Archive for the ‘Money Laundering cases’ Category

Vatican says bank needs ‘corrective measures’

Monday, May 19th, 2014

The Vatican’s financial watchdog agency said that “corrective measures” were necessary at the Holy See’s troubled bank to continue the path toward financial transparency and compliance with international anti-money laundering norms.

According to Financial Intelligence Authority Director Rene Bruelhart, a long-awaited investigation of the bank, known as the Institute for Religious Works, included looking into its practice of not disclosing the names of the true account holders in its transactions with Italian banks. He said that the main problems identified in the inspection concerned the bank’s procedures for identifying high-risk activities, and that more detail was necessary.

He said over the coming weeks, he would discuss a proposed action plan with bank managers “to take certain corrective measures to have a full implementation (of the Vatican’s anti-money-laundering law) in the IOR.”

The majority of the 202 new cases stemmed from transactions at the Vatican bank, which is reviewing each of its accounts to make sure it is clean and that the bank has complete information on the client.

Lebanese Bank accused of terrorism financing

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

A Lebanese bank accused of laundering drug money through United States banks and routing it to the terrorist group Hezbollah will pay USD 102 million to settle a lawsuit brought in 2011 by the US government.

The government of the United States accused the Lebanese Canadian Bank of a “widespread international scheme” to use the US banking system for laundering the proceeds from drug trafficking through West Africa and back to Lebanese financial institutions with ties to Hebollah.

Michele Leonhart, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said that drug trafficking profits and terror financing often grow and flow together.

Evan Barr, an attorney for the bank, said in a statement that the bank is pleased to have reached a settlement with the Government of the United States, ending months of legal dispute.

According to prosecutors, the bank transferred at least USD 329 million by wire to the USA to purchase used cars that were then shipped to West Africa. It was said in the court documents that the money from the sale of the cars and proceeds from drug trafficking were funneled to Lebanon through Hezbollah-controlled money laundering operations. So, the bank played a key role in these money laundering channels and conducted business with a number of Hezbollah-related entities.

The government of the USA considers Hezbollah a foreign terrorist organization and bars US businesses from doing business with the group. In 2011, the Treasury Department designated the bank a money launderer. The government said that the bank was used routinely by drug traffickers to launder money from Central and South America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. A Lebanese branch of France’s Societe Generale bank acquired most of the bank’s assets after the Treasury designation. Another Lebanese money exchange, Hassan Ayash Exchange Company, forfeited USD 720 000 to the government of the United States last week in order to settle claims that it participated in the money laundering scheme.

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.

HK investigates ex-chief of Corruption watchdog

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Hong Kong’s anticorruption agency called the Independent Commission Against Corruption is launching a criminal investigation of its former chief. Tong spent tens of thousands of USD on gifts for mainland Chinese officials.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Department of Justice said that there were significant reason to start this investigation into allegations of possible bribery and misconduct by Timothy Tong.

Tong was a commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption from 2007 to 2012. He came under fire after reports emerged he spent about HK$ 218,500 on gifts ranging from pens to crystal models of the agency’s headquarters.

Biggest bank forfeiture ever: HSBC to pay USD 1.9 Billion to settle money-laundering case

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

HSBC will pay USD 1.9 billion to settle a US. money-laundering probe to avoid a protracted legal battle that would have further embarrassed the British banking giant.

The probe of Europe’s largest bank by market value focused on the transfer of funds through the US financial system from Mexican drug cartels and on behalf of nations such as Iran that are under international sanctions.

HSBC said in a statement that its anti-money laundering measures were inadequate and it had since made strides in beefing up its controls. The bank also said it has reached agreements over investigations by other United States’ government agencies. Also, it expects to sign an agreement with British regulators soon.

“We accept responsibility for our past mistakes. We have said we are profoundly sorry for them, and we do so again,” HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver said in a statement.

Vatican bank opens its doors to demonstrate Anti-money Laundering efforts

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

One of the most secretive institutions in the secrecy-obsessed Vatican, the Vatican bank, opened its doors to journalists in order to show that it is serious about fighting money-laundering and being more financially transparent.

During a 3-hour PowerPoint presentation, the director of the Vatican bank Paolo Cipriani outlined the peculiar nature of the Institute for Religious Works, the bank’s official name, and sought to refute media allegations that it has been not enough cooperative with requests for financial information from Italian authorities.

On March 7, 2012, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report was published where Washington’s list of 190 countries was revealed. The list countries 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 because it is vulnerable to money laundering.

Deutsche Bank faces Money Laundering as regards Taib ties

Monday, September 12th, 2011

The German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), the supervisory authority for financial institutions in respect of money laundering legislation, is investigating Deutsche Bank’s business relations with the family of Malaysian potentate Abdul Taib Mahmud.

BaFin has launched investigations into the Deutsche Bank as regards its business relations with the Malaysian Taib family, which has been confirmed by the German Federal Ministry of Finance.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, the Federal Ministry of Finance representative, stated that the Ministry requested BaFin to explain and check the situation and, if the Financial Supervisory Authority considers it appropriate, to instigate supervisory measures. The Authority has already started clarifying the situation.

The Bruno Manser Fonds, the Hamburg “Rettet den Regenwald”(Rainforest-Rescue) Association and the Society for Threatened Peoples drew the attention of the government of Germany to the Deutsche Bank’s close business ties with Abdul Taib Mahmud and demanded to freeze all Taib assets in Germany.

Since 2004, Deutsche Bank has processed transactions worth hundreds million EUR for the Sarawak government and is engaged in a joint venture in Malaysia with the Cahya Mata Sarawak company (CMS). CMS is controlled by the Taib family. CMS and Deutsche Bank are the principal shareholders of the finance company K & N Kenanga Holdings, domiciled in Kuala Lumpur, with its subsidiary Kenanga Deutsche Futures, an accredited broker at the Malaysian stock exchange.

India’s authority pursuing 1269 money laundering cases

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Under the provisions of the existing anti-money laundering legislation, the India’s Enforcement Directorate is pursuing 1 269 cases. The government is mulling amendment and strengthening of the Act aimed to combat terrorist financing and other suspect transactions.

According to Indian Minister of State for Finance S S Palanimanickam, of the 1 269 cases registered as on March 31, 2011, 11 cases fall under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, on account of their suspected connection with terrorist financing. He said: “The number of money laundering cases registered by the Directorate of Enforcement under the PMLA has increased from 1 014 cases as on March 31, 2010, to 1 269 cases as on March 31, 2011, based on Scheduled Offences registered and reported by the concerned agencies”.

Palanimanickam said: “The government is proposing amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The proposed amendments are at a draft stage and are yet to be finalised”.

He added that India is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), the Eurasian group on combating money laundering and financing of terrorism and the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units.

Two British banks investigated for Money Laundering

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

The UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) has announced that 2 banks in Britain are being investigated for lax money-laundering controls. Also, other banks are likely to be handling the proceeds of corruption and other financial crime.

According to the FSA, it had referred 2 banks to its enforcement division for “serious weaknesses” in “high-risk” customer management.

The FSA published a review of how banks manage money-laundering risks adding that it is being considered “whether further regulatory action is required in relation to other banks, and further cases may be referred for enforcement”. The regulator stated: “Around a 3rd of banks, including the private banking arms of some major banking groups, appeared willing to accept very high levels of money-laundering risk if the immediate reputational and regulatory risk was acceptable”.

It is worth noting that ma of the failings identified by the FSA are the same as those it spotted 10 years ago when deposed Nigerian strongman Sani Abacha, his family members and associates used 42 UK bank accounts to turn over USD 1.3 billion (GBP 806.2 million) in 4 years.

The FSA said that more than 1/2 of banks visited this time around failed to have meaningful due diligence measures in higher-risk situations. Also, they failed to identify or record negative information about customers.

Around 1/3 of banks visited dismissed serious allegations about their customers without adequate review, and more than 1/3 failed to identify customers as “politically exposed persons” (PEPs), who are considered the most vulnerable to corruption because of their public prominence.

According to the FSA, 3/4 of banks did not always manage high-risk customers and PEP relationships effectively, and needed to do more to protect themselves from money laundering.

15 people arrested for money laundering

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

In an investigation into the suspected laundering of more than GBP 200 million, 15 people have been arrested across England.

To achieve this, as part of a long-running investigation, more than 250 officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and police raided properties in Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Yorkshire and Nottingham.

According to HMRC, the activity was obviously related with money laundering.

HMRC’s deputy director for criminal investigation, Alan Lee, said that this operation was an HMRC-led investigation that targeted money laundering offences. Further details were be provided because the investigation is continuing.