24 May 2022
Milan Flimel studied Economic Geography at the University of Utrecht and started working as a KYC (Know Your Client) Analyst at ABN AMRO almost two years ago. “It was a career change that turned out well for me. I am analytical and like to find out exactly how things work, which is what makes this job so enjoyable. By asking questions, requesting data and making connections, the story behind the file gradually unfolds. Sometimes we have to make new agreements with customers, and sometimes we call on the government. And in many cases there is nothing wrong and we can conclude the case with peace of mind.”
“Criminal money flows are disruptive to society, and as a bank we obviously don’t want to participate in this. The social responsibility we bear as a bank to track down criminal cash flows emphasises the importance of my work. It puts me in a role where I try to assess the behaviour of account holders in terms of legitimacy. After all, we all agree that money laundering is not permissible. But what do you do when a parent misuses his son's savings account to siphon off money during a custody battle? These kinds of activities can also be socially disruptive.”
“Cryptocurrencies are starting to play an increasingly important role in the KYC domain. Because this market is complex and unregulated, it’s possible for criminals to make large cash movements on the blockchain without this being immediately visible to a bank. The innovations follow in rapid succession, which makes it important for banks to keep up with these developments. Financial activities that are carried out and registered decentrally on the blockchain are called Decentralised Finance (DeFi). One form of DeFi are the so-called Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), in which a party raises capital by launching a cryptocurrency. Nothing wrong with that, but you have to understand how it works.
Another example of the possibilities offered by blockchain technology is a Non-Fungible Token (NFT). This is a kind of proof of ownership of a unique digital item registered on a blockchain. For example, the very first tweet by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey was auctioned off as an NFT for over $2.9 million. The value of an NFT is difficult to determine objectively, as is the case with art. Which is why this technology is also extremely well suited to money laundering. After all, how can someone assess whether the huge sums received for a random digital artwork don’t actually relate to a criminal cash flow? With my interest and knowledge of crypto and Decentralised Finance, I help my colleagues to unravel this black box. Very interesting!”
“Although I've only been working at ABN AMRO for a relatively short time, Detecting Financial Crime has opened all kinds of doors for me to develop myself further. I can attend training sessions and courses on almost every conceivable banking topic and I am given the opportunity to keep abreast of the latest developments. The fun thing is that I will soon also be giving training to other analysts about cryptocurrencies and the money-laundering risks that lie hidden in this world. That way, I can then contribute to the knowledge development of my colleagues.”