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New York

The city of New York has issued civil proceedings against five of the largest oil companies alleging that they are responsible for climate change and passing the resulting costs onto local governments. Others are joining in with California being the latest to sign up.

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The USA bangs on about how good its counter-money laundering laws are (they aren't) and New York State attacks foreign banks for failures on its soil (whilst ignoring breaches by US headquartered banks). Yet by its own admission (albeit unthinking), New York is far behind good practice in relation to company registrations. In fact, it's a secrecy jurisdiction that also facilitates confusion as to corporate identity and allows the hiding of both legal and beneficial ownership which benefits money laundering and terrorist financing.

In an excellent, and enterprising, initiative, New York has used some USD58 million of the vast fines and penalties it has applied to foreign banks to help in an innovative crime prevention scheme aimed at young people who, in the absence of help, are more likely to rob banks than to work in them.

Just as Uber, etc., drivers are often uninsured and unlicensed, so are those who let out apartments via on-line rental services. New York has long had very strict rules about short term lets but the laws had little or no bite to them. But NY Governor Andrew Cuomo has just approved a law that gives the law teeth on an escalating scale. airbnb and similar sites don't like it.

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After New York copied the Zero Tolerance initiative originated by Cleveland Police in the UK, the Big Apple saw the blight of widespread crime falling away. With all due respect to economists who claim that demographic and social changes were responsible, there is no doubt that strong policing made a difference.

So it's a surprise to learn that the city now appears to be turning its back on such methods to focus on large scale crime instead.

Is it because that's where the money is?

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