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World Money Laundering Report

While there is global fascination with the case against Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak, who has been charged with offences that, at present, do not include money laundering, the world is seeing an unprecedented range of cases brought against politicians and those close to them. Has the tide turned and are politicians, previously considered largely untouchable, now legitimate targets?

There is a wonderful, and completely fictitious, meme going around Malaysia - Najib asks Anwar if he has any advice for being in jail. Anwar answers "don't drop the soap." Aside from being hilarious, in a country where political comment has for some years ended up with people being arrested, there is the irony that Najib is attempting to run the defence that charges against him are politically motivated - exactly the failed defence that put Anwar in jail. Unlike Anwar, Najib is being vocal in denying any wrongdoing which is also ironic because almost no one in the country wanted Anwar charged, much less convicted.

The news that judges, in London, have been charged with fraud is just part of a much larger problem. Alongside them are solicitors. The Metropolitan Police have been investigating what they describe as a "complex fraud team investigation." The case started after a court clerk reported suspicions of suspicious claims for state-funded payments under the Legal Aid Scheme. However, legal aid fraud has been a long-running problem in the legal system in England and Wales with criminal and immigration practitioners being most commonly reported.

Who remembers the dark web, that place where, if you could work out how to access it, you could buy false identification, illicit drugs (or licit drugs on an illicit basis) and even rent a hit man? Welcome, charlselwatson@gmail.com, not only don't you use the dark web, you even promote your services via a public bulletin board.

If there's one thing more certain in Formula One than that there will be in-fighting between the teams, it's that every few years some kind of financial scandal will engulf at least some aspect of the sport. And if there's an allegation of cheating, there's always an Italian aspect to it. Put the two things together and you get the worst-kept secret in the sport, but one that could not be openly told because of the way the investigation is conducted: the Italian authorities have been investigating financial affairs connected to the Italian Grand Prix at Monza for more than five years.

CommBank troubles with AUSTRAC are so bad that, in a statement on the bank's website, it doesn't even get the FIU's name consistently right.

And as for shareholders, the statement is hardly worth the paper it isn't written on.

The Solicitors' Regulatory Authority which regulates solicitors in England and Wales has begun proceedings against a partner of one of the bluest of blue chip firms in London alleging that he failed to undertake adequate due diligence for money laundering risk purposes when taking on two young women as clients. To be clear: this is a prosecution by the Solicitors' Regulatory Authority, not the police. It is a criminal prosecution for failing to comply with the Money Laundering Regulations. This is big stuff.

The case is building against former Prime Minister Najib and so far the focus is on money laundering. But there is another, easier to prove and much faster and much cheaper way to take action against both Najib and his wife, Rosmah and although there's an implied abuse of power, there's no need to prove it, no need to prove money laundering, no need to prove that money was stolen from 1MDB or elsewhere. There is a quick, simple, brutal tool at the government's disposal that might enable the near-immediate recovery of more than three million ringgit.

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