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Financial crime is defined as any crime committed by an individual or a group of individuals that involves taking money or other property that belongs to someone else, to obtain a financial or professional gain. There are a number of differing types of financial crime. They include fraud; money laundering; terrorist financing; bribery and corruption; insider trading and cybercrime. Financial crime can range from basic theft or fraud committed by single individuals to large-scale, global schemes by organized criminals.

Why is Financial Crime important?

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, it is estimated that up to $2 trillion (£1.7 trillion) of illicit funds are laundered through global financial networks every year, representing between two to five percent of global GDP (and it is increasing each year). Of this, it is estimated that only one percent of illicit financial flows are intercepted globally. In the UK at least £2.35bn was lost to fraud and cybercrime in 2021 according to the UK’s Action Fraud.

Criminals continue to develop methods to commit such crimes and are heavily influenced by the economy, financial markets and anti-money laundering (AML)/counter financing of terrorism (CTF) regimes where they operate. Increasingly, many exploit the complex nature of financial services, which makes detection and prevention even more difficult. Large-scale syndicates such as organized crime groups operating at an international level take advantage of differences in national criminal legislations.

The impact of this type of crime on the global economy among other things has meant the international community has made the fight against financial crime, with particular attention to money laundering and the financing of terrorism, a priority.

Financial crime has become a matter of concern to governments and other institutions throughout the world. Among the goals of this effort: protecting the integrity and stability of the international financial system, cutting off the resources available to terrorists, and making it more difficult for those engaged in crime to profit from their criminal activities.

But the capacity of both the private and the public sector to manage and assess financial crime depends on a closer collaboration between the different regulatory bodies and institutions.

Click on the guide below to learn more about financial crime.

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