In order to maintain the order which is necessary for social life, certain acts have been crimininalized by laws and sanctions have been imposed on those acts.
Human beings need certain goods and services to continue their life and meet their social and cultural needs. Acquiring these goods and services in accordance with the rules stipulated by law is one of the basic requirements of social life.
Modern law systems not only prohibit meeting those needs from acts involving crime but also outlaw conducting any acts in relation to the proceeds derived from crime to conceal its illegitimate source and give the impression that it has been acquired through a legitimate way, i.e laundering proceeds of crime1 .
The function of financial intelligence units (FIU) operating in many countries in today’s world is to fight against laundering proceeds of crime.
In Turkey, this fight is essentially conducted by Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK), which is a main service unit of Ministry of Finance and is directly attached to Ministry of Finance.
In this sense, the main function of MASAK is to carry out researches and sectoral studies regarding the developments in the field of laundering proceeds of crime and the methods for preventing and revealing laundering offence, to develop measures, to gather data, to analyze and evaluate the gathered data, to make investigations and examinations or to have investigation or examinations made and to convey the obtained information and results to relevant authorities.
In order to execute the abovementioned functions, MASAK contributes to establishing policies, develops implementation strategies, prepares drafts of laws, bylaws and regulations in accordance with the determined policies, makes other necessary arrangements regarding implementation, ensures coordination among relevant institutions and organizations, exchanges views and information.
In Turkey, the fight against laundering proceeds of crime acquired a legal identity by Law no. 4208 enacted in 1996 and this Law served as the legal basis of this fight until the enactment of Law no. 5549.
However, as the methods for combating money laundering have improved on an international level and as international economic and financial relationships have extremely enhanced with respect to previous periods, a need for a new legal arrangement regarding prevention of money laundering has occurred in Turkey.
Law No. 5549 on Prevention of Laundering Proceeds of Crime drawn up to meet this need has entered into force on 18.10.2006, and gathering data, receiving, analyzing and evaluating suspicious transaction reports within the scope of Terrorist Financing have also been included among the duties of MASAK by this Law.
Financial crimes investigation Board whose target is to contribute to an effective economy and a decent society by combating laundering proceeds of crime has increased its capacity to a great extent by making use of technology to reach its target and will sustain increasing its capacity and trying to do its best for duly carrying out its functions.
Financial Crimes Investigation Board
1 1 According to Turkish Penal Code a person who transfers abroad the proceeds obtained from an offence requiring a minimum penalty of six months or more imprisonment, or processes such proceeds in various ways in order to conceal the illicit source of such proceeds or to give the impression that they have been legitimately acquired shall be sentenced to imprisonment from three years up to seven years and a judicial fine up to twenty thousand days.
A person who, without participating in the commitment of the offence mentioned in paragraph (1), purchases, acquires, possesses or uses the proceeds which is the subject of that offence knowing the nature of the proceeds shall be sentenced to imprisonment from two years up to five years (TPC / Art. 282)