Fighting financial cybercrime: Tracfin's top priority

The report released by Tracfin on December 10, 2019 focuses on sensitive areas in money laundering, fraud and terrorist financing. Its publication comes at a key time, since in 2020, France's anti-money laundering and terrorist financing system will be assessed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which places particular emphasis on risk analysis.

Financial cybercrime: a growing challenge

Financial cybercrime is a new and fast-growing form of crime. With the digitization of payment services and business relationships, economic players are increasingly exposed to fraud and identity theft. This trend is most evident in the cryptoassets, online banking and crowdfunding sectors.

Whereas up until the mid-1990s, cybercrime was essentially a one-off operation carried out by isolated individuals, cybercriminals are now capable of stealing large sums of money using a number of vectors: direct theft through computer hacking, exploitation of vulnerabilities in a company's or individual's information system, and use of cyberspace to carry out criminal activities anonymously.

The report shows that although Tracfin is the smallest of the intelligence services, it is also the most specialized and effective in the fight against the terrorist threat.

Tracfin strengthens its resources

The Tracfin intelligence service strengthened its means of action by acquiring, in 2018, an investigation unit made up of agents specialized in financial cybercrime. These are now able to trace financial transactions carried out on the Blockchain and identify financial flows linked to criminal operations committed on the "dark web". To carry out these actions, Tracfin cooperates closely with other specialized investigation services (gendarmerie, police, customs).

The systems put in place by Tracfin enabled it to process 1,718 reports of suspected terrorist financing in 2018. After studying this information, the service forwarded 1,038 analysis notes, including 139 to the judicial authorities and 899 to partner services involved in the fight against this scourge.

Generally speaking, the report highlights Tracfin's efforts in a number of areas: organized crime, the duty of probity, the fight against tax and social security fraud, the specific features of the French overseas departments and territories (DROM-COM), and the fight against terrorism and its financing. In particular, Bercy's financial intelligence unit is focusing its efforts on "detecting signs of radicalization and the detour of economic activities for terrorist financing purposes", explains Gérald Darmanin, the French Minister for Action and Public Accounts, in a press release.