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Financial Crime News

HM would not be amused. The UK Treasury, which is increasingly given to adopting American terminology, recently issued an "advisory" relating to jurisdictions with deficiencies in their counter-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regimes. Hilariously, it was identified as a possible scam by the Thunderbird e-mail client.

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Wherever you are in the world, the so-called Nigerian Scam is alive and well and yesterday's notice from the USA's Internal Revenue Service is the release that will launch a thousand scams - and probably many, many more. It's so serious that the subject line in the e-mail from the IRS raised spam / scam alerts in the Vortex Centrum monitoring system, which can't be good.

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The website for FxUnited (FxUnitedGlobal.com) optimistically says "copyright 2006 to 2020." On its website, it links to a company registration certificate which shows that the company, United Global Holdings Limited was registered in New Zealand under number 5247841 in 2014 and has, since, been removed. But all is not as it seems and the investigation into the huge scam in Malaysia is only one aspect of this case as our own investigations reveal.

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The British government has announced the introduction of software to "detect terrorist content" on "any online platform." According to a statement issued yesterday "Tests have shown this new tool can automatically detect 94% of Da'esh propaganda with 99.995% accuracy. " That's amazing - and one has to ask how such figures can be quantified and proved. But there is good news: while large platforms have developed their own tech, smaller companies will be able to use that developed by the British government and ASI Data Science.

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A very funny story in today's South China Morning Post reminds me of the many hilarious tales of my Hong Kong Police mates about vice raids. The anonymous tourist who bemoans his fate in the article is an example of what happens if you think that being a foreigner absolves you from the important action of switching on your brain and learning at least something about what you are getting yourself into, says Nigel Morris-Cotterill

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The sentencing to three years of those involved in a case involving bank loans to a company that then defaulted gives some indication as to why Vijay Mallya is so reluctant to return to India from his UK hideaway.

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courtesy Australian Federal Police - arrest 201612 Take a moment to slow down so you can understand the scale of this: the Australian Federal Police have seized a shipment of cocaine that is 1,100 kilos.

Let's put that into perspective: bags of sugar come in 500 or 1,000 gramme packs. Imagine walking home from the supermarket carrying ten big bags.

Now imagine trying to get 110 times that past customs on the way out of a country, then on the way into another and to avoid detection at various way points in between. A diverse and difficult to identity group very nearly managed it.

 

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When we found an advertisement for illegal downloads of Sun Tzu and the Art of Litigation, we wrote to everyone that public records showed as connected to the issue or hosting of the domain. We found, again, that Cloudflare was at the heart of the illegal operation and therefore being paid to provide services to criminals who may be generating profits for organised crime or for material support for terrorists. FCROs must consider the business practices and risk management models of their customers because, by definition, banks are receiving, harbouring and distributing the proceeds of criminal conduct received via those companies.

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Just last weekend, one of our people received a call late at night. An Indian voice asked him for details of his credit card and for his security question. That call was genuine, from his bank's fraud department, but for an estimated 15,000 US taxpayers, the department calling was all about committing not preventing fraud.

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The European Commission (EC) has decided that the European Union (EU) system of Directives isn't working when it comes to money laundering and terrorist financing. They are right. What's taken them so long to work it out? The question is this: have the identified the correct matters and will they get it right this time?

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"Banks will have clearer guidance on how to best manage risks related to money laundering and the financing of terrorism...in correspondent banking," says the Bank of International Settlements' Basel Committee.

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Artur Samarin is a name that will (or should) live on in the annals of infamy as someone who simply sidestepped all government and other identity checks to move to and openly live in the USA for four years.

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The USA's Securities and Investment Commission pays a share of fines that it receives to those who blow the whistle and a financial penalty results. In August, the second largest award made so far brought the total payout to more than USD100 million.

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The State Bank of Pakistan has long listed, in a schedule to anti-terrorist legislation, a number of proscribed groups. On 25 September 2016, a Sunday, the first day of the working week in Pakistan, it issued a notice to banks (but only banks) instructing them to freeze the assets of more than 2,000 named persons, individuals and entities, which it says are directly linked to the proscribed groups.

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On or about 2 May, Indian businessman Vijay Mallya left India for the UK to spend more time with his family. Meanwhile, investigations into his financial dealings have continued and, in late April, Indian authorities issued a warrant for his arrest and revoked his passport. He is not, however, stateless: a passport is a document evidencing the right to travel and its revocation does not affect his Indian citizenship. Where do such cases leave financial institutions?

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