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Tools and securitization: the instrumentation of AML/CTF policies in French banks

Abstract : First lines of the introduction: The late 1980s witnessed a major change in the international mobilization against what were at that time deemed the most threatening criminal activities (drug trafficking and organized crime initially, then corruption and terrorist financing). Having been unable to halt such phenomena directly, the G7, at the urging of the United States, developed a new means of action: the surveillance of financial flows related to these activities via anti-money laundering (AML) policy. This shift resulted in two novel developments in regulatory terms. First, responsibility for direct surveillance of these activities was not given to the public authorities, but was delegated to private sector financial groups present on the frontlines (bankers, insurers, etc.). Individual national legislations entrusted them with responsibility for tracking and reporting suspicious transactions. In that way, private financial surveillance overtook the conventional policing of these flows. Subsequently, faced with the mass of information that banks suddenly had to process, the institutions in question adopted new procedures relying on innovative IT tools to detect people and transactions with atypical profiles. As such, the fulfilment of the law enforcement mission implied by AML policy led to the mobilization of an unanticipated tandem of private sector players and technological instruments. Government regulators were only active behind the scenes, first by managing alerts transmitted to a central body – the Tracfin financial intelligence unit in France – and second by auditing private monitoring procedures.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, December 11, 2019 - 2:10:27 PM
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Thierry Godefroy, Pierre Lascoumes, Gilles Favarel-Garrigues. Tools and securitization: the instrumentation of AML/CTF policies in French banks. Karine Svedberg Helgesson; Ulrika Mörth. Securitization, Accountability and Risk Management, Routledge, pp.88 - 109, 2012. ⟨hal-02404571⟩

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