In order to develop effective systems of dealing with the problem of money laundering a number of specialized governmental agencies were created in many countries around the world.
These entities are now commonly referred to as “financial intelligence units” or “FIUs”.
During the early 1990s the creation of FIUs was seen as isolated phenomena related to the specific needs of the jurisdictions establishing them. However, since 1995, for the stimulation of international co-operation a number of FIUs began working together in an informal organization known as the Egmont Group (named for the location of the first meeting at the Egmont-Arenberg Palace in Brussels on 9 June 1995). The members of the Egmont Group meet regularly to find ways to cooperate, especially in the areas of information exchange, training and the sharing of expertise.
The Egmont Group has approved the following definition of an FIU as of June 2004:
“A central, national agency responsible for receiving (and, as permitted, requesting), analyzing and disseminating to the competent authorities, disclosures of financial information:
(i) concerning suspected proceeds of crime and potential financing of terrorism, or
(ii) required by national legislation or regulation, in order to counter money laundering and terrorism financing.”
Although the definition states that the activities performed by an FIU include “receiving, analyzing, and disseminating” information, it does not exclude other activities that may be performed on the basis of this material. Therefore, an FIU could conceivably perform the activities mentioned in the definition and investigate and / or prosecute violations indicated by the disclosures.
There are currently 108 countries with recognized operational FIU units, with others in various stages of development.
Rosfinmonitoring has been a member of the Egmont Group since June 2002. Joining this Group has confirmed compliance of the Russian financial intelligence unit with the international standards and has given us additional opportunities for information exchange with its members, in particular via special secure channels. Besides a representative of Rosfinmonitoring is a vice-chairman of the Operational Working Group.
According to the mandate of this international body the Federal Financial Monitoring Service of the Russian Federation monitors the process of creation of FIUs in the countries of the region and renders them assistance in preparation for joining the Egmont Group. Thus in 2003-2004 with the assistance of Rosfinmonitoring the FIUs of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Serbia and Ukraine were accepted as Egmont Group members.
For further information about the Egmont Group and its members see its website: www.egmontgroup.org