Poland: network of Indian and Pakistani nationals smuggling people to Europe, in particular Poland: FATF

A network of Indian and Pakistani nationals are involved in human trafficking to Poland, according to the latest report from the Financial Action Task Force on Illegal Migrants. Money collected for human trafficking is transferred through hawala channels and the proceeds are laundered with the help of legitimate businesses such as shops, travel agencies or transport companies, according to the 77-page report on the “risks of money laundering and terrorist financing linked to the smuggling of migrants”. Poland experienced a huge influx of Ukrainian refugees following the Russian invasion.

The report cites a case study by the Polish Inspector General of Financial Reporting. “Among the companies of interest are Polish limited liability companies whose boards of directors are made up of Indian and Pakistani citizens, which carry out foreign exchange transactions through the Bureau de Change. Indian citizens have been involved in international money laundering of the proceeds of crimes committed in other European countries. The criminal group organizing and executing the smuggling of illegal immigrants from South Asia to Europe has been identified,” the report said.

The FATF is a global watchdog for money laundering and terrorist financing. The intergovernmental body sets international standards to prevent illegal activities and the financing of terrorism. “Funds from criminal activities were transferred via bank accounts held in another European country and in Poland. Bank accounts held in the name of companies whose presidents were Indian and Pakistani citizens were credited with funds from another European country, which were then converted via an online currency exchange to end up in bank accounts held in Asian countries,” the report said.

Many countries “do not consider migrant smuggling to be a high-risk crime for money laundering and very few investigations or prosecutions are initiated or concluded,” the report said. “In recent years, smugglers have begun to make extensive use of social media and encrypted digital communication services in their recruitment and coordination operations,” the report said.

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