The Bank of Italy’s anti-money laundering surveillance activity highlights over 113 thousand reports in 2020, for an associated value of transactions reported that reaches 5 billion euros.
These, in brief, are the elements that emerged during the hearing of the FIU’s Director Claudio Clemente last January 28 at the Anti-Mafia Commission of the House and Senate:
- a specific experimental alert introduced, able to highlight any anomalies in the financial statements of companies with high demands for public funds;
- published a list of alerts dedicated to screen the criminal infiltration in the real economy;
- closer monitoring of the transfer of tax credits is being introduced and, to this end, professionals will be introduced in the asseveration phase;
- There will be greater controls and checks on online transactions.
Criminal infiltration: a new specific indicator introduced
The action of organized crime takes place in two stages.
According to the FIU, in a first phase, attempts have focused more on the medical sector and the procurement of security devices.
In a second phase, hypotheses of infiltration in enterprises and attempts to misappropriate public funds destined to support the economy appears as simulated operations aimed at pre-establishing the requirements for access to funds.
The instruments used are those of false or misleading tax declarations with the attainment of undue VAT refunds, transferred abroad.
The illicit amount from the offence is then reintroduced in Italy in cash or through the sale of company shares: this total value is not reflected in the consideration reported in the sale deeds.
The vigilance activity of the FIU focus now on the financing assisted by public guarantees, provided to Companies through the experimental use of an indicator of crime infiltration risk.
After an accurate analysis of the balance sheet published by Companies involved with organized crime, the Authority has highlighted a number of common situation that occurs in these criminality-linked companies: this had led to more accurate risk indicators, to be applied in any circumstance where a company requires a public financial support.
Controls on non-refundable funds and transfer of tax credits
The FIU knows the importance of targeted controls on the operations of those subjects who access the benefits provided by the emergency legislation, such as financing assisted by public guarantee and non-repayable contributions.
For tax credits transfers and in particular the real-estate “Superbonus”, the risks connected with the fictitious nature of the credits have been identified. According to the anti-money laundering task force at the Bank of Italy, the role of professionals in the asseveration of tax credits is an important part of crime countering.
According to the FIU, there is the risk “that illicit capital is used to purchase tax credits with the aim of laundering them”. It will therefore be necessary to monitor carefully operations in this sector, especially in the case of “credits acquired in large numbers”.
Pandemic and suspicious transactions
In 2020, the number of reports attributable to attempts at fraud in the sphere of emergency healthcare amounted to 2257. The majority of these (1502) come during the second half of the year, with a sharp increase (from 667 million to 5.2 billion) in the amounts of the proposed transactions.
In addition to these alerts, which are directly attributable to the effects of Covid 19, the FIU recorded an increase in alerts concerning suspicions of abuse of public financing, financial abuses, usury and the use of pledge policies.
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