The Financial Intelligence Unit: Role of the FIU and International Cooperation

We empower Anti-Financial Crime and Corporate Risk Management Professionals

The Financial Intelligence Unit

The Financial Intelligence Unit or FIU roles in the prevention and detection of money laundering or terrorist financing is through the investigation of suspicious activity reports or SARs received from various financial institutions. The Financial Intelligence Unit usually have a national responsibility for receiving, analyzing and disseminating intelligence submitted through the SARs regime, to share with law enforcement agencies at home and internationally. 

The Financial Intelligence Unit

The Financial Intelligence Unit and International Cooperation Roles

The international cooperation’s work in collaboration with each other to ensure that overall AML/CFT system of the country is maintained and criminal activities and transactions are identified and investigated appropriately. 

Illicit finance and money laundering underpin and enable most forms of organized crime. This activity allows criminals to further their operations and conceal their assets which impacts the national security of the country. The FIU work on SARs and plays a critical role in alerting law enforcement to potential instances of money laundering and terrorist financing. SARs are a vital source of intelligence, not only on economic crime but on a wide range of criminal activity. They are instrumental in, and have helped with, identifying fraud victims, murder suspects, missing persons, people traffickers, fugitives and terrorist financing.

FIU play a role in tackling illicit finance to disrupt serious and organised crime and to do this, they require officers with a range of backgrounds, skills and experience to help the FIU stay one step ahead of criminals. FIR looks for a rewarding and challenging opportunity as a typical FIU officer. FIU comprises of a diverse team from a wide range of backgrounds and each individual brings something unique, which enables FIU to perform its responsibilities in an efficient manner. 

FIUs develop the communication channel for the organizations, where they are required to report the suspicious activities in a prescribed manner. The organizations when identify the suspicious activities or transactions or have doubts on the veracity of the transaction, report them to the FIU, after performing necessary internal investigations. 

The Financial Intelligence Unit

FIU also works with relevant Law Enforcement Authorities, to counter the risk of ML/TFC being faced by the country. To work in the FIU, it is not necessary to have a background in law enforcement or finance, however, if a person has a desire to protect the public, are adaptable and able to prioritize in a fast-paced environment, with a keen eye for detail, then that person is suitable to work in the FIU of the country. 

In FIU different teams are formed who work on different types of crimes such as money laundering. To work on a team that specifically deals with money laundering, the person must be able to very quickly learn about a very wide range of different crimes and ways of dealing with them. The ML team deals with intelligence that generally comes from the public. Sometimes the intelligence will be completely brand new and it might require me or someone else on the team working on that in order to show someone why they should actually look into it.

Final Thoughts

The FIU shares information with foreign financial intelligence units and similar organizations. The FIU is constantly engaged in international cooperation with its partners, not only in terms of information exchange, but also in terms of knowledge and expertise exchange. The FIU is committed to adhering to the Financial Action Task Force’s international standards (FATF).

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