The Week Of: October 5, 2020

This week’s news and stories of interest to the AML community. 

Europol: Covid-19 sparks upward trend in cybercrime

Europol has published its annual Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment, highlighting the huge growth of cybercrime that occurred because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Europol Executive Director Catherine De Bolle said that data analysis clearly shows that cybercrime “remains among the most dynamic forms of crime encountered by law enforcement in the EU.”

While ransomware, business email compromise, and social engineering are well-known threats, their execution is always evolving and recently they have become more sophisticated and difficult to investigate, according to the report.

The availability of online child sexual abuse has increased as well, with livestream abuse becoming more popular during the pandemic as travel restrictions prevent offenders from physically abusing children.

The agency pointed out that though the pandemic exposed how criminals take advantage of a vulnerable society, it did not create most of these problems—it merely enhanced them.

Read more from Europol.

Illicit financial flows costing Africa $89 billion annually

A United Nations report says vast sums of money flow out of Africa illegally every year, costing Africans $89 billion annually and undermining progress on the continent.

The report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development notes that the annual $89 billion outflow matches the combined total of inflows of official development assistance and foreign direct investment.

The UNCTAD says Africa needs $200 billion a year to achieve sustainable development goals but only half the amount is available, highlighting the detrimental impact that illicit outflows can make.

“Illicit financial flows are multidimensional and transnational in character,” said Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. “Like the concept of migration, they have countries of origin and destination, and there are several transit locations. The whole process of mitigating illicit financial flows, therefore, cuts across several jurisdictions.”

Read more at The South African.

Australia releases new guide to combat wildlife trafficking

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, Australia’s financial intelligence agency, has published a new guide to help businesses fight wildlife trafficking “by identifying, targeting and reporting suspicious financial activity.”

The guide calls wildlife trafficking an organized crime and identifies the individual roles played by those who participate, including coordinators, couriers, domestic traders, transporters, money mules, overseas traders, poachers, and other facilitators.

Financial indicators include higher price tags on trafficked animals, international buyers who are more likely to come from Asia, and related costs such as animal freight, use of short-term hotel stays, and payments for animal storage and maintenance.

The guide was developed in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and the Fintel Alliance, a public-private partnership that brings together government, law enforcement, the private sector, and academic organizations to support the fight against serious crime and national security matters.

Read more from Mirage News.