Archive for the ‘Money Laundering cases’ Category

Number of middle-aged money mules rising

Thursday, June 20th, 2019

Middle-aged people are more and more often being attracted to becoming “money mules” and their bank accounts used for money laundering purposes.

More than 40,000 cases of money mule activity were reported to UK fraud prevention service Cifas last year, which is a 26% increase as compared with 2017. The largest rise was among people aged between 41 and 60 – a 35% increase as compared with 2017.

It seems that fraudsters target people without a criminal background, so that payments go unnoticed. According to BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw, money mules are usually recruited on social media sites and via messaging apps, they are offered money for allowing their bank accounts to be used to transfer cash. Many of them may not initially understand that they are committing a crime.

 

money mule or a “smurfer” is a person who transfers illegally acquired money in person, through a courier service, or electronically, on behalf of others. The money mule is either paid for services or not aware that the money being transferred is criminal.

Swedbank raided over Danske Bank scandal

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

Last week, Swedbank’s headquarters were raided by Sweden’s Economy Crime Authority.

The government of Sweden is investigating the bank trying to find out whether Swedbank broke insider information laws by giving its shareholders advance notice that Swedish state broadcaster SVT intended to air an investigative TV programme on money laundering featuring Swedbank on 20 February, 2019.

SVT’s Uppdrag Granskning investigative programme revealed that it had uncovered documents linking Swedbank to the Danske Bank money laundering scandal.

SVT said over 1,000 Swedbank clients in other countries were implicated, and in particular transactions made by 50 clients were unusual as they were companies that had no visible operations.

UBS fined for money laundering

Friday, February 22nd, 2019

Swiss bank UBS has been fined EUR 3.7 billion in a French court over money laundering offences.

The court decision was due on whether the Swiss bank helped French clients evade taxes between 2004 and 2012 and launder the proceeds. The court has been found the Swiss bank criminally responsible for money laundering.

“UBS strongly disagrees with the verdict. The bank has consistently contested any criminal wrongdoing in this case throughout the investigation and during the trial. The conviction is not supported by any concrete evidence, but instead is based on the unfounded allegations of former employees who were not even heard at the trial,” the bank said.

Shares in the Swiss bank are down almost 3%.

Huawei accused of 23 Crimes including Money Laundering

Saturday, February 2nd, 2019

According to the FBI, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer Huawei paid employees bonuses for stolen information.

The US Justice Department has charged China’s Huawei with 23 crimes, including conspiracy to commit money laundering, theft of trade secrets and obstruction of justice.

In two indictments, the Justice Department said that Huawei and its CFO Meng Wanzhou had conspired to violate sanctions on Iran via a subsidiary. Also, the company was charged with stealing technology from T-Mobile.

As part of its investigation, FBI obtained emails dated July 2013 where company offered bonuses to employees based on the value of information they stole from other companies around the world, and could provide to Huawei via encrypted email.

FBI Director Chris Wray said: “Today should serve as a warning that we will not tolerate businesses that violate our laws, obstruct justice, or jeopardize national and economic well-being.”

 

Huawei denies that having committed any of the asserted violations.

Deutsche Bank headquarters raided over money laundering

Thursday, November 29th, 2018

The Frankfurt headquarters of Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest bank, have been raided by prosecutors in a money laundering investigation.

According to Germany’s public prosecutor, two staff members have allegedly helped clients launder money from criminal activities.

In 2016 alone, more than 900 customers were served by a Deutsche Bank subsidiary registered in the BVI, generating a volume of EUR 311 million, the prosecutors allege.

The investigation was sparked by revelations in the 2016 “Panama Papers” – an enormous amount of information leaked from a Panamanian law firm called Mossack Fonseca.

 

UK frustrated by Cayman silence on Money Laundering

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

The National Crime Agency are frustrated by a lack of co-operation by the authorities in the Cayman Islands.

The law enforcement agency said that it was “asking for information we don’t get”. It says it has also significantly stepped up efforts to seize dirty Russian money coming into the United Kingdom. Also, the agency launched investigations into British-based lawyers and accountants suspected of facilitating money laundering.

The NCA leads the UK fight against money laundering and criminal money, which it estimates could be worth up to £ 1 billion a day.

A number of investigations have led it to Cayman-registered offshore companies, which is a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean and one of the world’s largest financial centres.

Donald Toon, director of the National Crime Agency, revealed that the Cayman Islands authorities had not co-operated when he had asked for information on who owned these firms. “The Cayman government is entirely aware of the UK concerns,” he said.

In recent years, the spotlight has been on tax havens linked to the UK following a series of global investigations involving nearly 100 media organisations, including the BBC. The Paradise Papers exposed how wealthy and corrupt individuals used complex offshore structures to cover their tracks. There were concerns that criminals were finding new tax havens where they could exploit lax regulation and hide their links to corrupt assets.

 

OECD says Switzerland must do more to tackle bribery and protect whistleblowers

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

Switzerland must urgently do more to protect whistleblowers and stop money laundering and bribery.

After a year-long investigation, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development (OECD) said that companies, lawyers and trustees operating in Switzerland must face tougher penalties for perpetrating or facilitating bribery taking place abroad.

The OECD said Switzerland “presents a specific risk of corruption” because of a large number of public international organisations and an outsized financial sector providing services for overseas clients. Despite hosting international industries which have significant potential for corruption, such as commodities trading, Switzerland has no legal framework to protect whistleblowers.

The organisation also found out that not a single case of foreign bribery has been brought to local Swiss law enforcement agencies in any of its cantons by a whistleblower. Internationally, company insiders who alert authorities to wrongdoing are seen as vital in the battle against corruption. They have been instrumental in a number of recent high-profile data leaks that have shone a light into the sometimes shady world of offshore finance.

Long famed for its secretive banks and as a hub for clandestine financial activity, Switzerland has been attempting to clear up its image in recent years after a string of scandals, but the latest report found an “almost universal mistrust” of whistleblowers in the country, stemming from “extremely entrenched opinions on this matter that point to strong, deep-rooted cultural resistance to people who support suspicions of wrongdoing”.

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UK to crackdown on century-old loophole being used for money laundering

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

According to the government of the United Kingdom, Scottish Limited Partnerships (SLPs) are being exploited by overseas criminal gangs. Initially, SLPs were introduced in 1907 to help Scottish farmers.

The government research revealed that one laundering scheme used 100 different SLPs to shift USD 80bn in Russian money in just 4 years.

The proposals are the latest in ministers’ attempts to crack down on dirty money as part of a wide-ranging response to Russia in the wake of the Salisbury nerve agent attack.

The plans are aimed to ensure that SLPs are being used only by legitimate businesses, users will have to prove they have a genuine connection to the UK and are running a company or maintaining an address in Scotland. Under the current rules, anyone in the world is able to register an SLP. The proposed changes will mean that anyone setting up a limited partnership will have to pass anti-money laundering checks.

While many SLPs are owned by legitimate businesses, government research suggests others have been part of complex attempts to launder the proceeds of criminal activities.

US politicians question Trump ties to Panama real estate project

Sunday, March 4th, 2018

The United States politicians question Trump ties to scandal-struck Panama real estate project. The Panama City project is said to have earned the President between USD 30-50 million.

Two members of Congress have asked the Trump Organisation to reveal if it knew about allegations that real estate agents and investors linked to a project bearing the President’s name in Panama, had ties to money laundering and drugs. Democratic congresswoman Norma Torres and congressman Eliot Engel asked if the company, founded by Donald Trump and run by his sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr since their father entered the White House, was aware of the claims relating to the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower in Panama City. They asked what due diligence was done on investors and agents involved in the project, which has earned Mr Trump between USD 30 and 50 million for lending his name to it.

The Trump Organisation have not responded to enquiries immediately.

Football Star accused of Tax Evasion through offshore companies

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Lionel Messi, a 28-year-old 5-time World Player of the Year, and his father Jorge Messi were accused of using offshore companies in Belize and Uruguay in order to avoid over EUR 4 million in tax.

In his and his father’s trial over tax evasion, Messi insisited that he did not make attempts to avoid paying taxes on EUR 4.16 million of his income earned through the sale of his image rights from 2007-2009

When giving testimony in the court in Barcelona, the Argentina skipper said: “I didn’t know anything, all I know about is playing football and winning.” He also said: “I only knew that sponsors would pay X amount of money, that I had to do adverts, photos and things like that.” He declared that he had never read anything but I would sign where the lawyers said.

Tax authorities are asking that both Leo and his father serve about 2 years in jail for the offence, but the public prosecutor is only pursuing Messi Sr.

Jorge Messi, Leo’s father and co-defendant, had earlier claimed that he didn’t realise the Belize company that managed image rights deals didn’t pay taxes in Spain, and that he never informed his son of the details of sponsorship deals. “Since the start of Leo’s career I only tried to make his life easier,” he said.