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IFAC issues crime trends guidance

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 28 Mar 2022

In the eighth instalment of Anti-Money Laundering: The Basics (AML8), IFAC and ICAEW look at the trends in criminal activity that underpin money laundering operations.

Would you know what signs to look out for when it comes to illegal wildlife trade? What about terrorist financing or human trafficking? All of these crimes have links to money laundering and accountants play a critical role in combating them.

ICAEW and The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) have produced an instalment on crime trends for their Anti-Money Laundering: The Basics educational series. The series aims to help accountants enhance their understanding of how money laundering works, the risks accountants face and what they can do to mitigate them and make a positive contribution to the public interest. 

To be globally relevant, the series uses the risk-based approach of the Financial Action Task Force – the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog – as a starting point. 

The crime trends instalment covers: drug trafficking; human trafficking, modern slavery and sexual exploitation; trade-based money laundering; environmental crime and illegal wildlife trade; terrorist financing; and corruption.

Red flags

For each of these types of criminal activity, the document sets out key risk indicators that professional accountants should actively be alert for, to ensure that they do not unwittingly act as professional enablers.

For example, unexplained transfers involving senior officials related to the management or preservation of natural resources might be a sign of illegal wildlife trade.

“As trusted advisers and sophisticated finance professionals, accountants have a key role to play in the fight against crime and subsequent attempts to launder the proceeds of criminal activity,” says David Gomez, ICAEW’s Senior Lead, Ethics. “It is vital that professional accountants understand the risks they should look out for and, where they have concerns, file timely and effective Suspicious Activity Reports.” 

Anti-Money Laundering: The Basics is featured on both the IFAC and ICAEW websites and is available to download for free.

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