South Korea will introduce an artificial intelligence (AI) based system to detect financial crimes and enhance its contribution to global efforts to combat money laundering and terrorism financing according to the country’s financial intelligence chief.

Commissioner of the Korea Financial Intelligence Unit (KOFIU), Yoo Kwang-yeol, said the unit will upgrade its systems to store and analyse information on millions of financial transactions to better separate suspicious transactions from normal ones.

Benchmarking exercise

“We are considering [using] artificial intelligence technology to improve the current intelligence system by benchmarking advanced systems in countries like Australia and Canada,” Yoo said in an interview with The Korea Herald. Several KOFIU experts visited Australia earlier this year to learn from the financial intelligence system there he added.

Trade focus

KOFIU currently has 64 financial intelligence experts while the number of suspicious transactions is rising and money laundering techniques are becoming more sophisticated according to Yoo.

“Financial crimes in the disguise of fintech [financial technology] and global trade are on the rise,” he said.

The annual figure for suspicious transactions identified by KOFIU rose from 620,000 in 2015 to 800,000 in 2016, an increase Yoo reckons is the product of a more complex economy.