The annual conference of the Israeli Anti-Money Laundering Authority marks the 20th anniversary of the Israeli anti-money laundering law, and two years of membership of the State of Israel in the FATF International task force. On the occasion of the event, many senior officials were hosted at the event, including the President of TAFT, the Minister of Justice, the Attorney General, the head of the authority and more.
The President of TAFT emphasized the significant improvement in the field of AML/CTF in the State of Israel, and the ongoing the need to comply uniformly with the TAFT organization’s international standards, not to give up – at the national level, companies level and individuals level – on proper due diligence practice as a basis for all financial activity and allocating national resources and priority to financial field law enforcement agencies.
The Minister of Justice emphasized the good work being done under his leadership, and the large revenues to the state coffers that result from this activity. Two more points from the minister were the expansion of the economic court from four judges to ten, and the continuation of the institutionalization of the cannabis issue – on its weighty financial effects in Israel and around the world.
The Attorney General has repeatedly stressed that the solution to the issue of financial crime, money laundering and terrorist financing is in the practice of cooperation and information sharing between all entities involved in the field.
The Head of the Money Laundering Authority, Ms. Shlomit Wagman, reviewed the global trends in money laundering and terrorist financing: fraud and cybercrime, money laundering in the field of international trade, Trade-Based Money Laundering – TBML, deepening cooperation between countries, promoting financial innovation, Drug trafficking, fraud and further regulation of the field of virtual assets.
Crime phenomena targeted by the Money Laundering Authority:
- Internet-based crime, including the use of virtual assets
- Extortion of sponsorship fees
- Changing the map of crime in Israel – the growth of new criminal organizations and accelerated development of the gray market,
- Drug market (and examination of the cannabis market)
- International trade in goods (TBML, TBTF)
- Increasing the scope of seizures and forfeitures
The Deputy State Attorney, Mrs. Liat Ben-Ari, emphasized that the courts and judges “do not like” the financial cases, because of the professional complexity and the large and complicated amount of material. According to her, the average time between filing a case and the first witness to testify in court is 450 days (!!!!).
The head of the Investigations and Intelligence Division in the Israeli police, Superintendent Yigal Ben Shalom, pointed out that the most effective tool today in the hands of the police, both for leverage and for deterrence, are the forfeiture and fines, which criminals are most afraid of. Since the rise of the issue of financial enforcement, the perpetrator parties and public showoff have stopped, and the criminals are busy hiding the money and evidence for the offenses committed.
According to Superintendent Ben Shalom, it can be clearly seen that the criminals employ top-notch financial professionals, eld, and that they track and analyze and “reverse” existing lawsuits and prosecution files in order to understand the work methodology of the police, and to find advanced methods and sophisticated technological tools to continue to launder money effectively and covertly.