Key Findings of AML 2023

Blog / Key Findings of AML 2023

A melding of technical developments and regulatory faults shook the global financial and political landscapes in 2023. While technical advancements brought up new opportunities for growth, the lack of adequate legislative frameworks created the ideal ground for sophisticated criminal activity. The insufficiency of comprehensive regulations highlighted the need for the worldwide financial community to improve its capabilities in combating complex and high-value money laundering operations. This turning point occurrence highlighted the need for global regulators to adapt and innovate quickly. Recognizing the increasing issues, the financial sector was under pressure in 2023 to strengthen regulatory frameworks and create resilience against dynamic pressures.

AML updates in 2023


In the continually shifting financial world of 2023, a constant recalibration of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) legislation is required, especially throughout the European Union (EU). The EU's complete AML package for 2023 introduces a number of new challenges, focusing on important areas such as data protection, cryptocurrency regulation, reporting mechanisms, and financial sanctions.   

Establishing the Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA), which has been scheduled to start operations in 2024, is a critical milestone within this framework. The primary purpose of AMLA is to improve and harmonize supervision within the EU. At the same time, the Sixth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (6AMLD) has been revised, featuring periodic national risk assessments and strengthened whistleblower rights.

Integral to the EU's strategic approach is the harmonization of conduct rules for financial institutions and the regulation of crypto assets. The Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) framework and Transfer of Funds Regulation (TFR) are critical in dealing with cryptocurrencies' issues, notably stablecoin regulation and anonymity risks.

The United Kingdom aligns itself with EU standards through the second Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill. This law focuses on investigative powers, limited partnership reforms, and regulatory authorities for confiscating crypto assets.

United States

The journey of AML rules in the United States continues to evolve. The FinCEN Final Rule, which goes into effect on January 1, 2024, emphasizes the significance of reporting beneficial ownership information (BOI) for both "reporting companies" and "beneficial owners." In the meantime, the National Illicit Finance Strategy aims to strengthen the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) framework by addressing vulnerabilities, improving law enforcement capacities, and limiting risks connected with virtual assets. The Responsible Financial Innovation Act (RFIA), another significant legislative attempt in the United States, is intended to establish a regulatory framework for digital assets. The principal regulator in this arena is the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Detailed guidance to learn AML comppliance in the US


The Asia-Pacific had seen significant AML regulation developments in 2023. Singapore implemented the National Strategy for Countering Terrorist Financing, led by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which prioritizes risk identification, law enforcement, and inter-agency collaboration. The Collaborative Sharing of ML/TF Information & Cases (COSMIC) platform is expected to enhance information sharing by focusing on issues such as shell company abuse and illicit trade money.

Hong Kong, through the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), promoted AML utilization of technology, including programs such as the Commercial Data Interchange (CDI). China increased its focus on money laundering with a three-year action plan emphasizing collaboration, risk prevention, AML training, and enhanced customer due diligence (CDD) standards.

Following a Financial Action Task Force (FATF) assessment, Japan improves risk assessment and supports fintech use for more effective AML/CTF safeguards, especially in cryptocurrency rules. Australia is working to improve the effectiveness of its AML/CTF framework, with plans to expand reporting requirements, establish a beneficial ownership registry, and coordinate with policies with international norms. These legal changes demonstrate the region's dedication to combating financial crime through technological breakthroughs and cooperation structures.

Japan recognizes Bitcoin and other virtual assets as legitimate property under the Payment Services Act (PSA)


Sanction Scanner has gathered valuable insights on how confident participants in their understanding of AML regulations and compliance measures were that apply to their industry from a diverse pool of respondents, comprising over 400 individuals from more than 50 countries and various industries for 2023-2024 Financial Crime and Compliance Report. The answers collected were demonstrated in the graphic below.


The State of AI in 2023

The combination of modern technologies, which includes Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), transformed the landscape of AML efforts in 2023.  Automation solutions powered by AI and ML algorithms have transformed AML, improving detection and accuracy by rapidly identifying suspicious behaviors and examining huge financial data volumes. This advancement increased efficiency, allowing compliance officers to focus on higher-value duties, decreasing false positives, and ensuring adaptability to changing regulatory needs. AML technologies powered by technology enabled professionals to deliver important insights and precision while supplementing the human experience. 

Top Fraud Trends of 2023

Financial criminals have become adept at adapting to new technologies and exploiting financial system flaws. The year 2023 unfolds against a backdrop of greater complexity in fraudulent activities, necessitating ongoing attention and effective countermeasures to emerging dangers.

  • Increase in Fraud Cases: The National Fraud Database revealed a startling 14% increase, reaching 409,000 cases, a 12% increase over the pre-pandemic period.
  • Money Mule Activity: 68% of bank-related abuse instances involved intelligence indicating money mule activity, especially through social media recruitment of individuals aged 21 to 25.
  • Cybercrime Trends: Every 39 seconds, a hack occurred, stressing the necessity for ongoing attention. Ransomware was rising, email-based attacks accounted for 92% of malware infections, and 4.1 million websites were infected with malware.
  • Identity Theft Cases: Identity theft cases increased by 23% to 5.7 million complaints. Government Documents or Benefits Fraud is the most common type of identity theft, with an 84% increase in fraudulent identities.
  • Cyberattacks and Data Breaches: In the first three quarters of 2023, 767 data breaches were reported, compromising 692,097,913 records. Healthcare, education, financial services, government, and small enterprises were all vulnerable.

the most cryptocurrency-friendly nations globally,

What Happened with Crypto in 2023?

The cryptocurrency landscape, characterized by rapid growth and decentralization, is fraught with opportunities and risks. To combat illegal activity, governments worldwide are improving AML and Know Your Customer (KYC) legislation, ensuring the crypto industry's integrity.

EU AML Package: The European Union's AML Package introduces key legislative components:

  • Anti-money Laundering Regulation (AMLR)
  • 6th AML Directive (AMLD6)
  • AML Authority Regulation (AMLAR)

A strong emphasis on the crypto sector includes mandates for Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) to implement AML/KYC procedures, prohibit anonymous accounts, set crypto transfer thresholds, and adhere to the Travel Rule.

US Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA): VASPs must identify Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs), analyze risk profiles, and update client information on a regular basis.

UK Crypto Regulations: The UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) enforces requirements such as the Travel Rule, which ensures senderciary information is relayed for transactions above 1000 Euros, in accordance with the EU's 6th AML Directive.

2023's 10 Common Cryptocurrency Scams

  • Bitcoin Investment Schemes
  • Rug Pull Scams
  • Romance Scams
  • Phishing Scams
  • Man-in-the-Middle Attacks
  • Social Media Cryptocurrency Giveaway Scams
  • Ponzi Schemes
  • Fake Cryptocurrency Exchanges
  • Employment Scams
  • Flash Loan Attacks

Final Words in Decoding 2023

The combined effects of technical advancement and regulatory loopholes resulted in significant disruptions in the worldwide financial and political environments in 2023. While technical improvements opened up new expansion opportunities, the lack of comprehensive laws created fertile ground for sophisticated criminal methods. These developments highlighted the need for the global financial community to improve its capabilities in combatting increasingly complex and high-value money laundering schemes. To confront the growing difficulties posed by these dynamic forces, regulatory frameworks must adapt and innovate.

5 Key Takeaways from 2023 by Sanction Scanner

  • Cryptos are a wild ride, but beware of the scams that hide.
  • Regulatory gaps, tech reshapes, AML fortified, no more escapes.
  • In 2023, AML rules took the stage, urging nations to engage.
  • Cyberstorm's might, keep your guard tight.
  • Innovate, regulate, and fortify the gate.
Sanction Scanner's 2023 Annual Report delves into the financial landscape, focusing on fraud, AML, and CFT.

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