Predicate offences typically associated with money laundering include fraud, tax fraud and narcotics 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)
The number of new electronic payment services and means of transferring money is 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 2020, FIU Finland received 6,747 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 FIU also receives information on movements of cash from Finnish Customs, which collects information on persons carrying cash. In 2020, Customs detected around 170 people carrying more than 10,000 euros of cash at one time on about 316 different journeys to or from Finland.
Money laundering involving virtual currencies has increased significantly, especially in drug trafficking but also in the field of conventional crime, such as online fraud, love scams, and swindles exploiting the names of public figures.
The number of offences involving virtual currencies reported to the police has increased sharply and steadily over the past decade. Moreover, cases involving virtual currencies usually have strong international connections.
It is clear from the information available to the FIU that fraud continued its growth in 2020. Disclosure of information for fraud cases increased, especially for cases involving aggravated fraud. It would appear that cyber-enabled fraud in Finland has links to cyber-enabled fraud in Europe and across the world.
Losses caused by the offences are significant both in individual cases and overall. Based on the countries of destination of the transactions of individuals and networks of mules that have been identified, it is suspected that these offences have links to international organised crime.
Changes in detected offences
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.
In 2020, the criminal investigations for which information was disclosed involved 119 different titles of offences. As in previous years, the most common title was aggravated fraud, which occurred 186 times in the reports of offences. The number increased by around 45 per cent from 2019.
For offence titles for which information was disclosed at least ten times, the proportion of computer break-ins increased the most, the number of disclosures being 13. The largest absolute increase was seen in disclosures of information for cases involving aggravated fraud.
Foreign nationals in suspicious transaction reports
Due to the ever-increasing number of reports, the number of persons subject to reports has also continued to rise. Suspicious transaction reports made in 2020 contained tens of thousands of new individuals and companies.
Nationalities are not systematically recorded in the reports. Out of the individuals whose nationality was recorded, 55 per cent were Finnish and 45 per cent of a foreign nationality.
The most common foreign nationalities recorded in the money laundering register in 2020 were Russian, Estonian, British, Romanian and Swedish, the number of Russians being mentioned in the reports more often than before. However, out of the nationalities added into the register over a hundred times, the proportion of Venezuelan (+1,590%), Portuguese (+641%), Colombian (+386%), British (+364%) and Belarusian (+343%) citizens increased the most.