Archive for May, 2009

OECD removes 3 Jurisdictions from Blacklist

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Recently, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (http://www.oecd.org/pages/0,3417,en_36734052_36734103_1_1_1_1_1,00.html) published its blacklist of non-cooperative tax havens that might be related to money laundering.

However, lately it announced that Andorra, Liechtenstein and Monaco have been excluded from this blacklist list.
According to the OECD, its Committee on Fiscal Affairs made this decision because of political commitment of these jurisdictions to implement the OECD standards of transparency and effective exchange of information.

Now Andorra, Liechtenstein and Monaco are considered to have committed to the internationally agreed tax standard, however  they have not yet substantially implemented it.

ACAMS and Fudan University emphasize need for Anti- Money Laundering training in China

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

On May 26, the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) announced that an agreement has been signed an agreement between the ACAMS and Fudan University in Shanghai in order to jointly provide anti-money laundering training in the Mainland China.

This partnership addresses the need for educating and training anti-money laundering specialists in China. It is worth noting that anti-money laundering a relatively new issue for China as laws addressing money laundering were enacted in 2006 there. However, in accordance with an Anti-Money Laundering Report published by the People’s Bank of China, about 190 000 professionals are working in the anti-money laundering field in China’s banking, insurance and securities sectors and most of them are new to the field.

According to Shi Lei, an economics professor at Fudan University, “The cooperation is part of China’s efforts to strengthen anti-money laundering checks and monitor banks, securities and insurance companies to safeguard financial security.”

Ted Weissberg, Group Executive at ACAMS, expressed his excitement about the partnership with such a prestigious university and said that ACAMS’s presence in Asia has been growing very quickly over the past 2 years and it is expected that the new agreement will accelerate that growth.

Money Laundering case in Botswana

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Gaborone lawyer, Busang Manewe said that his clients were discharged regarding a P 2 million money laundering case as the state failed to prove the case.

The accused parties are a company Levico’s Building and Multi Services, Victor Mathumo, Daniel Ramosiane, Rodgers Lekgoba, Khumo Zaba and Taboka Zaba. They are represented by Manewe.

The accused persons allegedly have received and deposited a cheque of more than P 400 000 from proceeds of a crime. The cheque purportedly was written in favour of Jet Supermarket and deposited into a Standard Bank account held by Levico’s Building and Multi Services.

As to the 2nd account, Mathumo, Ramosiane, Lekgoba Khumo Zaba and Taboka Zaba are charged with money laundering involving P 1.8 million as they probably have known that such the money derived from illegal activities.

A ruling on the money laundering case will be given by Gaborone Chief Magistrate, Lot Moroka on May 28, 2009.

Trade-based money laundering costs billions

Friday, May 15th, 2009

According to US officials, international drug criminals are laundering hundreds of billions of USD in profits through the schemes of trade-based money laundering.

A new report was issued by the United States’ State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. It indicates that trade-based money laundering schemes are at an all-time high. A Justice Department official noted that fighting black market cash laundering through intentionally undervaluing or overvaluing exports is a top priority.

At a recent anti-money laundering conference in Miami, principal deputy chief at the Department of Justice criminal division Lester Joseph said that trade-related laundering is one of the priorities of the Obama’s administration.

According to a professor of finance at Florida International University, John Zdanowicz, who analyzes trade data for abnormally priced products, the banking system is the front door of money laundering. He said that “the government has done a pretty good job of closing the front door, but the back door – international trade – is wide open”. Zdanowicz thinks that it is easy for criminals who work with overseas partners to intentionally undervalue exports and then to sell them for full price.

Money Laundering costs Lloyds TSB Bank USD 350 million

Monday, May 11th, 2009

US anti-money laundering officials had their biggest success so far when a British bank, Lloyds TSB Bank, agreed to pay USD 350 million to the federal government and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office as it had violated federal and New York state laws.

An international UK-based bank in January agreed to pay the money after American investigators found out that the bank falsified information on electronic fund transfers from Iranian and Sudanese banks to United States’ banks. According to court files, in this case, the employees of the bank found a way to avoid setting off alarms at US banks.

It should be noted that the penalty to be paid by the bank was a reminder of the severe consequences that violators of U.S. Anti-money laundering laws will face.

US charges 4 with USD 4 million gambling and money laundering

Monday, May 4th, 2009

On April 23, 2009, US authorities announced that a federal grand jury has indicted 4 persons on money laundering and illegal gambling charges that stem from alleged 8-liner operations totaling USD 3.9 million.

The charges come from accusations that these 4 people operated 6 illegal game rooms in Galveston and Harris counties: Lucky 777 on Interstate 45, Bay Area on Friendswood Link, Amusement Palace on FM 2004, the Coffee Shop on Scarsdale, the O.C. on Long Point, and the Hideaway on 12th Street in Bacliff. These rooms were open for gaming only to private members. Some rooms operated 24 hours a day. According to the statement, some businesses contained 50 8-liners, or electric game machines, that purportedly have paid cash in violation of state law. The gaming machines resemble slot machines.

The four are accused of conspiring to operate the game rooms and trying to conceal the operations between November 2005 and November 2008.

Thanh V. “Tommy” Bui, 33; Russell Wayne Archord Jr., 40; James Arthur Burke Jr., 30; and Gustavo Alfonzo Alvarez, 41, are accused of attempting to conceal business assets as well as assets purchased with proceeds from illegal business in the 3rd parties names. They are also accused of destroying business records each day, avoiding financial transaction reporting requirements required by federal law.

A money-laundering conviction may bring the 4 criminals up to 20 years in prison and a fine of USD 250 000.