The crimes under EPPO’s jurisdiction may be committed through financial intermediaries. Due to this connection, the need for interaction between EPPO and banking and financial supervisory bodies arises. The most relevant crime in this field is money laundering. Under Italian law, money laundering belongs to the expertise of a section of the Bank of Italy, the FIU (Financial Intelligence Unit of Italy).
The Financial Intelligence Unit of Italy is an independent and autonomous body within the Bank of Italy, according to Legislative Decree 231/2007. Its structure complies with the international standards applying to all financial intelligence units (FIUs):
- They should be operationally autonomous and independently run.
- They should be the only unit of the kind in the country.
- They should possess expertise in financial analysis.
- They should be able to exchange information directly and independently.
The Financial Intelligence Unit of Italy and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) intending to facilitate their cooperation related to suspicious financial transactions (8th June 2022).
The document lays down the principles on how both parties will exchange information and provide analytical support, on the suspension of suspicious transactions, on data protection, and on mutual training initiatives.
In addition, a new unit reporting directly to the Executive Board has just been established with supervisory and regulatory functions due to the legislative initiatives of the European Commission to centralise the activities that fight money laundering and terrorism. These legislative initiatives are:
- A regulation that will establish uniform standards;
- A regulation that will establish a centralised European Authority, the Anti-moneylaundering authority (AMLA), that: 1) Will coordinate the national authorities 2) Will supervise the financial intermediaries most involved with the risk of money laundering.
EIB (EUROPEAN INVESTMENT BANK GROUP)
The EIB and the EIF (European Investment Found), as bodies of the EU, have to protect the European Union’s financial interests and implement effective measures against fraud and any other harmful and illegal activity of the financial interests of the EU. The EIB Group, as the “financing body” of the European Union (EU), is itself financed by the EU Member States, so it must ensure its activities and operations are fully compliant and free from prohibited conduct, such as bribery, fraud, and money laundering.
In December 2021, the EIB Group and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) signed a Working Agreement “to make the fight against fraud, corruption, money laundering and any other criminal offences affecting the Union’s financial interests, as efficient as possible avoiding duplication of efforts”. The Working Arrangement aims to facilitate cooperation between the EPPO and the EIB Group within the existing limits of their respective legal frameworks and mandates by exchanging information, including personal data and other cooperative activities.
Luison Daniele Alessandro
Head of Criminal Advice, Proceedings & Investigations UniCredit
Edited by Antony Zhilkin