The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) issued a paper identifying challenges, best practices, and policy responses to the unprecedented global challenges emerging as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Increased COVID-19 related crimes, including fraud, cybercrime, misdirection or exploitation of government funds or international financial assistance are all creating new avenues of illicit crimes.
Emerging risks and vulnerabilities are identified in the paper that could result in criminals finding ways to:
- Bypass customer due diligence measures;
- Increase misuse of online financial services and virtual assets to move and conceal illicit funds;
- Exploit economic stimulus measures and insolvency schemes as a means for natural and legal persons to conceal and launder illicit proceeds;
- Increase use of the unregulated financial sector, creating additional opportunities for criminals to launder illicit funds;
- Misuse and misappropriation of domestic and international financial aid and emergency funding;
- Exploit COVID-19 and the associated economic downturn to move into new cash-intensive and high-liquidity lines of business in developing countries.