Within the anti-money laundering activities, mention should be made of the international cooperation provided for by Legislative Decree 231/2007, which has been strengthened in compliance with the transposition by Italy of the Directive (EU) 2018/843 (s.c. V Directive). Indeed, the Direzione Investigativa Antimafia also deals with the reports coming from the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Bank of Italy, in order to ensure the information exchange and assistance, necessary for preventing and combating the use of the economic and financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing. In this context, the DIA confirmed its central role as National Authority together with the Ministry of the Economy, the above-mentioned Financial Intlligence Unit and the Guardia di Finanza.
According to the present legal system, FIUs are in charge of receiving and analysing the reports of suspicious transactions in a direct and autonomous manner, intensively cooperating at international level in the field of money laundering and terrorism financing, through the use of telematic systems which ensure the timely communication of data.
In particular, the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Bank of Italy can exchange information on suspicious transactions with FIUs of other countries, in derogation of official secrecy and also on the basis of memorandums of understanding. To this end, it acquires from the Special Currency Unit of the Guardia di Finanza and the DIA the necessary investigative information.
The analysis of the financial information coming from abroad is aimed at identifying interests and ramifications of criminal associations and at acquiring valuable information on illicitly -gained assets which are invested in other countries by subjects under investigation in Italy. The analysis also provides, in some cases, valuable information highlighting the involvement of fictitious persons and shell companies and the actual beneficial ownership of the assets by the subjects involved, also in consideration of the new payment methods and financial transactions, such as for example the numerous types of “money transfers” or virtual currencies (also known as cryptocurrencies, among which mention should be made of Bitcoins, the great variety of Altcoins and crypto-assets).
In 2020 the DIA received more than 1,600 reports from foreign FIUs. For the purpose of the analysis and developing of the data coming from such information flows, the DIA monitored more than 6,500 natural and more than 4,800 legal persons reported (including 40 reports highlighting some anomalies in the movements and financial transactions linked to the COVID – 19 Pandemic).
In 2021, the figures and numbers are still very close to those registered in the years before. In the first eight months, from January to August, the DIA received more than 1,100 reports from foreign FIUs and monitored more than 4,000 natural and more 3,500 legal persons reported (including 25 reports of financial operations connected to the COVID-19 Pandemic).
Finally, it should be noted that, as far as the cooperation of the FIU with the Judicial Authorities is concerned, in case of ongoing proceedings against subjects reported, the information coming from foreign FIUs is transmitted by the Unit directly to the competent Prosecutor’s Office.