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The former deputy treasurer for the City of Compton, California, has pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from his theft of more than USD3.7 million of city funds. His wife has pleaded guilty to money laundering.

ASIC has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia to wind up a land banking scheme known as the VKK Investments Unit Trust (VKK scheme), as well as the trustee and operator of the scheme, Gem Management Group Pty Ltd (Gem).

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The Federal Court of Australia has ordered the winding up of 18 companies associated with the Macro Group, all of which have Desiree Veronica Macpherson as a director.

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Recently, airbnb angered both "hosts" and "guests" by its decision to prevent the making or rejection of bookings on e.g. religious grounds. Then it started to upset "hosts" by delisting properties based on apparently arbitrary criteria. Next, it decided that, in some cities, it would not accept bookings for a property for more than 90 days each year. And within the past few days, a woman has been fined in California because airbnb has entered into an agreement with a California state department. All of this is in addition to long and complex agreements between "hosts" and "guests." The big question is ... how much control is so much control that it turns airbnb from broker to manager?

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Some years ago, payment system provider SWIFT launched KYC Registry, a membership-scheme which provided data which the company gathered about financial institutions and which provided at least comfort to those engaged in correspondent banking. The product was in competition with services from Banker's Almanac, now owned by software house Accuity. Swift says that the way its information is sourced has changed and now, within strict confines, the platform is regarded as "community driven." SWIFT say this means that the data should be open to the community. What, exactly, does that mean?

There's a lot of talk about KYC when accounts are opened but a general lack of concern over accounts once they are established. The director of a company in liquidation has pleaded guilty to a fraud that could only have taken place because someone wasn't paying enough attention.

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Scenario: a prospective customer walks into your office, shakes hands with you and sits down. You look at his clothes, his bag, even his shoes. You check his haircut, his facial hair, if he has any. You even sniff to see if he smells and, if so, of what. You check out his shoes. You listen to his voice, the accent, inflection, the tone. You analyse the skin on his fingers and palm when you shake hands. You look at his fingernails and, even the way that he sits. And you form a view. But did you know that, subconsciously, there is something else that has influenced you, from the moment you looked at him when he walked through the door? New research says there was.

Reports that Australian banks are going to co-operate on KYC information are welcome but fall far short of the ideal. Also, conceptually, it's been tried before, and failed. We know: we covered one such attempt in WMLR Vol 5 No 3 in November 2003.

If someone describes themselves as an "expert" or a "thought leader" in relation to, let's say, financial crime or FinTech or even on-line banking, ask them this - and don't give them time to look up the answer: "what's Q-Coin?*" And, is Second Life about to get a second chance as a potential money laundering vehicle?

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 Midland Bank Griffin Logo HSBC's takeover of Midland Bank was a nightmare of regulatory challenges. Now, 25 years after eventually being taken over, the last little bit of Midland identity is being removed.


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A hashtag referring to the expression "the law is an ass" has produced some very unpleasant and disturbing consequences.

A cautionary tale...

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When the most powerful anti-corruption body in a country as big and as corrupt as India tells banks to shape up and go back on dodgy deals to ensure recovery, the results may turn out to be shocking.