Archive for July, 2010

Travelers may face money laundering charge in Kuwait

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

The supervisor of customs operations at Salmi, Abdali and Khabari Al-Awazem exits Farhan Al-Ajmi said that any person caught with more than KD 3 000 in cash or equivalent (such as jewelry) at all land, maritime and air exits will be accused of money-laundering and referred to authorities.

This measure will be taken not in order to limit personal freedom of travelers, but to limit deception and money laundering activities, especially because traders of prohibited substances and drugs are resorting to such activities for hiding the source of their illegal money.

Farhan Al-Ajmi stated that, in accordance with international customs procedures, travelers must reveal what they possess. If one is caught with funds exceeding the maximum limit of KD 3,000 in Kuwait, the funds can be confiscated and the traveler transferred to specialized authorities to face money laundering charges.

Strong Regimes required to fight Money Laundering & Terrorist Financing

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

On July 13, it was discussed at an Asia/Pacific Group (APG) meeting that every country needs to have in place robust anti-money laundering and counter terrorist-financing regimes in order to effectively stem global criminal and terrorist activities.

When opening the 13th Annual Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering held in Singapore, Singapore Law Minister K Shanmugam said that no country could act alone in fighting this global problem. He said that it is not enough to have a national-level response to defeat a transnational enemy. To be successful, the regimes should be effective on all fronts from enforcement, detection and deterrence to prevention.

Shanmugam stated that the region would be much safer from criminal and terrorist elements only if jurisdictions had in place regimes capable of not only catching and penalising launderers and terrorist financiers, but also deterring them from action. However, without funding, money launderers and terrorists would not carry out their activities for long, therefore it is important to control flows of money through financial systems. Advances in technology (e.g. pre-paid cards, mobile payments, Internet payment services) had made the task of enforcement agencies and regulatory authorities more difficult because criminals had learnt to use them to their advantage.

According to Shanmugam, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) needed to develop new ways for measuring a regime’s effectiveness in deterring financial crimes, so that they would measure the actual level of deterrence and disruption on the group.

Toy manufacturer accused of drug money laundering

Friday, July 9th, 2010

On July 2, 3 executives at a toy company were arrested on suspicion of laundering millions of USD for Mexican and Colombian drug traffickers in the US. The arrests followed a 2-year, multi-agency probe into the Angel Toy Corp., located in a downtown warehouse.

John Morton, director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said: “It’s no small irony that a multimillion-dollar company which promoted itself as retailer of cuddly stuffed animals was allegedly acting as a financial linchpin for drug trafficking operatives”.

The police arrested Meichun Cheng Huang, 57, and Ling Yu, 52, 2 co-owners of the business, and Xiaoxin Ju, 48, CEO.

Allegedly, these individuals were involved in a complex money-laundering scheme that included representatives from drug trafficking groups dropping cash at Angel Toy’s downtown headquarters or depositing money into toy company accounts. To avoid suspicions, the deposits were always for less than USD 10 000. After that, the money was wired to China in order to purchase teddy bears and other stuffed animals that were allegedly sent on to Columbia, where they were sold and the proceeds, in pesos, were given to the drug traffickers.

Nepal to sign Anti-Money Laundering Agreement with Mongolia, Thailand and Malaysia

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Nepal is to sign a deal with Mongolia, Thailand and Malaysia in order to facilitate financial information exchange aimed at preventing money laundering and terrorist financing.

The Memorandum of Understanding will be signed at the 13th annual general meeting of the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG). The meeting will be held in Singapore from July 12-16.

In accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding, it will be mandatory for the 2 sides to provide each other financial information on bank balance, investment in real estate, shares and about persons suspected in money laundering and terrorist financing.

Also, such an agreement is to be signed between Nepal and India within a few months.

Nepal has recently asked Hong Kong to sign a Memorandum of Understanding in the light of alleged capital flight to Hong Kong in the name of importing wool.

At the APG event, Nepal will forward its opinion on compliance on anti-money laundering and combating financing on terrorism measures. The country has already enforced anti-money laundering legislation and enforced some rules regarding banks and financial institutions, insurance companies, money transfer agencies, money changers, government agencies, cooperatives and casinos.

Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 implemented in Ireland

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

On May 5, 2010, the 3rd Anti-Money Laundering Directive (2005/60/EC) was finally transposed in Ireland by the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010. The aim of the 3rd Directive is widening the scope of previous legislation on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing based on the revised recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

According to the confirmation made by the Department of Justice and Law Reform, the commencement date for the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 will be July 15, 2010. The exception is Chapter 9 of Part 4 (Authorisation of Trust and Company Service Providers) that leaves a very short time frame for designated persons to comply with the new rules.

The responsibilities of designated persons as regards preventing and detecting money laundering and terrorist financing has widened significantly with the implementation of the new Act. The new legislation is aimed to consider the implications of the increased responsibilities on designated persons, including credit institutions, financial institutions, life assurance companies and intermediaries providing life assurance and other investment related services, auditors, external accountants, tax advisors, independent legal professionals, trust or company service providers, property service providers, casinos, private members’ clubs in relation to gambling activities and any person who is trading in goods in cash for a total of at least EUR 15 000.

As the Act will be commencement on July 15, 2010, designated persons need to ensure that their policies and procedures are updated in order to meet and comply with the new requirements. Non-compliance with the requirements may result in a prison sentence of up to 5 years and/or a fine.