Document Type : Research Paper


Assistant Professor in Bu-Ali Sina University.Hamedan.Iran


Introduction: Combating against Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism requires access to financial information. Therefore, The Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) as the center of receiving, analyzing and disseminating financial data have a key role in prediction of the patterns of these criminal offences and thereof prevention before their integration in legitimate earnings. Establishment of the units were initially provided in the Article 7.1.B of the United Nations Convention against Organized Crime (the so-called Palermo Convention) and the Articles 41.1.B  and 58 of United Nations Convention against Corruption (the so-called Mérida Convention) and then was elaborately provided in FATF recommendations. In Iran, the unit was established according to the repeated Article 7 of the Anti-Money Laundering Amendment Act enacted in 1397. The FIUs should be autonomous, independent and national, and comply with the principles of information security and confidentiality once disseminating them. 
Methodology: This research is accomplished via descriptive-analytical approach. Comparing the FIU in the domestic law and the World Back and FATF recommendation, it seeks to analyze the role of FIUS in predicting and preventing Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism.
Results and Discussion: The results indicate the significant role of the FUIS in predicting and preventing Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism. In Prediction phase, after receiving information the unit conducts operational and strategical analyses on it (Interpretive Note to the Recommendation 29 of the FATF). The operational analysis is applies for prevention in micro-level whilst the strategical analysis is employed in macro-level in order to recognize the patterns and predict them. Without distinction between the two types of analyses, the Anti-Money Laundering Act has elaborated the task in the repeated Article 7-a. The requirement of issuing the National Deed of Risk Assessment by the unit is another step towards prediction of the two aforementioned crimes. The function of the unit is also considerable in preventing these crimes in different levels and types. At the first level, prevention is accomplished by drafting guidelines, which has been mentioned in the repeated Article 7.f and 7.g. The second level of prevention includes supervision on high-risk persons, regions and transactions. This task is conducted by the FIU as well. At the third level, the role of the unit manifests in cooperation with the judiciary and closer monitoring of the designated nationals. The role of the FIU can be perused in both situational and social prevention as well. In situational prevention, measures that seek to mitigate the risk or manage it, further actions on the Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs), issuing blocking orders on property and so on are all instances of such preventive tools that the unit conducts either directly or indirectly. The reason behind the substantial role of the FIU in situational prevention lies behind its access to facilities of risk assessment. In social prevention, providing counsel to specific persons in the form of communication of guidelines (the repeated Article 7.e), provision of educational programs on detrimental consequences of these criminal offenses (the repeated Article 7.h) all are social preventive tools and suggest that the perspective the of legislator has been vaster to merely confine to situational preventive tools.
Conclusions: AML/CFT policies require vast cooperation between countries and immense sharing of financial data. However, Iran confronts two challenges of joining Egmont Group and international transparency in reaching this goal. Interpretive Note to the Recommendation 29 of the FATF has bound countries to join Egmont Group. Nonetheless, Iran has not succeeded in joining Egmont yet and its collaboration with other countries on data dissemination are limited to bilateral agreements. Indeed, the challenge of disseminating international data on money laundering lies behind disseminating data on sanctions. That is, some transactions of Iran with other countries is carried out via indirect methods that might be considered suspicious transaction. Also, the challenge of disseminating data on financing of terrorism returns to the Articles 154, 14.16 and 11 of the Constitution of the IRI. However, collaboration might benefit all parties. The Traditional approach of Iran towards international data disseminating would largely limit the potential of using the novel methods of cooperation and data sharing in favor of Iran. Transparency in national and international arena consists the other challenge for Iran in dissemination of data. Therefore, provision of a general reservation such as non-dissemination of data related to sanctions would largely undermine transparency.
Although Iran has been successful in the field of legislative policy in recent years and most of its provisions on FIUs are in accordance with the Palermo and Mérida Conventions and guidelines and recommendations of the World Bank and FATF, it is still considered as the highest risk country on Money Laundering and following the non-compliance with the FATF recommendations, is one of the two countries in the black-list. The influence of political affairs is surely undeniable. Yet the current interaction of Iran with the international society is more divergent than convergent. Non-compliance with the FATF recommendation, non-dissemination of data and opacity all aggravate such divergent and ultimately combating against Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism would get more difficult, resulting in long-term harms on economics of Iran.


Main Subjects

  • Amicelle, Anthony & Chaudieu, Killian (2018). “In Search of Transnational Financial Intelligence: Questioning Cooperation between Financial Intelligence Units” in The Palgrave Handbook of Criminal and Terrorism Financing Law, Palgrave Macmillan. Springer
  • Financial Action Task Force (2019). International Standards on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism & Proliferation
  • Marcus, Abigail J. (2019). Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs): Effective Institutional Design, Mandate and Powers. Transparency International
  • McCue, Colleen (2007). Data Mining and Predictive Analysis. Burlington, USA: Elsevier
  • Salehi, Ahmad, Ghazanfari, Mehdi & Fathian Mohammad, (2017). “Data Mining Techniques for Anti Money Laundering“, International Journal of Applied Engineering Research.Vol.12, No 20
  • The World Bank (2009). Building an Effective Financial Intelligence Unit, USA: Washington DC
  • Vaccani, Matteo (2010). Alternative remittance systems and terrorism financing issues in Risk Management. The World Bank.

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