Sharp rise in suspected cases of terrorism financing reported to police
During the first half of 2017, banks and other companies reported 279 cases of suspected terrorism financing, three times more than they reported during the same period the year prior.
In 2014, companies filed a total of 27 cases of suspected terrorism financing; last year, that number swelled to 298.
Angelica Wallmark, head of section at the Swedish Financial Intelligence Unit of the Swedish National Police Board, believes that the number of reports has risen, in part because companies are more aware of the phenomenon.
"The Swedish financial intelligence unit has also been out, spreading information. We have had collaboration with private actors in different forums and in different contexts where we have put a lot of focus on the issue, especially in cooperation with Säpo," she told Swedish Radio News.
However, she explains that many of the transactions, once they're reviewed, prove to be completely innocent.
The law requires banks, financial institutions and real estate companies to report suspected cases of money laundering to the Swedish financial intelligence unit. In some of these cases, companies suspect terrorism financing, for example, if a bank clerk notices a transaction made with an unclear intention to a country where terrorist groups are active.
On August 1, the law dealing with money laundering for the purpose of terrorism, was changed, forcing companies to subject their customers to tougher checks. Even the gaming industry is now required to file reports with the financial intelligence unit if they suspect something is amiss.