Front Matter Page

IMF Country Report No. 16/43



February 2016

This Detailed Assessment Report on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism for Italy was prepared by a staff team of the International Monetary Fund. It is based on the information available at the time it was completed in February 2016.

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Front Matter Page



February 2016

Prepared By

Legal Department

This Detailed Assessment Report was prepared in the context of an IMF Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) assessment mission in Italy during January 14–30, 2015, led by Richard Lalonde, IMF and overseen by the Legal Department, IMF. Further information on the IMF’s AML/CFT program can be found at:



  • Glossary




  • A. Preface


  • A. ML/TF Risks and Scoping of Higher-Risk Issues

  • B. Materiality

  • C. Structural Elements

  • D. Background and other Contextual Factors


  • A. Key Findings

  • B. Recommended Actions

  • C. Immediate Outcome 1 (Risk, Policy and Coordination)


  • A. Key Findings

  • B. Recommended Actions

  • C. Immediate Outcome 6 (Financial Intelligence ML/TF)

  • D. Immediate Outcome 7 (ML Investigation and Prosecution)

  • E. Immediate Outcome 8 (Confiscation)


  • A. Key Findings

  • B. Recommended Actions

  • C. Immediate Outcome 9 (TF Investigation and Prosecution)

  • D. Immediate Outcome 10 (TF Preventive Measures and Financial Sanctions)

  • E. Immediate Outcome 11 (PF Financial Sanctions)


  • A. Key Findings

  • B. Recommended Actions

  • C. Immediate Outcome 4 (Preventive Measures)


  • A. Key Findings

  • B. Recommended Actions

  • C. Immediate Outcome 3 (Supervision)


  • A. Key Findings

  • B. Recommended Actions

  • C. Immediate Outcome 5 (Legal Persons and Arrangements)


  • A. Key Findings

  • B. Recommended Actions

  • C. Immediate Outcome 2 (International Cooperation)


  • 1. TF case: Distance adoptions-related donations performed by foreign terrorist fighter

  • 2. Strategic Analysis conducted by the UIF

  • 3. IT tools for financial analysis and investigations

  • 4. Case Study: Money River Operation—December 2014

  • 5. Operation Green Fees

  • 6. MIDDLE-WORLD (December 2014)

  • 7. Preventive seizure and confiscation measures provided by the Anti-Mafia Code

  • 8. International cooperation to investigate and prosecute predicate offenses and ML

  • 9. Fraud to a bank performed by a disloyal employee


  • 1. The Financial Analysis Process

  • 2. AML Deficiencies by Type (BoI Inspections)

  • 3. CDD Deficiencies by Type (BoI Inspections)


  • 1. Composition of the Financial sector in Italy as at End-2014

  • 2. Italian Businesses Without Legal Personality

  • 3. Anti-money Laundering Aggregate Reports—Descriptive Statistics—2014 (estimate)

  • 4. Number of Suspicious Transaction Reports Received, Analyzed, and Dismissed

  • 5. GdF Investigations Resulting from Technical Notes and STRs

  • 6. DIA’s ML and Associated Predicate Crimes Investigations Triggered by STRs

  • 7. Number of People Arrested and Convicted by Final Sentence in Italy for Corruption

  • 8. Natural Persons Arrested by GdF for ML—Linked to PO

  • 9. Number of Prosecutions and Number of People Included for the Requests of Prosecution for the Requests of Prosecution for the Related Crimes

  • 10. Definitive Convictions by Type of Crime

  • 11. Number of ML Prosecutions Compared to Total Number of Prosecutions (2010–2012)

  • 12. ML Investigations

  • 13. Conviction and Non-conviction Based Seizures and Confiscations

  • 14. Number of Requests for Prosecution Initiation or Filing for Terrorism

  • 15. Persons Convicted by Final Sentence

  • 16. Italian Trade with Iran and North Korea in 2014

  • 17. Funds and Assets Frozen Pursuant to PF-Related sanctions

  • 18. Final Sanctions by MEF for Proliferation Violations (2012–2014)

  • 19. Number of STRs Filed by Financial Institutions and DNFBPs

  • 20. On-site Inspections Conducted by Bank of Italy (2010–2014)

  • 21. On-site Inspections Conducted by IVASS (2011–2014)

  • 22. Sanctions Applied by BoI Under AML Law

  • 23. Sanctions Applied By BoI to Natural Persons Under CLB Where Underlying Deficiency Related

  • 24. Status of Sanction Procedures Initiated by IVASS (2011–2014)

  • 25. Requests to Foreign FIUs

  • 26. Criminal Sanctions


  • I. Technical Compliance

  • II. Overview of Italy’s Anticorruption Measures

  • III. Italian Companies Classified by Size of Capital

  • IV. Anti-Mafia Measures, Seizure, and Confiscation

  • V. DIA Seizures and Confiscations

  • VI. Number of alleged cross-border transportation

  • VII. Italy-Switzerland cross-border movements of cash

  • VIII. Authorities’ Response



Anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism


National Anti-Corruption Agency (Autorità Nazionale Anti-Corruzione)


National Agency for the Management and Allocation of Seized and Confiscated Assets to Organized Crime


Archivio Unico Informatico


Bank of Italy


Strategic Counter-Terrorism Analysis Committee


Criminal Code


Consolidated Law on Banking


Consolidated Law on Finance


National Commission for Companies and the Stock Exchange (Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa)


Criminal Procedure Code


Anti-mafia Investigative Directorate (Direzione Investigativa Anti-Mafia)


National Anti-mafia Directorate (Direzione Nazionale Antimafia)


Designated NonFinancial Businesses and Professions


Electronic Money Institution


European Union


Financial Action Task Force


Financial institution


Financial Intelligence Unit


Financial Security Committee


Fondo Unico Giustizia


Guardia di Finanza


Inland Revenue Agency (Agenzia delle Entrate)


National Institute for Statistics (Istituto Nazionale di Statistica)


Institute for Insurance Supervision (Istituto per la Vigilanza sulle Assicurazioni)


Legislative decree


Law enforcement agency


Ministerial decree


Ministry of Economy and Finance


Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation


Ministry of Interior


Ministry of Justice


Ministry of Economic Development


Money Laundering


Ministry of Labor and Social Policies


Non-Profit Organization


National Risk Assessment


Special Currency Unit (Nucleo Speciale di Polizia Valutaria—Guardia di Finanza)


Organismo Agenti e Mediatori


Politically-Exposed Persons


Payment institution

PIE auditors

External auditors having engagement with public interest enterprises


Open-ended collective investment scheme (Società di Investimento a Capitale Variabile)


Sistema d’Intelligenza Valutaria


Suspicious Transaction Report


Terrorist Financing


Targeted Financial Sanctions


Financial Intelligence Unit (Unità di Informazione Finanziaria)


United Nations Security Council Resolution

Executive Summary

This report provides a summary of the anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) measures in place in Italy as at the date of the on-site visit (January 14 to 30, 2015). It analyzes the level of compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) 40 Recommendations and the level of effectiveness of Italy’s AML/CFT system, and provides recommendations on how the system could be strengthened.

Key Findings

1. Italy has a mature and sophisticated AML/CFT regime, with a correspondingly well-developed legal and institutional framework. It is nonetheless confronted with a significant risk of money laundering (ML) stemming principally from tax crimes and activities most often associated with organized crime, such as corruption, drug trafficking, and loan sharking.

2. All the main authorities have a good understanding of the ML and terrorist financing (TF) risks, and generally good policy cooperation and coordination. Italy is now developing a nationally coordinated AML/CFT strategy informed by its 2014 national risk assessment (NRA).

3. Law enforcement agencies (LEAs) access, use, and develop good quality financial intelligence. The authorities are able to successfully undertake large and complex financial investigations and prosecutions, and have confiscated very large amounts of proceeds of crime.

4. Nevertheless, current results are not fully commensurate with the scale of ML risks. This is partly due to the insufficient focus on standalone ML cases and other cases, generated by foreign predicate and/or involving legal persons offenses, as well as to the length of the judicial process.

5. The risk of TF in Italy appears to be relatively low, and Italy has effectively implemented targeted financial sanctions (TFS). It also actively mitigates the proliferation financing (PF) risk, but additional outreach to the private sector would be beneficial.

6. Financial institutions (FIs) generally have a good understanding of ML threats that they face, and the larger banks appear to be strongest in their mitigation efforts. The nonfinancial sector, with some exceptions, is far less attuned to ML/TF risk, and is hampered by the absence of detailed secondary legislation.

7. Customer due diligence (CDD) measures are well embedded in the financial sector, but there appears to be an over-reliance on the due diligence undertaken by the banks when accepting business through agency arrangements, and the processes for identifying beneficial owners are not consistent. Reporting by the nonfinancial sector is generally poor, especially among the lawyers and accountants, but on the rise.

8. Financial sector supervisors have been using a risk-based approach (RBA) to varying degrees, but their supervisory tools could be improved. Cooperation among domestic supervisory authorities, and with home country supervisors notably needs to be enhanced in regards to agents acting on behalf of remittance companies that have benefited from the EU passporting arrangements.

9. While the framework governing the supervision of EU payment institutions (PIs) operating in Italy under the EU framework is in place, there is very limited cooperation between Organismo Agenti e Mediatori (OAM) and the home country supervisor of the EU PI in the context of on-going supervision of these persons.

10. The sanctions regimes for ML and non-compliance with preventive measures need to be strengthened.

11. Information on beneficial ownership of legal persons is generally accessible in a timely fashion, but cross-checking is necessary to ensure its reliability. Companies are misused to some extent, in particular by organized crime groups, and foreign legal arrangements operating in Italy pose a minor but growing challenge.

Risks and General Situation

12. Italy has a strong legal and institutional framework to fight ML and TF, but faces a particularly high amount of illegal proceeds-as acknowledged in the national risk assessment (NRA)-most of which are domestically generated. Available estimates vary widely, ranging from 1.7-12 percent of GDP, with most pointing to the upper end of the range. The main proceeds-generating crimes are (i) tax and excise evasion (around 75 percent of total proceeds); (ii) drug trafficking and loan sharking (around 15 percent of the total); and (iii) corruption, fraud, counterfeiting, environmental crime, robbery, smuggling extortion, and illegal gambling (around 10 percent of the total). Categories of crime (ii) and (iii) are most closely associated with the activities of organized crime, a historically pervasive problem in Italy.

13. The channel most vulnerable to ML activity appears to be the banks due to their dominance of the financial sector, the range of products they offer, the transaction volumes they handle, and the interconnectedness of the banking sector with the international financial system. Lawyers, notaries, and accountants are in some cases involved in creating and managing structures that lack transparency and used to launder money. The high use of cash and relatively large informal economy very significantly increases the risk that illicit proceeds may be rechanneled into the regulated formal economy.

14. The risk of TF appears to be relatively low. While domestic extremist groups exist, they are very fragmented and do not, at present, seem to pose a significant risk. The risk is mainly connected to independent individuals who are devoted to Jihad, operating through small cells that are primarily self-funded.

Overall Level of Effectiveness and Technical Compliance

15. Since the last assessment in 2005, Italy’s level of technical compliance has markedly improved in several areas-notably in preventive measures and supervision of financial institutions-but not in some others-such as sanctions for noncompliance with preventive measures. Italy has a strong legal and institutional framework for combating ML, TF, and PF. Measures are particularly strong regarding the assessment of risks, law enforcement, confiscation, targeted financial sanctions, preventive measures for and the supervision of FIs, and transparency of legal persons and arrangements, but less so regarding sanctions for ML and non-compliance, and preventive measures for designated nonfinancial businesses and professions (DNFBPs).

16. In terms of effectiveness, Italy achieves substantial results in risk assessment and national policies, international cooperation, collection and use of financial intelligence, ML and TF investigation, prosecution, confiscation, and transparency of legal persons and arrangements. Only moderate improvements are needed in these areas. More significant improvements are needed in the other areas as indicated below.

Assessment of Risks, Coordination and Policy Setting (Chapter 2—IO.1; R.1, R.2, R.33)

17. Italy has a good understanding of its ML/TF risks, and generally good policy cooperation and coordination to address these risks. It completed a robust NRA in 2014.

18. Operationally, national AML/CFT coordination under the auspices of the Financial Security Committee (FSC) is quite good. Although Italian authorities have for some time been applying an RBA to varying degrees based on their individual understanding of risk, and several initiatives have been launched in the wake of the NRA, Italy has not yet developed a nationally coordinated AML/CFT strategy that is fully informed by the ML/TF risks in the NRA.

19. Notwithstanding their awareness of ML/TF risks, supervisors have not fully adapted their tools and operational practices to reflect the identified risks. The Financial Intelligence Unit (Unità di Informazione Finanziaria–UIF) could further improve its policies and activities, and better use its resources to focus more on high-risk areas. Although LEAs and prosecutors have the skills to take down ML networks, current efforts are mainly aimed at sanctioning the predicate offenses and some related third-party ML offenses, and confiscating related assets at the expense of standalone ML cases and those generated by foreign predicate offenses. The lack of criminalization of self-laundering until

20. January 1, 2015 meant that the AML framework could not be used to its fullest extent. Although the new provision is a significant step forward, it is too soon to tell how it will work out in practice.

21. The FSC has proven to be a useful platform for coordinating action for the prevention of the use of the financial system and of the economy for ML/TF and PF purposes. It is currently in the process of updating its assessment of the TF risk as a result of the global rise in the threat of terrorism. It will now also need to ensure that policies and activities are fully aligned with and prioritized according to the identified risks.

22. The authorities have shared the results of the NRA with FIs and DNFBPs which as a result are generally aware of the main ML risks and to a lesser extent TF risks, and how the identified risks relate to their institutions in the context of their business models. The financial sector, in general, and the banks, in particular, has a good understanding of the ML risks in Italy. The understanding of ML/TF risks within the DNFBP sectors is very mixed, but, overall, is clearly not as sound as within the financial sector.

Financial Intelligence, Money Laundering and Confiscation (Chapter 3—IOs 6–8; R.3, R.4, R.29–32)

23. Italy has a comprehensive institutional framework of LEAs responsible for ensuring that ML, TF and predicate offenses are properly investigated. Their powers to obtain information are comprehensive, and they collect and use a wide variety of intelligence to investigate crimes. They have the expertise to identify and investigate ML, and financial investigations are launched in every investigation involving proceeds-generating crimes. However, there is the potential for duplication of effort, particularly during the early stages of investigations, owing to the overlapping responsibilities of LEAs.

24. The authorities have access to a very broad range of financial and other information. The UIF receives suspicious transaction reports (STRs) and other information, and has access to a range of administrative and financial information. The Guardia di Finanza (GdF, the financial police) and the Direzione Investigativa Antimafia (DIA, the anti-mafia investigative authority) can also access a wide range of financial information. The UIF produces good analysis for the GdF and DIA, but does not have access to LEA information and certain administrative information (e.g. the land registry) that could enrich its analysis.

25. LEAs and prosecutors have proven that they are able to undertake large and complex financial investigations. They have been successful in a number of high-profile cases, and in some of them in disabling criminal enterprises. The Criminal and the Anti-Mafia Codes constitute a comprehensive and effective framework for seizing and confiscating proceeds of crime. However, as noted above, current efforts are mainly aimed at sanctioning the predicate offenses and some related ML activities, and confiscating related assets at the expense of standalone ML cases and those generated by foreign predicate offenses. The lack of criminalization of self-laundering until January 1, 2015 meant that the AML framework could not be used to its fullest extent notably in regard to tax evasion. The criminal judicial system appears to be complex and procedures, lengthy. Combined, these two elements, along with the complexity of ML cases, as well as insufficient resources, may undermine the effectiveness of the judicial system. The fact that, in many cases, ML and predicate offenses are committed by repeat offenders would tend to indicate that the sanctions applied are not sufficiently dissuasive.

26. More granular statistics on investigations, prosecutions and convictions would better allow the authorities to gauge their performance.

Terrorist Financing and Financing Proliferation (Chapter 4—IOs 9–11; R.5–8)

27. The authorities demonstrated a good understanding of TF risk. The most significant emerging risk is the potential support of Italian self-financed residents travelling to conflict zones abroad to help foreign terrorist groups.

28. Italy’s anti-terrorism investigative activities are essentially focused on detecting and disrupting such cells, but include parallel financial investigations. While there have been some convictions for terrorist activities in the last five years, none of the investigations carried out found evidence of TF activities.

29. Italy has effectively implemented TFS. It has adopted a passive system of notification for FIs and DNFBPs for actions related to targeted financial sanctions: the UIF simply provides a link to the EU list on its website. It does not have a focused, interagency coordinated approach to supervising the non-profit organization (NPO) sector; however, LEAs have imposed administrative penalties. The main ministry in charge of NPOs (i.e., the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies (MLSP)) is not integrated into the FSC’s work; therefore a key sector is excluded from the national coordination body for TFS. Limited outreach has been undertaken.

30. Italy actively mitigates the PF risk through TFS and controls on dual-use goods under the relevant international agreements. In view of the volume of trade, efforts focus more on the risks emanating from Iran, but the authorities are also aware of the risk emanating from trade with North Korea. Although the authorities have conducted outreach to the export sector, additional outreach to the financial and nonfinancial sector would strengthen the system.

Preventive Measures (Chapter 5—IO.4; R.9–23)

31. FIs generally have a good understanding of ML threats that they face, and support the conclusions of the NRA. Although the banks are potentially most vulnerable to ML, the larger ones appear to be strongest in their defenses. The appreciation of TF risk is, however, much less developed. The DNFBP sectors are far less attuned to risk.

32. CDD measures are well embedded in the financial sector, but there appears to be an overreliance by some sectors (e.g., insurance, asset managers, and payment institutions) on the due diligence undertaken by the banks when accepting business through agency arrangements. While there is a general appreciation within the financial sector of the process for identifying beneficial ownership, there is a lack of consistency in the detailed processes, especially with respect to following the 25 percent threshold through a complex ownership chain. Reporting by DNFBPs is generally poor, especially among the lawyers and accountants.

33. An area of major concern is the provision of remittance services by agents acting on behalf of companies that have benefited from the EU passporting arrangements under the Payment Services Directive. Investigations have revealed large scale abuses of the cash reporting requirements. The authorities understand the problems and have been instrumental in having them addressed within the EU’s 4th Money Laundering Directive. However, cooperation among domestic supervisory authorities and with home country supervisors needs to be enhanced.

Supervision (Chapter 6—IO.3; R.26–28, R.34–35)

34. Financial sector supervisors generally have a good understanding of the ML/TF risk associated with the range of FIs they oversee. However, their supervisory tools could be improved in order to provide them with comprehensive, timely and consistent data on the nature and quantum of inherent risk at the level of individual institutions. A new risk-based supervisory methodology currently under development by the BoI will constitute an improvement over existing arrangements but it has some limitations. While the BoI, IVASS, and the MEF apply sanctions for violations of the AML Law and related regulations, there is room to strengthen the existing arrangements, including by better aligning sanctions with the institutions’ size and financial capacity and reducing the time required to impose sanctions on insurance licensees. The authorities also need to determine if the BoI can apply sanctions available under the CLB to banks that come under the prudential supervision of the ECB.

Transparency of Legal Persons and Arrangements (Chapter 7—IO.5; R.24–25)

35. Italian legal persons are used to a relatively large extent in ML schemes. The NRA highlights that most of these schemes are organized domestically, and usually involve relatively simple corporate structures. The authorities are well aware of the risk of misuse of legal persons by organized crime groups, but less so with respect to their misuse in other circumstances, although there are exceptions; the GdF in particular has a good understanding of the risk of misuse in the context of tax offenses.

36. Basic information on legal persons is readily available. Information on beneficial ownership is generally accessible by competent authorities albeit to a lesser extent than basic information, and not consistent in terms of reliability. Although the authorities have usually been able to identify the ultimate beneficial owner, the process could be improved, including by strengthening due diligence by notaries.

37. Foreign legal arrangements clearly pose a growing threat. Italian trustees increasingly provide trust services under other jurisdictions’ legislation, including for domestic ML schemes. Domestic legal arrangements do not, however, appear to pose a significant ML or TF risk.

38. Stronger enforcement of existing obligations would contribute to dissuading further the misuse of legal persons. Sanctions for failure to comply with the identification requirements are available but are not used to their full extent.

International Cooperation (Chapter 8—IO.2; R.36–40)

39. Italy has a sound legal framework for international cooperation as well as a network of bilateral and multilateral agreements to facilitate cooperation. According to the feedback received from many countries, the authorities provide constructive and timely information or assistance when requested, including evidence, financial intelligence, and supervisory information related to ML, TF, or associated predicate offenses. They also assist with requests to locate and extradite criminals and to identify, freeze, seize, and confiscate assets. The lack of criminalization (until December 31, 2014) of self-laundering, and delays in referring requests to the competent authority have undermined the scope and level of the assistance requested and/or provided by Italy. However, the recent criminalization of self-laundering should have a positive effect on international cooperation. More comprehensive statistics and the introduction of a case management system would better allow Italy to gauge its performance on international cooperation.

Priority Actions

  • LEAs should place more efforts on pursuing ML investigations and prosecutions that focus on risks associated with self-laundering, standalone money laundering, and foreign predicate offenses, and the abuse of legal persons. Sanctions need to be strengthened.

  • The UIF should be authorized to access law enforcement information, and additional administrative databases (e.g., real estate), and to disseminate analysis beyond DIA and GdF to other relevant LEAs and agencies, and more selective in its disseminations. The GDF and DIA should in turn provide better feedback to the UIF.

  • A national coordination mechanism amongst Italian LEAs and customs should be established to identify travel routes, flights, ships, and concealment methods that are considered highly used by cash couriers. Customs should enhance its activities in targeting proceeds of crime, including tax offenses, transported by cash couriers and share suspicious cases with the UIF.

  • More granular statistics should be collected and maintained on financial investigations and international cooperation in order to be better able to measure performance.

  • Regulatory and supervisory authorities are recommended to:

    • Work with the financial sector and DNFBPs to improve the understanding and implementation of requirements to identify beneficial owners.

    • Work closely with the financial sector to help improve the latter’s understanding of the typologies of tax crimes, and the reporting of related suspicious transactions.

    • Issue secondary legislation or encourage the development of enforceable guidance to ensure coverage of all the DNFBP sectors, and engage in an outreach.

    • Financial sector supervisors and the GdF should improve supervisory tools, the inputs for which should include good quality and consistent data on the inherent risks to which entities/persons are exposed, and the type of risk management practices they have in place. Sanctions for noncompliance need to be strengthened.

    • The OAM should strengthen cooperation with home country supervisors of PI agents who operate in Italy under an EU passport.

Effectiveness and Technical Compliance Ratings

Effectiveness Ratings

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Technical Compliance Ratings

AML/CFT Policies and Coordination

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Money Laundering and Confiscation

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Terrorist Financing and Financing of Proliferation

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Preventive Measures

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Transparency and Beneficial Ownership of Legal Persons and Arrangements

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Powers and Responsibilities of Competent Authorities and other Institutional Measures

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International Cooperation

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Italy: Detailed Assessment Report on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism
Author: International Monetary Fund. Legal Dept.