Criminals to increase use of cryptocurrency – report

Experts warn of increased money laundering, terror financing

Criminals to increase use of cryptocurrency – report


By Mika Pangilinan

Criminals will continue to favour the use of cryptocurrency to conceal their assets from conventional banking systems, according to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (Fintrac).

A report published by the federal agency outlined ongoing efforts in developing strategic intelligence concerning the involvement of virtual assets in money laundering and terrorist financing.

In this report, Fintrac found that the money laundering that occurs within crypto spaces typically involves the transfer of funds gained from fraud and ransomware attacks.

It also underscored the challenges posed by unregistered money services, noting that these businesses hinder the detection of financial crimes through traditional channels.

“Fintrac continues to operate in a challenging environment with new and evolving technologies and financial products, rapidly shifting global financial systems, and geopolitical events constantly shaping our work,” director Sarah Paquet said in the report, as quoted by the Canadian Press.

 Another key finding reported by Fintract is the surge of money laundering incidents linked to underground banking. Additionally, the agency identified an increase in individuals and entities suspected of operating unregistered money services.

Underground banking facilitated by unregistered money services businesses has also remained prevalent among international actors seeking to evade sanctions or engage in illicit activities, including terrorist financing, according to the report.

Fintrac acts as Canada’s financial intelligence unit and its anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing supervisor.  It identifies funds associated with illicit activities by sifting through millions of data points gathered from diverse sources, including insurance companies, banks, money services businesses, securities dealers, real estate brokers, and casinos.

The three most prevalent activities associated with the funds identified in its 2022-2023 disclosures involve drugs (31%), fraud (25%), and crimes against persons (13%).

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