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2,469 arrested in worldwide crackdown against money laundering

Law enforcement from 25 countries, supported by Europol, Eurojust, INTERPOL and the European Banking Federation (EBF) have joined forces to crack down one of the most important enablers of money laundering: money mules and their recruiters.

The Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive

Worldwide crackdown against money laundering

During an operational phase carried out between mid-September to end of November 2022, 8,755 money mules were identified, alongside 222 money mule recruiters and 2,469 individuals were arrested worldwide.

Now in its eighth edition, the European Money Mule Action (EMMA8) has gone international, with actions carried out in as far as Colombia, Singapore and Australia.

EMMA is the largest international operation of its kind, built around the idea that public-private information sharing is key to fighting complex modern crimes.

This year, and with the continuing coordination of the EBF, around 1,800 banks and financial institutions supported law enforcement in this action, alongside online money transfer services, cryptocurrency exchanges, FinTech and KYC companies, and multinational computer technology corporations.

The most common estimate for the amount of money laundered globally in one year is 2 – 5% of global GDP, or $800 billion – $2 trillion in current US dollars.

Overview of the results

  • 2,469 money mules arrested
  • 1,648 criminal investigations initiated
  • 4,089 fraudulent transactions identified
  • €17.5 million intercepted

The initial, reduced, EU Policy Cycle for organised and serious international crime/EMPACT was implemented between 2012 and 2013.

This was followed by two fully-fledged EU Policy Cycles between 2014-2017 and 2018-2021 .

Through these different stages, EMPACT has evolved into an EU flagship instrument for multidisciplinary and multiagency operational cooperation to fight organised crime at an EU level. It calls for robust action to target the most pressing criminal threats facing the European Union.

Participating countries

Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Colombia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Singapore and Hong Kong (China), Ireland, Italy, Moldova, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, United Kingdom, United States.

A link in the money laundering chain

Have you ever been asked to help transfer money by:

  • An online friend or love interest?

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