essential role in money laundering and its prevention. In 2021, FIU Finland received 6,018 reports on exceptional use of cash.
Several cash indicators can be used in one report. The most commonly used indicators were related to withdrawals and deposits of cash.
The number of offences involving virtual currency reported to the police has gone up sharply and steadily over the past decade. Money laundering committed by means of virtual currency has increased significantly especially in connection with drug trafficking, but virtual currencies are also increasingly used for committing fraud, such as investment scams.
In 2021, FIU Finland recorded about five million virtual currency transactions, the total value of which was over 3.6 million euros. Cases involving virtual currency usually have strong international connections. The most significant counterpart countries identified include Sweden, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, but in many cases the counterpart country is not identified.
Fraud continued to be a distinct phenomenon in 2021, and FIU Finland disseminated information concerning fraud cases more often than before. Losses caused by crime are significant both in individual cases and overall.
There is reason to believe from individuals and networks of mules identified that cyber-enabled fraud committed in Finland has links to European and global organised crime.
Information on the cases investigated is disclosed to different authorities to support an open criminal investigation, to start a new criminal investigation, or to prevent or detect an offence. The criminal investigations for which the FIU disclosed information in 2021 involved 91 different names of offences. As in previous years, the most common offence was aggravated fraud, which occurred 342 times in the reports of offences. The next most common offences were aggravated money laundering, money laundering, and an aggravated narcotics offence. Disseminations of information concerning aggravated fraud almost doubled when compared to 2019.