EU strengthens protection against financial crime in the face of the pandemic crisis

June 8, 2020
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EU strengthens protection against financial crime in the face of the pandemic crisis
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The European Union expects an increase in the number of financial crimes amid the crisis. The new Europol unit will struggle with them. The security of citizenship programs may attract more attention than before the crisis.

The EU has created a unit to combat financial crime. It is expected that they will become more frequent amid the crisis caused by the ⠀ COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the areas in which the level of control is constantly increasing is the stimulation of the economy through citizenship / permanent residence / residence permit programs for investments. Moreover, during the crisis, countries are interested in increasing investment and mitigating the conditions of the programs.

Investment due diligence procedure  一 is the most important step in any program. It is regularly reinforced even in good times. It is expected that the crisis will draw even more attention to Due Diligence. Security audits may become more rigorous faster than expected before a pandemic.

New Europol unit

The European Center for Financial and Economic Crimes was established on June 5, 2020. It is a member of Europol, the EU law enforcement agency.The new unit fights money laundering, corruption and fraud, which are increasing in times of economic crisis.

Another expected function of the new unit 一 is to assist in the confiscation of illicit funds. Europol estimates that only 1% of the criminal proceeds are now seized in the EU.

The new unit employs 65 analysts at 一 who collect data and help 27 EU member states to share information.

The head of Europol, Catherine De Bolle, said that the pandemic had weakened the economy. It has created new vulnerabilities that criminals can exploit.

Europol said that construction, hotel business and tourism companies are at the highest risk. Swindlers also focused on scams with medical equipment and government subsidies.

Strengthening Due Diligence

Citizenship, residence permit and permanent residence permit programmes for investment are also considered to be at risk. Therefore, the security screening procedure 一 Due Diligence 一 is constantly being strengthened. The trend was already in place before the pandemic.

Earlier we said that Malta would launch a finalized citizenship programme for investment. The country has already adopted strict Due Diligence standards, but their strengthening is being discussed with the European Commission. And Vanuatu, which is aimed at cooperation with the EU, plans to change the program to meet the standards.

Strict Due Diligence is not an obstacle to a second citizenship or residence permit / permanent residence status. However, it is important to correctly prepare a package of documents that prove the reliability of the source of investment.

Our lawyers recommend that those who plan to apply for a second citizenship or permanent residence for an investment should take the Due Diligence seriously. You should act through Immigrant Invest, a licensed agent for the program.

Please note that the company has AML Compliance certified specialists on staff. They are aware of the current standards of Due Diligence and the latest changes in procedures. Our lawyers conduct preliminary checks and prepare a package of documents. As a result, the risk of failure is reduced to 1%.

Earlier we said that the citizenship programme for Malta’s investments has almost exhausted the quota limit. The next quotas will be allocated on new terms.

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