Publication: Suspending Suspicious Transactions

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Stroligo, Klaudijo
Intscher, Horst
Davis-Crockwell, Susan
One of the powers held by many, but not all, Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) is the administrative power to order the postponement of reported suspicious transactions as a means of preventing the flight of suspect funds or assets beyond the reach of national law enforcement and prosecutorial authorities during the time it takes for those national authorities to seek and obtain a freezing or seizing order from the judicial or other competent authorities. The main objectives of this study are to: inform the policy discussion on the postponement power; and provide guidance to FIUs that already have, or are considering, acquiring the power to postpone suspicious transactions with a view to improving their existing postponement regimes or shaping new ones. This joint study was intended to capture the widest possible cross section of FIUs. However, the highest numbers of respondents were from European countries. While the study had no control over the response rate, the respondent FIUs are nonetheless representative of the overall population of FIUs on dimensions such as type and size of FIU and geographic representation, and provide valuable information relevant for all FIUs with postponement power. This report presents the results of the above-mentioned study, which, among other things, shows the existence of a wide range of practices and arrangements, and some gaps or omissions, in respect of a number of important aspects of the FIU power to postpone suspicious transactions. The study also indicates that only a relatively small proportion of FIUs with the power to postpone suspicious transactions are regular users of this power, while a substantial number have not used the power at all during the three-year period covered by the study, or have done so infrequently. In addition, this report presents a number of recommendations to help FIU practitioners and policy makers establish or strengthen effective legal and operational mechanisms for the postponement of suspicious transactions, while taking into account the international FIU standards, and the rule of law, in order to ensure that the fundamental rights of all those concerned are effectively protected. Finally, this report includes a number of sanitized cases provided by FIUs.
Stroligo, Klaudijo; Intscher, Horst; Davis-Crockwell, Susan. 2014. Suspending Suspicious Transactions. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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