In 2008, the USA removed North Korea from its list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. But as relations between KIM Jong Un and the rest of the world reach worrying levels of tension, the USA is getting ever closer to putting it back on the list. What does it mean and why are Malaysian banks exposed to a particularly high level of risk?
Yesterday, Theresa May, the UK's Prime Minister, took pretty much everyone by surprise by announcing that she was calling a "snap election." This means that, today, Parliament will vote for its own dissolution (not, of course, abolition - the two are entirely different) and that this Parliament will end on 3rd May, assuming a two-thirds majority vote in favour. After that date, no parliamentary business, which includes passing of primary and secondary legislation, can occur until the new session. Amongst the measures affected are those relating to EU driven counter-money laundering law and regulation, unless a massively truncated system can, in some way, be applied. Nigel Morris-Cotterill takes us into the world of Washing Up and the importance of lost debate.
Chaudhry NISAR Ali Khan, Pakistan's interior minister, gets a bad press and, like all politicians, some of it is justified. But he's got a horrible job: balancing religious interests, north and south, political interests in various regions, the continued problems resulting from partition first after separation from India and then after Bangladesh voted for independence and huge border problems on almost all sides. His country is a major source and transit country for heroin and other drugs. And there are millions of "Pakistanis" living and working overseas who own political allegiance to the country, but economic and familial allegiance to Bangladesh, or religious allegiance to tribal groups with their own interpretation of Islam. If that's not bad enough, he doesn't even know who's in the country, as he explained this weekend. But he's determined to correct that. And he has a lesson for the EU about migrants.
In 2016, the USA's Federal Bureau of Investigations, issued a statement in Manila: a surge in cases of trafficking of children from the Philippines, and within the Philippines, for the purposes of sexual exploitation by Americans was now a focus of the long-running Operation Cross Country. For the first time, the team had operatedm in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies, its campaign outside US borders in Cambodia, Thailand and the Philippines. In four days, 82 minors were rescued and 239 traffickers and associates were arrested. See our 2012 story
In the past 25 years or so, the level of professionalism in the solicitors branch has fallen dramatically as thieves, vagabonds, chancers and businessmen, "right-on" campaigners and the barely literate have taken over the once proud profession. But there have, generally, been beacons that remind us what the Profession shoulda, coulda, woulda become if the correct decisions had been made by government and the self-regulatory bodies that control it. One of those has always been Clyde & Co. How, then, has this (in City terms) small, highly professional outfit, ended up before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and the firm, and three partners, being fined? And what lessons are there for other law firms? (updated)
Yes, yes, yes, we all know: HSBC is officially a UK bank except we all know it isn't. Not really. Yes, it has a big office in London and because of Stock Market rules its big bosses all have desks there but in truth, HSBC is still what it says on the tin. Even the Shanghai bit is coming back into use. So when HSBC in Hong Kong announced that it is starting to collect more detailed Know Your Customer information, it's good to take notice. And one reason it's good to take notice is that almost every other bank in the world is going to have to follow the HSBC lead as Compliance/Risk Management decisions inform business direction. And if they don't, they face appearing on a new OECD blacklist, an OFAC list and many more.
As actual and threatened famine spreads across Africa, aid schemes are struggling to get funding for relief. But that's only a part of the story. The real - and hidden problem - is where the famines are. That's a major risk for governments, aid agencies, charities and individual donors. Worse, the crisis is going to amplify existing problems.
There is good reason to shake heads. A year or so ago, the UK Treasury initiated a consultation in which it issued "A call for evidence to review the UK’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Financing of Terrorism (CFT) Supervisory Regime." Aside from the fact that, as a British body it really should get the English right and refer to counter-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing, it was all a bit lacking in balls. At least if the consultation was so afflicted, it's no surprise that the result is largely emasculated, too.
Of course, no one should evade tax. It is and always has been a tenet of tax law that declaring income and assets for tax is the responsibility of the taxpayer. But the OECD has long wanted to gain xray vision into bank accounts and with its "Automatic Exchange of Information" project, every bank account in the world will be subject to "automatic" inspection by "participating jurisdictions." Watch out for blacklists of jurisdictions that argue that there are local legal obstacles to free access to account information.
Did you know that you can buy WMLR back issues starting with issue 1 (November 1999) in e-book format from Amazon.com or, even, read for free as a member of Amazon Prime and various other schemes? Better yet, you can read it on your PC, phone, tablet or, of course, Kindle.
New legislation introduced into New Zealand's parliament yesterday will plug some surprising holes in the country's counter-money laundering laws. But it's important to recognise that New Zealand has some special problems that, in essence, mean that this developed economy should be measured against developing economies when regulatory, etc. rules are considered, says Nigel Morris-Cotterill. The Bill contains one major foul-up, he says.