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D2.2: Set of use cases and scenarios

Tools for Anti Money Laundering  Title:
 Case study: the City PA


The various components of identity

There are many aspects that contribute towards the identity of a person. In particular, the following four components of identity can be considered: 

  1. Socio-demographic characteristics – Includes characteristics such as gender, age, ethnic group, household size, or employment status. It is based on the premise that demographic groups are relatively homogenous and lends itself easily to quantification, measurement and classification. Additionally, it is difficult to falsify unless a false identity is being used. However, profiling on the basis of socio-demographic characteristics leads to emphasis on the “usual” suspects and may be discriminatory against minority groups in society; indeed profiling has a distinct pejorative notion in North America for this reason.

  2. Benefit sought - The benefits desired from pursuing certain behaviour, including the underlying motivation. It focuses on common values and attitudes across cultural groups. It may be extremely difficult to observe and is not suitable to assess individual, rather than group, behaviour.

  3. Lifestyle adopted - Focusing on options made regarding travel patterns, or the type of goods and services acquired, for instance. This factor potentially offers the most insight regarding how the money is acquired and spent.

  4. Behaviour exhibited – In relation to the financial institution. That is, based on data resulting from actions of the account holders, such as length of relationship with the bank, modes of payment and shopping preferences, product ownership, and contributions to political, religious, and charitable groups. An underlying assumption prevails that past or current behaviour offers the best predictor of future behaviour. It is very useful in anti-money laundering but easy to falsify and often difficult to measure.


The ability to construct a profile based on one or more of these four aspects, however, is subject to the technical limitations of integrating different data bases and the legal frameworks aimed at protecting the privacy rights of individuals. Additionally, it is crucial to see through the “noise” created by money launderers with the purpose of disguising the origin of the funds – for instance, the division of the sum to be processed in small amounts, or the use of intermediaries who intervene in parts of the process and who tend to change frequently. 

The next section exercises a case recently discussed in the British press to illustrate how the four components discussed above contributed to the development of the subject’s identity as a money launderer. 



Tools for Anti Money Laundering  fidis-wp2-del2.2.Cases_stories_and_Scenario_04.sxw  Case study: the City PA
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