Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement cooperation agency, recently published a European financial and economic crime threat assessment.
The report highlights the complexity of financial and economic crime affecting the EU, such as money laundering, corruption, fraud, intellectual property crime and counterfeiting.
The report states that decentralized finance (DeFi) based on blockchain technology is expected to bring greater independence and security.
However, the lack of regulation in this area leaves room for economic crime as criminals store illegal assets on DeFi platforms. Highly volatile cryptocurrencies are also targets of fraud schemes and money laundering activities.
NFTs are growing in popularity, but also attract fraudsters due to their instant transaction capabilities. Given the cross-border transaction characteristics of NFT, there is a huge risk of money laundering.
Furthermore, the emergence of the Metaverse (a digital space for various activities) has been adopted by the financial sector and provides new opportunities for criminals. Cases of fraud and theft have been reported in the virtual universe, indicating an underlying trend of organized crime in this virtual environment.
In the face of these evolving financial and economic crimes, Europol emphasizes the need for proactive measures, international cooperation and leading criminal innovation to ensure the security and stability of the EU.