Official data show the sharp increase in reports of suspected cases of money laundering and terrorist financing activities in Morocco.
According to the annual report of the Financial Data Processing Unit of the National Financial Intelligence Authority (ANRF), which replaced the Financial Intelligence Processing Unit (UTRF) in June of last year, but with more broad prerogatives aligned with international requirements, suspected cases related to money laundering and terrorist financing amounted to a total of 2,137 for the year 2020, an increase of 23% compared to 2019.
The ANRF, further clarified that their number in 2019 was 1,737 and about 1,088 in 2018, and that only 722 cases were reported in 2017, 427 cases in 2016 and about 318 suspected cases in 2015. The aforementioned report revealed that suspected cases of money laundering are the most dominant in the percentage of the year 2020, their number having reached 2,113, against 24 cases related to the financing of terrorism. The same document specifies that the total counts have reached, since 2009, the date of the establishment of the financial unit, approximately 7,117 cases related to money laundering and 189 related to the financing of terrorism.
During 2020, the unit intensified its efforts to reach the maximum number of institutions concerned belonging to the financial and non-financial sectors, in order to improve their awareness of the risks associated with money laundering and financing of terrorism. Performance institutions (payment and money transfer services) topped the list of suspected money laundering and terrorist financing reporters, with a share of 53.9%, unlike in previous years.
This is due to the increasing use of these services in the measures imposed by the health crisis linked to the coronavirus epidemic. Banking institutions come second, with a share of 40.1% of the total suspicious reports received by the unit in 2020. It should be noted that the annual report of the ANRF, which is a financial intelligence unit in administrative character attached to the Head of Government with a view to combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism, for the 2020 draw, was given to Aziz Akhannouch, Prime Minister, last February, and was only published on the official site only recently.