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.
A predicate offence of money laundering may be any crime, including circumvention of sanctions, which is investigated as a regulation offence. In 2022, FIU Finland received close to 700 suspicious transaction reports related to sanctions and Russia’s war of aggression. Out of these reports, 120 reports were recorded for investigation, and 180 disclosures of information were made to different authorities.
Cash in money laundering
Cash continues to have an essential role in money laundering and its prevention. In 2022, FIU Finland received over 8,300 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 2022, FIU Finland received 84,055 reports from virtual currency service providers. Although the number remained high, it went down significantly compared to almost 3.7 million in 2021.
Cyber-enabled fraud occupied the police in 2022, as in previous years. This was particularly evident in the number of national and international requests, which were mostly related to stopping and tracing funds obtained through fraud. 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. As in previous years, the most common offence was aggravated fraud, which occurred in about 15 per cent of the reports. The next most common offences were fraud, aggravated money laundering, money laundering, and a means of payment fraud.