Archive for November, 2008

Anti-mafia writer accuses Europe of little money laundering

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

On November 21, 2008, Italian anti-mafia author, Robert Saviano, accused the governments of European countries of doing little to fight the laundering of billions of Euros in drug money from organised crime.

The writer said that Britain is one of the countries that are at least interested in extricating itself from mafia money, while the others were criticized be him.

At a conference held in Paris and organised by a French government drug-fighting initiative, Saviano said that three main Italian mafias pump 100 billion Euros per year in the European economy.

The author, who has been living in hiding since his exposed the Naples mafia in his best-seller Gomorrah, accused Toronto of having the highest rate of drug-trafficking capital in the world (this was taken from  a report by the University of California at Berkeley).

According to him, to fight money laundering, Europe has not responded appropriately.

Saviano has been living under 24-hour police protection after he received repeated death threats from Naples’ Camorra gang. The latest threat said that mafia wants to see the writer dead by Christmas. Gomorrah became a widely-known film when it won the top prize at the Cannes film festival and currently it is running for the Oscar awards.

FBI helps Jersey’s Money Laundering teams

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Agents from the USA’s FBI came to Jersey in order to help its anti-money laundering teams.

The FBI is working with Jersey Police’s Financial Crimes Unit and the enforcement division of the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC).

It should be noted that the FBI visits Jersey every year in order to provide training sessions about the areas of finance that might be vulnerable to money launderers.

This year, they are looking at the ways of detecting and fighting mortgage fraud.

Last year, Supt Shaun du Val, one of Jersey’s most senior police officers, went to the FBI’s Quantico Academy in Virginia to have training on high-profile criminal cases and counter-terrorism.

India and Qatar to share data on Money Laundering

Monday, November 17th, 2008

India and Qatar will share information on money laundering and terror threats as well as exchange defence experts for the security of the Arabian Gulf region. This is conditioned by 2 new agreements that were signed between India and Qatar during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s to Qatar.

One agreement is about security and law enforcement, while another is about defence cooperation.

The agreement on security and law enforcement provides the framework for sharing of information and database on threats that terrorists impose, on money laundering and on drug smuggling. This document was signed by Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed and Qatar’s Minister of State for Internal Affairs Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al-Thani.

The agreement on defence cooperation provides a structure for training programmes by India and Qatar, as well as exchange of goodwill missions and experts between the two countries. It was signed by Defence Secretary Vijay Singh and the Chief of Staff of the Qatar Armed Forces Hamad Bin Ali Al-Attiyah.

Both agreements were signed on November 10, 2008.

Rwanda passes Money Laundering Law

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

It happened so that there was no law on anti money laundering and terrorism financing in Burundi and Rwanda. However, the law was long awaited.

At last, anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing law has been passed by both the Lower and Upper Chambers of Parliament in Rwanda. It will come into effect and become law soon if assented by the President.

This was caused by financial experts who have expressed fears that financial stability and economic prosperity can be threatened money laundering and terrorist financing.

As the law is going to be implemented, a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) is also to be formed in order to deal with receiving, keeping, processing, analyzing and disseminating information regarding suspicious financial transactions.

Governor Central Bank, Francois Kanimba, said that anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing face serious challenges in Rwanda. These challenges include the advanced science and technology, rapid economic development, and financial business innovation.

UK’s FSA fines a firm and its MLRO for failing Money Laundering procedures

Friday, November 7th, 2008

On October 29, 2008, the UK’s independent non-governmental body Financial Services Authority (FSA) announced that the same day it fined Sindicatum Holdings Limited (SHL) GBP 49 000.

The FSA also fined SHL’s money laundering reporting officer (MLRO), Michael Wheelhouse, GBP 17 500 as he did not have appropriate anti-money laundering systems and controls in place that would verify and record the identities of the customers. It should be noted that this was the 1st time the FSA has imposed a fine on a money laundering reporting officer.

A number of failings was detected by the FSA. The failings included the following:
– SHL failed to implement adequate procedures aimed to verify its customers’ identities;
– SHL failed to verify adequately the identities of a significant number of its customers;
– SHL failed to keep adequate records of the verification of its customers’ identities;
– SHL’s MLRO, Michael Wheelhouse, failed to take reasonable steps to implement adequate procedures for controlling risk of money laundering.

Head of retail enforcement at the FSA, William Amos, said that it is crucial to the integrity of the United Kingdom’s financial markets to ensure that regulated firms are not used by criminals for money laundering. He also said that senior management must implement and follow procedures that meet the requirements made by the FSA. According to Amos, this fine is a warning to firms and individuals about the importance to comply with the FSA’s rules and the Authority “will not hesitate to clamp down on failures, where necessary”.

When deciding on the amount of the fine for Sindicatum Holdings Limited, the FSA took into consideration the limited financial resources of the firm as well as its ability to pay the penalty. Otherwise the penalty is said to have been significantly larger.

Group charged with money laundering in Virginia

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

The group of 9 persons have been charged with handling a million-dollar drug and money laundering operation in southeastern Virginia.

According to the Newport News Daily Press, 8 members of this group lived in the Newport News area. It is alleged that the head of the drug operation was William Foreman who was assisted by Quentin Haley and Bryan Robbs. Robbs was from Costa Mesa, California, the other two were from Newport News.

A federal grand jury charged the 3 with laundering the proceeds of drugs. Shavonda York of Hampton, Perry Lee Bowen Jr. of Chesapeake and Richard Wiggins Jr. of Newport News were charged with money laundering. A 72-year-old defendant, Margarette Bullock Powell, was charged with wire fraud.