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World Money Laundering Report

The 1 Malaysia Development Fund, which recently received a 17m cash injection from China, despite frequent protestations that there are no money issues, is rapidly turning into a rich income stream for regulators or the governments onto which it passes its profits. After being ordered to pay a substantial penalty in Singapore, RBS Coutts has now been ordered to stump up a lot of Swiss Francs by the authorities there.

On 30 January 2017, the NYDFS superintendent, Maria Vullo, announced that Deutsche Bank would pay a fine of USD425 million for failures in counter-money laundering systems and controls, in an investigation closely linked with a similar investigation into the same facts by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority. What the NYDFS found is disturbing.

It has long been a bone of contention in London that, in particular, US, Japanese and German banks set up local systems to comply with their head office measures, even where those fall short of requirements in the UK. In the case of US and Japanese banks, it's been a matter of arrogance. In the case of German banks, it started off as arrogance but that was complicated by the creation of "passported institutions" where a number of financial institutions have argued that home regulation trumps UK law and regulation. The FCA has had enough of that nonsense and has issued its biggest fine to date for money laundering control failures.

German bank, Deutsche Bank has reportedly closed its correspondent relationships with National Bank of Kenya (NBK), a commercial bank. There are allegations of mismanagement and accounting fraud, plus suspicions of money laundering. Several members of the senior management team have left in recent weeks, not entirely voluntarily.

Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is one of those rare beasts, an FIU with teeth. It has strong investigative powers and strong powers to freeze assets. Its officers even have US law-enforcement blousons with EFCC in big letters on the back which they wear during televised raids. Increasingly, the rich and powerful are coming into range and they don't like it. But the EFCC is not backing off. In fact, it's increasing its activity.

As Yahya Jammeh flies out of The Gambia in an chartered aircraft, the poverty-stricken nation looks forward to an improving economy and a a fairer division of the country's wealth. While no one is suggesting Abacha levels of money have been expatriated, there will be those who will want to ensure that there has not been large-scale plunder. But will a deal with the UN, the The United Nations, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) given him and his family and associates a free pass? Not entirely and FCROs should be on the lookout for money, including that moving in a direction that might not be expected.

Ontario Oil and Gas Limited (sometimes reported as "Ontario Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited"), a Nigerian company, is the vehicle by which Mrs Adaoha UGO-NNADI and Walter WAGBATSOMA committed fuel subsidy fraud in Nigeria. The pair, and their company, have been convicted. Then things started to go weird. One of them is one of 16 people charged with various offences including money laundering in an entirely unrelated case.

No article, just a giggle. Don't click for more.

AUSTRAC has issued a reminder to all businesses regulated for counter-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing purposes that annual reports are now due.

Optimumbank (yes, it is all one word) is based in Plantation, Florida. It's on the watchlist of both state regulator the Florida Office of Financial Regulation and the USA's Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Plan B for failing US banks that protects itself (and taxpayer's money) by an increasingly tight system of national regulation. Its actions include monitoring capital adequacy (about which it often has justifiable hissy fit with the "mom and pop" banks that seem to forget they owe multiple regulatory duties) and, because it is a relatively measurable form of compliance monitoring, failures to comply with money laundering laws. Optimum bank has come to FDIC's notice before the action apparently concluded in November 2016.

A notice from the central bank of the Philippines (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, "BSP") has told operators of pawnshops that the must get their house in order with amendments to the relevant regulations.

42 year old Jens Fred Sturzenegger was manager of the Singapore branch of Falcon Private Bank, closed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore last year. It is alleged that he had direct involvement of the movement of more than USD1,200 million of money related to the 1 Malaysia Development Board (1MDB) accounts connected to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib.

Josephine Kabura, the woman at the centre of the National Youth Service scandal in Kenya, is a hairdresser although her salon has been locked up for several months. Exactly how does an apparently ordinary person end up right in the middle of a scheme to extract GBP6.3million from a government department?

The prosecution of senior staff at Kenya's Family Bank ( see story ) is just part of a knot that investigators are slowly unravelling and finding out things that there are many in government would rather not be found out. So would several banks.

It is a mark of the integrity of a country as to how it deals with counter-money laundering laws. Politicians who consistently vote to exclude measures that catch bribery and corruption as predicate crimes for money laundering must automatically render the whole country as suspicious, applying the argument that fish rots from the head. Kenya was one of a number of countries that suffered this problem with leaders being constantly frustrated by other members of government. A compromise Act was eventually passed. Now it's bearing fruit. And the role of the targets will ricochet around the world.

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