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Weekly Round-Up, December 3 – 21

In the “Weekly Round-Up” we summarise and give extra reading suggestions for some of the past weeks financial crime news headlines, powered by Acuminor’s crime universe ThreatView® .

Finally, there is some snow on the ground here in Sweden. It makes this otherwise dark season a bit brighter. Below are some highlights from this week to take with you into your weekend.

Money mules

Europol has coordinated a massive operation against money mules, leading to 1803 arrests and identifying 18351 money mules. That is great! Money mules are a vital resource in money laundering schemes. However, they often make up of persons under some economic duress, for example, students or immigrants that organised crime groups prey on to recruit into muling networks. The operation was the 7th edition of the European Money Mule Action (EMMA), created on the initiative of Europol, Eurojust and the European Banking Federation as a public-private partnership where around 400 financial intuitions are supporting the initiative. Read more on the EMMA 7 operation below and help spread the public awareness campaign #DontBeAMule so it hopefully can help reduce the recruitment of mules in the future.

Europol – European money mule action leads to 1 803 arrests

Europol – Money muling

Bulletproof Hosting

If money mules enable the flow of funds for criminal groups in money laundering schemes, bulletproof hosting enables cybercriminals to commit crimes. In the USA, a Russian individual has been sentenced to provide ‘Bulletproof Hosting’ for Cybercriminals between 2009 and 2015 to distribute malware and attack financial institutions. Bulletproof hosters offer the technical infrastructure needed to host and spread malware, rent out IP addresses, storage and much more, and do not cooperate with law enforcement.

The United States Department of Justice – Russian Man Sentenced for Providing ‘Bulletproof Hosting’ for Cybercriminals

RUSI has done a write up on the scorching topic of NFTs. Non-fungible-tokens has gained massive exposure the past year, even if they have been around for a while now. The trade of NFTs is unregulated and used by criminals as one of the many ways to turn around illicit proceeds.

RUSI – NFTs: A New Frontier for Money Laundering?