Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) should be considered the primary partner for law enforcement in identifying and tracking crime proceeds and instrumentalities due to direct access to financial information concerning suspected proceeds of crime and potential financing of terrorism. FIU’s financial intelligence is one of the keys to the effective investigation and confiscation of profits from crime.
One of the major functions of a national FIU is to process and provide information that can be used for financial intelligence purposes. Among these, STRs (suspicious transaction reports) and analysis provided on these reports by the FIU is of particular value and relevance. In cases of centralized virtual currencies, management of exchange tokens or in-game assets will be mostly performed by the administrating authority through the in-house channels removed from the state’s traditional financial system. Therefore, the availability and value of STRs from central administrators will be usually linked with the degree of state regulation on virtual currencies and where such entities are obliged to file STRs to a national FIU.
In contrast to central administrating authorities, cases of decentralized currencies – in particular, crypto-currencies – STRs that focus on the red-flagged transactions performed by virtual currency exchanges would be a particularly useful source of intelligence in financial investigations on proceeds and instrumentalities of crime.
Generally, law enforcement needs to be familiar with the financial intelligence unit’s structure, role, and authority in their own jurisdiction. In addition to obtaining suspicious transaction reports, many financial intelligence units are authorized to collect and maintain reports on currency and large cash transactions, making financial intelligence units the central holders of significant financial data.