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Faced with the "long-term threat" of terrorism, François Molins calls for monitoring its microfinancing

2023-12-08T16:28:14.519Z

Highlights: Francois Molins is the former chief prosecutor at the Court of Cassation. He calls for monitoring the "microfinancing" of terrorist organizations. France is facing a "lasting threat" in the run-up to the Olympic Games, Molins says. The financial stakes of the cases reported by Tracfin are expected to exceed three billion euros in 2023, after reaching 2.1 billion in 2022, Guillaume Valette-Valla, director of the financial intelligence service says.


A simple small sum or a so-called "atypical" flow of money should alert the justice system, according to the former prosecutor.


"By following the money, you can find terrorists": the former chief prosecutor at the Court of Cassation François Molins called on Friday to intensify the study of the "microfinancing" of terrorist organizations in the face of a "lasting threat" in the run-up to the Olympic Games.

Asked about the risks while the Olympics will be held in France from July 26 to August 11, François Molins stressed that France was integrating "into a universe" with the "reactivation of jihadism in the Afghan zone", "the resilience of Daesh (the Islamic State organization, editor's note), which commits attacks", or a continuous "metastasis" in the Sahel areas.

"We are dealing with a very particular threat of microfinance," insisted the former prosecutor general, during the first symposium of the financial intelligence service Tracfin, which issues reports to the judicial authority on suspicious financial flows.

Small amounts to watch out for

The "atypical nature" of certain flows must "draw attention to the preparation of attacks or the inclinations at the beginning" for jihad, continued the one who was the face of anti-terrorism in the face of the wave of attacks launched in 2015 in France.

"A small sum, cross-referenced with other information, can be extremely interesting for justice," he said, detailing that "the budget" of the attacks that hit France in 2015 was estimated at "about 150,000 euros".

Before these attacks, "we didn't work well" on the reports issued by Tracfin, which were not processed "internally" by specialized anti-terrorism services, François Molins humbly acknowledges.

A protocol was put in place in 2015. "We notified Tracfin of all the investigations opened in terms of terrorism, which made it possible to cross-reference targets and flows, and Tracfin was able to further direct this research," recalls François Molins.

Tens of thousands of alerts in 2023

"There is a before and after the 2015 attacks," said Guillaume Valette-Valla, director of Tracfin, in particular because of the "number of suspicions reported for terrorist financing." Over the whole of 2023, Tracfin expects to receive around "180,000 suspicious activity reports" related to terrorist financing but also money laundering, said Guillaume Valette-Valla.

Read alsoAttack in Paris: "Our plan for the Olympic Games fully integrates the terrorist threat," says Laurent Nuñez

These warning signals, mostly issued by the financial sector and in particular banks, continue to increase sharply (163,000 suspicious transaction reports in 2022, a few tens of thousands in 2017).

And the financial stakes of the cases reported by Tracfin are expected to exceed three billion euros in 2023, after reaching 2.1 billion in 2022, Guillaume Valette-Valla pointed out.

Suspicions about luxury goods

The acquisition of luxury goods, in order to hide the origin of large sums of money, is a concern for many players, such as the "big houses" of jewelry, said Laurence Chevillon, general delegate of the French Union of Jewellery, Jewellery, Goldsmithing, Stones and Pearls (UFBJOP).

Since 2009, these houses have relied on "high-performance computer systems, which make it possible to track customers from the four corners of the world and know what they have bought".

In practice, "the banker has very few ways of identifying suspicious transfers that come from the buyer or third parties," said Bertrand Salewyn, head of financial security at Société Générale. But there are "red flags" such as the "massive influx of payments from abroad".

Source: leparis

All tech articles on 2023-12-08

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