Annual Report 2015, no. 8 - 2016

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In 2015 the International Financial Action Task Force approved the Mutual Evaluation Report on Italy’s anti-money-laundering system. The outcome of the evaluation is satisfactory overall. The system is recognized as having a solid legal and institutional framework for combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism, with a good understanding of the risks, an adequate degree of cooperation and coordination between the system’s key authorities and a particularly effective system for reporting, analysing and investigating suspicious cases. The Mutual Evaluation made a detailed examination of UIF’s characteristics and range of operations and acknowledged its full autonomy and independence and its ability to develop decision-making processes with no interference, as required by international standards. The judgment on all fields of UIF activity was particularly positive and the Unit was defined as functioning well, being in possession of suitable expertise and able to produce high quality analyses to give valid support to investigations into money-laundering, predicate offences and the financing of terrorism. The Report identifies the interventions needed and gives indications for improving the national anti-money-laundering system. The Unit has already taken steps to promote its initiatives assigned to it under the Financial Security Committee’s (Comitato di Sicurezza Finanziaria) Action Plan.

On 20 May 2015 the fourth Anti-Money-Laundering Directive was approved, which aligns EU legislation with international standards and the FATF’s recommendations that were updated in 2012. The European rules have been further strengthened, especially with regard to: risk assessments at supranational, national and individual level; FIUs’ activities and powers; the transparency of information on the beneficial ownership of companies and trust companies; and ensuring data confidentiality. The transposition of the Directive will provide an opportunity to overcome a number of problems in the Italian legal system and to strengthen it further, following the recent introduction into national law of self-laundering as a punishable offence. Further changes to European legislation have been suggested as a result of the emergency triggered by the global terrorism threat which has forced the international community to increase its efforts to improve the ability of countries to prevent and combat terrorism and the financing of terrorism. The international FIU network has become an important tool for collecting information on this phenomenon, which must be shared as widely as possible, removing obstacles to international cooperation and fostering cooperation in individual countries.