Archive for August, 2006

Former Ukrainian PM found guilty of money laundering

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

On August 25, former Ukrainian prime minister Pavel Lazarenko, 53, was sentenced to 9 years imprisonment for 1 count of conspiracy to launder money, 7 counts of money laundering, 5 counts of wire fraud and 1 count of interstate transportation of stolen property. Also, he was obliged to pay 10 million USD for extorting over 40 million USD from Ukranian citizens and laundering over 20 million USD through American banks.

Lazarenko was a prime minister in Ukraine, which is the second-highest position there, in 1996 and 1997. He was arrested in 1999 when having arrived in the USA. So, the sentence dotted the “i” in a 6-year investigation led by FBI and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation agents.

This is the second sentence in the United States court given to a former leader from another country.

By the way, Lazarenko was the one to buy the house that once belonged to actor Eddie Murphy.

Money-Laundering Scams

Friday, August 25th, 2006

To launder “dirty” money, criminals try to take advantage of the most vulnerable segments of population. Just one of the ways of money-laundering via cyberspace is using Internet money laundering scams targeted at the unemployed.

When money launderers look for the gateway to move their stolen money and steal from their unwitting accomplices, they would visit sites dealing with job seeking and employment. Of course, job sites do their best to combat fraud in all and any form it appears. But, still, money launderers do sometimes succeed. What they often do is turning job seekers into criminals.

So, not only job sites, but also job seekers themselves should be careful not to become victims of money-laundering scams.

Money launderers often post jobs as if to recruit American citizens in order to transfer some money (whatever they may call this), because (again, as if) being foreign citizens, they cannot do it themselves. The scammers write that the applicant suits for the job and ask to provide them with job applicant’s personal bank account details in order to process whatever they call it. If victims cooperate with scammers, they use their personal bank accounts to move stolen or bad checks to earn some percentage and, accordingly, become criminals themselves.

So, job seekers should be careful not to cooperate with money launderers in their criminal activities in cyberspace.

UN Global Anti-Money Laundering Fight

Monday, August 21st, 2006

As far as money laundering should be fought not only on a local scale, but also on a global one, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is much concerned about this matter.

In order to combat money laundering, the United Nations gives much attention to fighting organized crime, an important contribution to which is the Global Programme against Money Laundering (GPML).

The GPML is the key instrument of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to fight against money laundering. By means of this programme, the United Nations helps its members in introducing legislation against money laundering and developing the mechanisms for anti-money laundering. The GPML encourages anti-money laundering policy development, informs the public on money laundering and related matters as well as acts as a coordinator of joint anti-money laundering efforts of the United Nations and other international organizations.

What can individual governments do about money laundering?

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

It goes without saying that consolidated efforts to fight money laundering are the most efficient. To fight such a widespread world ”infection”, numerous countries should work at it, share information, generalize trends, etc.

Nevertheless, much can be done by individual government to fight money laundering. The governments of many countries have already done much establishing effective anti-money laundering regimes, still, they can and should do even more.

The first thing that a government can do is making the case of money laundering a crime. Then, investigative agencies are given the authority to trace and seize “dirty” money. Also, it is necessary that the agencies are permitted or even obliged involved to exchange information among themselves. Governments should take different appropriate measures concerning record keeping standards, financial transaction reporting systems, customer identification, verifying data, etc.

So, each government can do much and launch necessary anti-money laundering programs, projects, measures. However, international partnership with other countries is obligatory to fight this epidemics.

French Banks connected with money-laundering

Friday, August 11th, 2006

On July 21, 2006, it was announced that senior managers from 3 major French banks – Barclays-France, Société Générale, Société Marseillaise de Crédit and the National Bank of Pakistan – were referred to trial as charged in connection with a multi-billion-EUR money-laundering scheme between France and Israel.

This case is related to money laundering by means of cheques between France and Israel. Money laundering was discovered in an investigation of alleged fraud where companies in Paris were involved.

All in all, about 138 individuals are charged in the case. One of the suspected money-launderers on the list is a French former public prosecutor Jean-Louis Voirain. In 2003, he was jailed but after a while he had his sentence revoked.

198 people have been indicted in the investigation, 32 of them were bank managers and directors, on such as money-laundering and corruption.

Earlier last month, money-laundering charges against 4 other banks – American Express Bank France, Leumi-France, BRED and the Lebanese bank Saradar – were dismissed.

FATF & APG Assessment of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing in US

Monday, August 7th, 2006

On the 23rd of June 2006, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) have made the 3rd mutual evaluation report that assessed anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CFT) standards in the United States.

The report provides a description and analysis of measures taken by the US regarding the problem as well as the ratings of the US’ compliance with the FATF 40+9 Recommendations (which were discussed in the FATF 40 Recommendations post).

All in all, the Report reveals that the US has strengthened its overall AML/CFT measures since its last mutual evaluation in June 1997 and that the United States of America authorities are strongly aimed at identifying, disrupting, combat and preventing money laundering and terrorist financing networks. The efforts implemented by the authorities have reached very impressive results. So, according, to FATF report, US AML/CFT systems are very effective, nevertheless, there are still some concerns related to some specific requirements for customer due diligence, the availability of corporate ownership information and the requirements to some non-financial businesses and professions.

The US is the 9th country to be examined in the 3rd series of FATF mutual evaluations of its members.

St. Helena Money Laundering

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006

A St. Helena Parish preacher, his daughter and one more man have faced charges for being part of a scheme to defraud a telecommunications company of more than 1 million USD through shell companies. Since February 2005, the Rev. Andrew James, 51, his daughter Fiona D. James, 27 and Derald Spears, 36, have been facing charges of fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

On June 13, 2006, a hearing on money-laundering charges against a St. Helena Parish preacher and his daughter was delayed because of the illness of a lead state investigator who put the case together. Attorneys for the Jameses and Spears agreed to the delay.

Another hearing will be carried on September 21. The trial date has not been set yet.