Archive for the ‘Anti-Money-Laundering Organizations’ Category

FATF moves meeting from Moscow

Monday, May 5th, 2014

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) announced its decision not to hold a planned meeting in Moscow in June due to the continuing Ukraine crisis.

A summit meeting of the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was to be held in Moscow in June, in part because the group’s current head is Vladimir Nechaev, chief of Russia’s anti-money laundering agency. However, on May 4, national anti-money laundering agencies belonging to FATF received a notice from the group saying the meeting would be held in Paris instead.

According to the announcement, “It became apparent that it would be difficult to ensure full attendance of FATF delegations at the scheduled plenary in Moscow but there was widespread support for the work of the FATF to continue uninterrupted”.

The meeting will now take place during the week of June 22 to 27 at the Paris conference center of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Republic Bank on Guyana and Belize blacklisting

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

A regional anti-money laundering body has called on Caribbean countries to “consider implementing counter measures to protect their financial systems from the ongoing money laundering and terrorist financing risks emanating from Belize and Guyana.”

The counter measures amount to a financial blacklisting of the countries. These means that all financial transactions between T&T and Guyana and Belize will be placed under much greater scrutiny. Also, wire transfers and other payments could be delayed or denied.

Republic Bank executive director, Nigel Baptiste, answered the questions on the impact of the counter measures on trade and payments between T&T and the affected countries: “These measures will undoubtedly negatively affect trade and payments between the countries as the enhanced monitoring will result in longer turnaround time, higher costs and possibly the refusal of accepting payments where information requirements are not met.

He said: “Where correspondent and other banks or parties restrict the types of business being done, this will negatively affect trade income and payments and may lead to investors withdrawing from Guyana and Belize.”

The virtual blacklisting of Belize and Guyana is a directive of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), an organisation comprising 29 jurisdictions in the Caribbean Basin region that have agreed to implement international standards on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Terrorist Financing.

Cayman joins OECD Convention on fighting Tax Evasion

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) /Council of Europe Convention on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters has been extended to the Cayman Islands. This will be effective as of January 1, 2014.

The convention on tax assistance provides for all possible forms of administrative co-operation between jurisdictions in the assessment and collection of taxes, in particular with a view to combating tax avoidance and evasion. This co-operation ranges from exchange of information, including automatic exchanges, to the recovery of foreign tax claims.

Currently, more than 50 jurisdictions adhere to this convention.

Swiss authorities report 1,500 money-laundering cases in 2012

Friday, May 24th, 2013

According to the annual report presented at the conference in Bern, Switzerland on May 14, Swiss authorities investigated several reports of terrorist financing among a high number of suspected money-laundering cases connected to banks last year.

The number involving terrorist financing rose to 15 in 2012, which is 5 more than in 2011, due to a single complex case of almost USD 8 million, according to an annual report issued by Swiss Money Laundering Reporting Office (MROS).

They were 1,585 suspected money-laundering cases that Swiss authorities disrupted in 2012, including 15 linked to terrorist financing. The past two years have seen an almost 50% increase in the number of cases compared with previous years.

Two-thirds of the cases were linked to banking, and more than 200 cases involved more than 100,000 Swiss francs (USD 104,000). The rest were mainly tied to payment services, fiduciary and asset managers.

Most of the cases were reported by a financial intermediary such as banks, credit card companies, casinos, and currency exchanges, or were based on newspaper reports or information from other third parties such as financial compliance databases.

Vatican and US sign Anti-Money-Laundering Deal

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

On May 7, Vatican took a step to make its finances more transparent, signing a deal with United States regulators. Under the signed document, each side will share information about financial transactions with a view to root out money laundering and other illicit dealings.

The deal announced by the Vatican marks the latest move by the world’s smallest state in response to international pressure to better police its finances. The efforts began in 2010 in the wake of an investigation by Italian prosecutors into whether the Vatican bank had violated Italy’s money-laundering laws.

Measures so far have included laws against money laundering and terrorist financing. This regulation helps bring to justice anyone who commits financial misdeeds on the territory of Vatican. Also, it suggests the creation of the watchdog called Financial Information Authority (FIA).

In accordance with the new agreement, the FIA and the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network will be able to share information about financial transactions in their respective territories.

It should be noted that the FIA is discussing similar agreements with about 20 other countries.

Guernsey establishes Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Division

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

As part of its recent drive to achieve operational efficiencies, the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC) has announced that it is to delegate its supervisory function to a newly-established department – an Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Division.

The creation of an AML Division will enable the GFSC to apply a Commission-wide risk-based approach to money laundering and financial crime surveillance, consistent with the revised international standards published by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

According to the Commission, licensees will benefit from more efficient on-site visits.

The cost-cutting exercise comes following a government-commissioned report from Ernst and Young, which presented recommendations on streamlining the regulator’s costly operations. There is to be no change in the Commission’s headcount as a result of the change, the Commission confirmed, only a restructuring.

Philippines avoids Money Laundering Blacklist

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

It was announced by the Philippines that it had avoided an international blacklist on money laundering and terrorist financing after passing two 2 laws in June 2012.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has upgraded the Philippines to its “grey list” of countries that make sufficient progress in their action plans. Previously, the Philippines was in the FATF’s “dark grey list” of jurisdictions deemed not to be making sufficient progress.

President Benigno Aquino’s spokeswoman Abigail Valte said in a statement: “These reforms prevented the Philippines from being classified and downgraded to the ‘black list’, which would have resulted in stricter inspections of financial transactions in the country”.

The Philippines’ Anti-Money Laundering Council said the FATF had urged Manila to include bribery, public funds misuse, human trafficking, tax evasion and environmental crimes as grounds for a financial investigation.

Guernsey seeks comments on proposed Anti-Money Laundering guidance

Friday, June 8th, 2012

The Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC) has written to the managing directors of all financial services businesses to ask for comments on proposed changes to Anti-Money Laundering and the Countering the Financing of Terrorism guidance and handbooks.

The consultation in respect of requirements on financial services businesses relates to amendments to the Criminal Justice (Proceeds of Crime) (Financial Services Businesses) (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Regulations, 2007; the Handbook for Financial Services Businesses on Countering Financial Crime and Terrorist Financing; Schedules 1 and 2 to the Criminal Justice (Proceeds of Crime) (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 1999; and Schedule 1 to the Registration of Non-Regulated Financial Services Businesses (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2008. Also, comments are awaited on the proposed changes to the Criminal Justice (Proceeds of Crime) (Legal Professionals, Accountants and Estate Agents) (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Regulations, 2008; and the Handbook for Legal Professionals, Accountants and Estate Agents on Countering Financial Crime and Terrorist Financing.

The above-mentioned publications are provided by the Authority with a view to ensure that money launderers, terrorists, those who finance terrorism and other criminals cannot launder the proceeds of crime through Guernsey or its finance sector.

The Commission endorses the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on 40 Recommendations on Money Laundering and the 9 Special Recommendations on Terrorist Financing.

Financial fraud was highest in 2011

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

According to suspicious activity reports (SARs) submitted to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), 2011 was a year all-time high in alleged claims of money laundering, debit card fraud, mortgage loan fraud, consumer loan fraud, and casino fraud.

Since 2007, the SAR numbers have ranged from 1.2 million to 1.3 million. In 2011, their number increased to more than 1.5 million. According to analysts, these fraud cases can be directly related to the financial meltdown.

Curt Novy, a mortgage and real estate analyst in San Diego, Calif, said that the financial meltdown lasting from 2007 to 2009 “uncovered all the skeletons” that were present in the marketplace, from mortgage financing to Ponzi schemes. He also noted that these frauds are overlooked in a good economy, but, during an economic downturn, people take a closer look at the books. “Massive fraud isn’t discovered in good times,” he explained. “It’s when the market changes, and financial institutions start looking closer, when the checks stop coming in, they take a closer look at what’s going on.”

Many of the fraud cases are large and complex, therefore investigators suspect it may take the next decade for reviewing them. Some cases involve hundreds of properties, which can take 3-4 years to compile evidence in preparation for a trial.

While fraud peaked in 2011, the FBI is only pursuing 3% of the total 90 000 suspected mortgage loan fraud cases. The FBI is choosing to investigate the large-figured cases.

FBI financial crimes chief Tim Gallagher told ABC News said: “About 70% of our cases are more than a million dollars. We are going after big fish as far as putting cases together, and we’re going after people on the inside because of fiduciary responsibility and the element of trust that they’re violating and doing the most damage”.

United States includes Vatican into money-laundering “concern” list

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

The Vatican has appeared on the State Department’s list of money-laundering centres. However, the city-state is not rated as a high-risk country.

On March 7, the 2012 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report was published. Washington’s list of 190 countries classifies them in 3 categories: of primary concern, of concern and monitored.

The Vatican was included into the 2nd category, along with 67 other nations including Poland, Ireland, Hungary, Egypt and Chile.

The Vatican was added to the list as it is vulnerable to money laundering. “To be considered a jurisdiction of concern merely indicates that there is a vulnerability to a financial system by money launderers. With the large volumes of international currency that goes through the Holy See, it is a system that makes it vulnerable as a potential money-laundering center,” Susan Pittman of the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement said.

In 2011, the tiny city-state adapted internal laws to comply with international standards on financial crime.

It is seeking inclusion on the European Commission’s so-called “white list” of states complying with international standards against tax fraud and money-laundering. A decision on its inclusion is expected in June 2012.