Since 1 January 2016, Europol's financial intelligence and counter terrorism capabilities have been substantially strengthened by the integration of a decentralised computer network of the European Union Member States' Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs), known as FIU.net. Under the auspices of the EU FIU platform and the renewed provisions set in the IV anti-money laundering Directive, the embedment of FIU.net into Europol aims to create more synergy between financial and criminal intelligence, ultimately boosting efforts to fighting organised crime and terrorism in the EU.
FIU.net became operational in 2002 and was co-financed until 2015 by the European Commission. It supports relevant EU Member States' authorities in their fight against money laundering and terrorist financing by allowing the exchange of information between FIUs on financial transactions with a cross-border nature. It is a decentralised network, involving no central storage of information: when sending information from one FIU to another, the exchanged data is only, and securely, stored on the FIU.net databases at the premises of the FIUs involved in the exchange.
The embedment of FIU.net in Europol will enhance the exchange of financial intelligence available via this network by combining it with the products and services of Europol. The FIUs will also have the opportunity to identify connections between the financial intelligence they collect and criminal intelligence stored at Europol which is contributed by the Law Enforcement authorities of the Member States. Thanks to the analytical capacities of Europol the suspicious money flows and their links to on-going terrorist and criminal activities can be further investigated. The FIU.net exchange platform will join other key Europol's tools in the field such as the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP), the Focal Point Sustrans (support to anti-money laundering investigations) and the network of the EU Asset Recovery Offices (AROs).
In order to enhance action against terrorist financing activities, there is a strategic business need to exploit cooperation mechanisms which can support the related cross-European response required.
In line with the conclusions of the Council of the EU in November 2015, FIU.net will also serve to strengthen and harmonise the cooperation between the FIUs, particularly in the fight against terrorism financing within the new European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC) established at Europol as from 1 January 2016.