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5 July 2019

Combating money laundering and terrorist financing: a further increase in Tracfin’s activity in 2018

2018 again saw a substantial increase in Tracfin’s activity: the Unit received and analysed 79,376 items of information (+12% in 1 year and up by 75% in 3 years). This increase in activity is the result of long-term vigilance on the part of professionals subject to Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) reporting requirements. In 2018, 96% of information received by Tracfin came from reporting entities, corresponding to 76,316 suspicious transaction reports (+11%).
 
The share of reporting entities in the financial sector represented 94% of suspicious transaction reports received in 2018. Within the financial sector, payment institutions stand out, with a 40% increase in the number of suspicious transaction reports submitted. There was also greater involvement among crowdfunding (+213%) and virtual currency (+54%) intermediaries, even though reporting volumes remained low.

With regard to non-financial reporting entities:
  • The largest reporting volumes continued to be provided by notaries, who stabilised their participation (1,474 suspicious transaction reports, or +5%).
  • Real estate professionals showed a steady upswing (274 suspicious transaction reports, or +54%).
  • While partners were fully engaged, there was a significant fall in the participation of chartered accountants (466 suspicious transaction reports, or -9%) and auditors (124 suspicious transaction reports, or -18%).
  • Concern remains over poor participation by the art sector and sports agents in the AML/CFT system.
Tracfin’s mission is to collect, analyse and exploit financial intelligence. In 2018, the Unit carried out 14,554 investigations (+16%), based on information received in 2018 or earlier. These investigations resulted in the referral of 3,282 notes (+26% in 1 year and +101% in 3 years), including 948 notes sent to the courts and 2,334 notes to other partner authorities, including the tax authorities (637 notes, +2%), social protection bodies (263 notes, +18%) and the intelligence services (1,105 notes, +80%).

In the fight against terrorist financing, Tracfin sent 1,038 notes to the courts and partner departments. This represents an increase of 51% compared with 2017.

Internationally, there was clearly a surge in requests for information from foreign financial intelligence units (+38% in 2018), which can be viewed in parallel with an increase in the number of requests sent by Tracfin to its foreign counterparts (+28%), signalling a significant improvement in international cooperation.

The evaluation of France by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which will begin in late 2019, should lead to further improvements in the participation of reporting entities in combating money laundering, public finance fraud and terrorist financing, both in terms of the quantity and quality of suspicious transaction reports submitted. This prospect constitutes the priority roadmap for the action of Tracfin.