The Service for Information and Control of Financial Circuits (SICCFIN) was founded 17 years ago, and its missions have been extended by the new law on the fight against money laundering, terrorist financing and corruption, voted in 2009.
Since it was set up in 1994, the Service for Information and Control of Financial Circuits has sought to implement measures to ensure effective application of the legislation against money laundering adopted in 1993, extended by the laws against terrorist financing of 2002 and modified by law number 1,362 of 2009.
The scope of notification has been considerably extended by this text, which now covers corruption, and by the modification of article 218-3 of the Penal Code. The extension of the attributions of SICCFIN over the last few years is a direct result of the changes in international standards in these areas. Its staff has been strengthened both in number and expertise. While its main role is still to receive and process the facts in the notifications submitted to it, and pass them on for possible further action if they seem to be backed by sufficient proof, it has now been entrusted with another, no less important, mission: supervising profession governed by the law, including financial establishments which are an integral part of the system and make an important contribution to its effectiveness. A notable part of SICCFIN’s supervisory role is the performance of on-site checks. Compliance by professionals with their obligations of vigilance is the corner-stone of the whole system.
A role now better appreciated
2010 was noteworthy for the continuing implementation of the measures introduced by the law of 3 August 2009 and the Sovereign Order of application, particularly concerning the integration of nonfinancial professions, the adoption or updating of internal procedures, the setting up of a reporting system as laid down by articles 33 of the law and the Sovereign Order, and the extension of measures relating to the identification of clients. These changes, and the awareness campaigns launched by SICCFIN, have led to better understanding of the essential role played in this field by the various parties concerned. At an international level, demand for regulation and supervision has increased. The FATF has undertaken to revise the Recommendations (40+9) to make them more explicit and more relevant, working on the basis of a policy of consultation with the private sector and civil society. The new version of the Recommendations should in theory be operational in 2012. The development of SICCFIN, a member of the Egmont group, is reflected in the statistics of its activity: it received 31 declarations of suspicion in 1994 and 161 in 2000, whereas last year it had to deal with 636, carrying out 59 on-site checks and transferring 20 cases to the prosecutor’s office.