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Anomaly indicators

Introduction to the catalogue of indicators

Anti-money-laundering law requires intermediaries to report transactions suspected of involving money-laundering on the basis of their objective features (characteristics, size, nature), the customer’s subjective profiles (income-earning capacity and type of business) and every other circumstance known as a consequence of the functions performed.

The term “transaction” is taken to mean not only the performance of a particular action but also a set of transfers that appear to be functionally and economically linked to each other.

The method of evaluation is based on the consideration that, in most cases, the objective configuration of the transaction is in itself neutral and hence does not allow the underlying purpose to be identified immediately. Transactions which — in view of the amount involved, the way they are effected, the distribution channel or the geographical location — are normal if carried out by a customer with certain characteristics, may be disproportionately large or at any rate economically unjustified if requested by another customer. At the same time, behaviour that is in line with a customer’s income-earning capacity and type of business may be anomalous in the light of other information in the intermediary’s position as a result of its own activity.

The catalogue provides examples of anomalies related to the objective form of the transaction, which, when they are found, may require the intermediary, taking into account all the other information in its possession, to investigate further in order to evaluate the nature of the transaction.

In the first place the list contains references to anomalies concerning all the different categories of transaction. This is followed by other indicators based on the type of instrument used. Lastly, special attention is paid to the behaviour of customers who carry out transactions whose type, object, frequency and/or size are not consistent with their business or their income-earning capacity and wealth.

In order to make it easier to understand the indicators, examples are given of sub-indicators that are normally related to the particular nature of intermediaries’ activities.

The list should not be considered exhaustive, not least owing to the continuous evolution of the techniques used in carrying out financial transactions. Intermediaries are therefore required, on the basis of their experience and according to the segment of the market in which they operate, to supplement or further define their anomaly indicators. To that end they can apply the criteria set out in the first part of this document.

The catalogue is not to be understood as a set of merely formal controls but as an operational tool to be used for company-level verifications, bearing in mind that the absence of the anomalous profiles identified in the Instructions is not in itself sufficient to exclude the suspicion that a transaction may be connected with money-laundering activity.

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