Archive for the ‘Money Laundering cases’ Category

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.

More Money Laundering reported in Sweden

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

In accordance with police statistics, a 30% increase in the number of cases of money laundering was reported in Sweden for 2010. Such result is the reason to establish a new agency with a view to combat money laundering in this country.

The figures that were released by the financial crimes police (Finanspolisen) reveal that the number of reported money laundering cases in Sweden increased by 3 000 to a total of 12 000 reported cases in 2010.

Sweden has been criticised for not doing enough to fight the problem. Now, the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention considers the possibility to set up a national financial intelligence centre to be shared by Swedish Police, Customs, Tax agency and Economic Crime Authority. Daniel Vesterhav, researcher at the crime prevention council, said that this way it would be possible to free up resources, make use of each of the authorities’ expertise and increase the quality of operative intelligence.

According to the report, out of the 14,500 companies in Sweden obliged to report possible money laundering crimes within their own organisation, 90% of reports come from banks, foreign exchange companies and other money handling businesses.

It should be noted that no single tax adviser out of Sweden’s 159 obliged to report potential money laundering crimes to police filed any report in 2010.

US sanctions target Money Laundering in Afghanistan

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

On February 18, in order to step up its pressure on corruption in Afghanistan, the United States sanctioned a major Afghan money-exchange outfit as it was suspected of laundering billions of USD in drug money.

The US Treasury Department sanctioned the New Ansari Money Exchange. According to the authority, the money-exchange outfit was the center of a network of individuals, money-exchange houses and other businesses operating in Afghanistan and the UAE.

In a statement released in Washington, the US Treasury Department claimed that between 2007 and 2010, the New Ansari Money Exchange used billions of USD transferred in and out of Afghanistan for concealing illicit narcotics proceeds. New Ansari transfers money to its Dubai subsidiaries – Green Leaf General Trading LLC and Al Adal Exchange. Afterwards, they transfer money through US and international financial systems.

The US Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator Michele Leonhart said: “The New Ansari network is yet another example of money launderers exploiting legitimate financial systems to launder their ill-gotten gains, including illicit drug proceeds, as part of their criminal enterprise”. He added: “Cash is the ultimate commodity for these criminal networks, and these proceeds often fuel insurgent activity and corruption, while undermining the authority of developing governments.”

Lebanese Bank denies Money Laundering claims raised by US

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

A Lebanese bank has denied accusations by the United States’ Treasury Department that claims the bank is involved in laundering hundreds of millions of USD on behalf of a drug kingpin. Also, the bank has rejected accusations that it has links with Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based militia.

On February 10, the US Treasury Department described the Lebanese Canadian Bank in Beirut as a “financial institution of primary money laundering concern.” According to the US authority, it had reason to suggest that managers at the bank were complicit in money laundering by Ayman Joumaa, an alleged trafficker accused by US authorities of shipping drugs. Also, the Treasury’s action in designating the Lebanese Canadian Bank (LCB) exposed links between the bank and Hezbollah, which is listed as a terrorist organization by the USA.

The bank’s chairman, Georges Zard Abou Jaoude, said that the bank had no relationship with Hezbollah as well as with anyone designated by the US Treasury Department.

Crocodile Dundee to sue Australian Government over Money Laundering probe

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

It was widely discussed in 2006 that a famous Australian actor Paul Hogan had been under investigation for money laundering.

The Australian Crime Commission became suspicious that the star of one of the most successful Australian movies ever was using offshore tax havens in order to conceal his wealth. As a result, the actor was subjected to a 5-year tax investigation which was dropped in November 2010.

Recently, it has been announced that the world-famous Crocodile Dundee is planning to sue the Australian government for more than GBP 50 million (up to USD 80 million) for damaging his reputation in this tax probe.

According to Hogan’s lawyer Andrew Robinson, his client is to sue the Australian government for loss of earnings as ‘his earning potential and reputation has been decimated in the international community and it has had that level of effect on his position”.