Chapter News

Successful action against international money laundering network: France, Eurojust and Europol

The initial results of a preliminary investigation carried out by the French National Financial Public Prosecutor’s Office, commenced in September 2015, has revealed a vast and complex money laundering network in six Member States (Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Spain, Latvia, Lithuania) and in the offshore financial centres outside Europe (Hong Kong, Singapore).

An alert issued by the French Financial Intelligence Unit (TRACFIN) and a complaint by the Directorate General of Public Finance (DGFiP) led to the investigation, assigned to the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police (Office for Combating Corruption and Financial and Fiscal Offences and the Regional Judicial Police Service of Clermont-Ferrand).

Coordinated by Eurojust and Europol in cooperation with the magistrates and investigators of the requested countries, the objective of this international criminal investigation was to dismantle an extensive money laundering network involved in two types of offences: money laundering, originating from France, other crimes suspected of being linked to illicit online gambling, and money laundering for the purpose of tax evasion.

At this stage of the investigation, the crimes have resulted in laundering of over EUR 200 million since 2009 and income tax evasion currently estimated at EUR 3 million.

The initial results of the investigations in figures:

  • Twenty-four requests for international mutual legal assistance issued by the National Financial Public Prosecutor’s Office to its foreign counterparts since September 2015;
  • Coordination, under the aegis of Eurojust, of eight European countries: Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Spain, France, Latvia, Lithuania and Switzerland;
  • Simultaneous operations by police forces with the support of Europol in searches carried out in fifteen locations (one in Denmark, seven in Estonia, one in Spain and six in France);
  • Property and asset seizures within and outside France:
    • Estonia: three luxury vehicles, financial assets, five properties;
    • France: two luxury vehicles, two properties, financial assets, a vintage wine cellar; and
    • Germany, Spain, Latvia and Lithuania: financial assets.

The total value of legally seized financial assets and property in the European Union amounts to approximately EUR 3 515 000.

Investigations are ongoing.

Compliments of Eurojust