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World Money Laundering Report

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.

The stories of people using genuine documents with false details are legion. But this one has a twist, as they say in TV land.

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." In addition to 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.

Well, you can!

Here's how.

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.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has today announced that it has made prohibition orders against a former Goldman Sachs director and plans to make orders against three other persons as a result of their involvement in the 1MDB scandal.

We would love to know more about this: an individual apparently in France, wants to raise GBP60,000 to hire two developers to produce software that he hopes he will be able to sell to banks .

Updated

Continuing World Money Laundering Report's Analysis of the USA's review of 2016 for its 2017 International Narcotics Control Report. In this Part: selected Country Notes. Comment and commentary, not simply reportage.

IN THIS PART: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria.

For all articles in this series, see US-INCR2017

Every year, on 1 March, the US Department of State presents to Congress its annual International Narcotics Control Report. In two volumes, one relates to drugs and related products and the other to money laundering and financial crimes, it provides an analysis of its reviews in 2016. It is largely free from politics, despite its source, being a factual analysis of legislation and enforcement in many countries, and is a valuable indicator of risk for Financial Crime Risk Officers. Here are some of the things World Money Laundering Report has found especially interesting in the 2017 report, including a shameful omission.

For all articles in this series, see US-INCR2017

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