EFECC will enhance Europol’s operational support to EU Member States and EU bodies in financial and economic crime and promote the consistent use of financial investigations. The centre will forge alliances with public and private entities to trace, seize and confiscate criminal assets in the EU and beyond.
Highly sophisticated cases of money laundering, scams and frauds that target individuals, companies and the public sector continue to threaten the growth of the economy and the integrity of our financial system.
Every year, law enforcement in the EU carry out hundreds of international financial crime investigations often leading to exceptional results, arrests and dismantling criminal groups. But the EU still shows mediocre results when it comes to recovering criminal assets – criminals keep over 98% of their assets.
To respond to this threat, Europol has been entrusted by EU Member States to create the European Financial and Economic Crime Centre (EFECC). This development follows Europol’s Strategy 2020+ and has been welcomed by EU institutions and key private financial stakeholders alike.
EU criminal information hub
- Enhancing the exploitation of financial intelligence across the EU.
- Engaging with organisations and non-EU countries.
- Acting as the main repository on EU criminal intelligence, threats and trends related to fraud, money laundering, corruption and various forms of intellectual property crime and euro counterfeiting.
European platform for policing solutions
- Acting as centre of expertise in the eco-fin landscape.
- Delivering specialised training.
- Providing support for the development and improvement of existing legislation aimed at countering economic and financial crime.
An integral part of Europol’s Operations Directorate, EFECC provides direct, vertical support to EU Member States and other strategic and operational partners, working closely with other operational centres at Europol, such as the European Serious and Organised Crime Centre (ESOCC), the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and the European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC).
EFECC Operations is Europol’s initiative in the fight against economic and financial crime. It is an operational platform to support Member States in ongoing cases in the areas of tax crime (MTIC and excise), fraud, corruption, money laundering, asset recovery, euro counterfeiting and intellectual property crime. The only pre-requisites to be eligible for EFECC Operations support are that the case affects one or more Member States and involves a criminal offence in respect of which Europol is competent.
EFECC Operations was established in June 2020 to provide EU Member States with a pan-European platform to integrate and analyse dedicated economic and financial crime data.
EFECC Operations provides a platform through which operational data pertaining to suspicious transaction/ activity reports filed by financial intelligent units (FIUs), reports on cash detections (usually from customs authorities) and ongoing economic and financial crime investigations from all relevant agencies (including but not limited to: customs, tax and police services) across the EU and beyond are treated, analysed and processed.
This platform serves the primary purpose of supporting and assisting competent authorities on the prevention and investigation of transnational criminal organisations involved in economic and financial crime.
When you submit information about your cases this will be checked against all other information stored in Europol’s database, as well as that held by other Analysis Projects, the Europol Information System and the FIU.net.
Beyond processing and cross-checking your information, EFECC Operations can provide a more tailored service to assist your investigations and assist in identifying and disrupting serious forms of international economic and financial crimes perpetrated by high-value targets and serious and organised criminal groups.
EFECC Operations will discuss the case with its European liaison offices and field officers to find the best solution depending on the needs of the investigators and the status of enquiries. All analysis is dependent on the availability of data and the specific needs of the provider. Typically, services provided can include:
- financial intelligence reports: providing a detailed overview of links to financial intelligence (primarily suspicious transaction reporting);
- operational and coordination meetings (funded by Europol): should the need arise, meetings between key countries to plan operational activities and jointly develop cases can be arranged;
- operational analysis reports: for example, reports focusing on intelligence analysis, links analysis, geographical and transaction analysis, social network analysis, dependent on information provided and objectives of the case;
- early warning notifications: rapidly disseminated reports relating to new crime trends and patterns as well as regards unusual criminal modus operandi;
- mobile office deployment (and UFED) for days off action/on the spot expertise: EFECC Operations can deploy Europol systems in support of action days – enabling direct connection to Europol systems on the spot. Forensic expertise and UFED capacity can also be provided;
- situation reports: for example, in cases where numerous Member States are affected, providing a clear global overview of the groups and phenomenon;
- strategic analysis and knowledge products: non-operational analysis of trends, methods and threats relating to money laundering;
- training: EFECC operations provides week-long financial intelligence training courses each year. They also contribute to CEPOL money laundering courses, both in designing preparatory materials and delivering training EFECC Operations builds on Europol’s well-equipped Analysis Projects (MTIC, SMOKE, APATE, Corruption, Sustrans, ARO, SOYA and COPY), delivering specialised operational support to national competent authorities with a common goal of countering economic and financial crimes. In this framework, the partnership being established between Europol and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) is crucial. The cooperation between Europol and EPPO is considered to be a step forward in the investigation and prosecution of crimes affecting the financial interests of the EU.
Expertise and stakeholder management
The Expertise and Stakeholder Management Unit oversees stakeholder relations, steering successful strategic cooperation and capacity building with relevant private and public actors in the margins of the Europol Financial Intelligence Public Private Partnership (EFIPPP) and other established cooperation mechanisms. The ESM unit similarly facilitates policy discussions in the field of economic-financial crime and counter-terrorism financing with crucial stakeholders such as the European Commission and the Council, the OECD and Eurojust - and supports the preparation of strategic products.
The Unit consists of two teams and has the aim of
- offering and coordinating internal and external training opportunities;
- monitoring political developments and advice towards Europol management;
- distributing strategic reports on different issues in close cooperation with the general strategic directorate in Europol;
- attending and contributing to advisory groups. i.e. FIU.net;
- hosting the secretariat of networks i.e. CARIN and AMON;
- close cooperation with customs and tax authorities i.e. engaging in the CCWP action plan, etc.;