Archive for September, 2010

Annual Anti-Money Laundering & Anti-Fraud Conference hosted by Western Union

Friday, September 17th, 2010

From September 13 to September 16, the Western Union Company has been hosting in Denver its fifth Annual Anti-Money Laundering & Anti-Fraud Compliance Conference. This is the annual conference that brings together Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance officers from the largest agents of Western Union in the United States and Canada with federal and state regulators and law enforcement. For the first time it was launched in 2006 with the intention to educate Western Union Agents on anti-money laundering best practices, regulations and law enforcement trends. Since its introduction, it has become one of the largest anti-money laundering/anti-fraud conferences in North America.

Western Union, which is a money services business financial institution, provides its services through a broad network of third-party agents including banks, postal organizations, grocery stores and other retailers. The Anti-Money Laundering & Anti-Fraud Compliance Conference has the goal to improve the effectiveness of Western Union Agents at preventing money laundering and fraud, and features presentations of the financial services industry’s federal regulators and law enforcement in the U.S. and Canada.

President of the Western Union Stewart Stockdale said in his comments: “We clearly understand our responsibility to protect consumers and the global financial system from potential abuse, and that is what this conference is focused on… At Western Union, we view anti-money laundering as a core part of our business, and also as a competitive advantage.”

Anti-money Laundering legislation of Bangladesh to be strengthened

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

Bangladesh Finance Minister has said that the country will enact two amendments to the existing anti-money laundering legislation to strengthen it and to prevent the flow of funds used for terrorism. The amendments will be brought in Anti Money Laundering Act 2009 and Terrorist Financing Act, 2009, including the issues of anti-money laundering and terrorist financing in the existing Extradition Act, enacting Mutual Legal Assistance Act and ratifying the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (Palermo Convention) and ratifying the UN Security Council Resolutions 1267 and 1373. Last week, the Minister chaired a meting of the national coordination council to review the overall progress in drafting the amendments.

According to the press, this initiative of Bangladesh government followed warnings of international anti-money laundering organizations which consider that country’s laws to fight the increasing money laundering and terrorism financing are ‘unsatisfactory’. By this issue, the country could even be included in the group of ‘ill-prepared countries’. The Asia Pacific Group (APG), the delegation from which visited Bangladesh last month, and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) organization have expressed their concerns over country’s non-compliance with international standards. The new legislation is necessary to let the global organizations know that Bangladesh is right on track to fight money laundering and terrorism financing. 

The government of Bangladesh has asked for the U.S. government cooperation to update its anti-money laundering and terrorist financing acts. The officials of the U.S. Department of Justice will also extend their cooperation to finalise the amendments in keeping them with the international standard. The issue between the U.S. and Bangladesh governments will be coordinated by the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG).

In October, the APG group will work to review Bangladesh’s progress in strengthening its positions in anti-money laundering and terrorism financing. Along with Bangladesh, APG will follow preparations of Thailand, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. India and Pakistan have already enacted the necessary laws and their review was completed.

US announced new sanctions against North Korea

Monday, September 6th, 2010

The U.S. President Barack Obama has signed an executive order that added one North Korean citizen and three firms to the list of frozen US assets, in addition to three citizens and five state entities under the existing sanctions.

Current financial sanctions against the North Korea cover trade of conventional arms or luxury products, counterfeit currency or engagement in money laundering, drug smuggling or other “illicit” activities that support the North Korean government or its leaders. 

According to Stuart Levey, the Treasury under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, the new order would help go after businesses “that enrich the highest echelons of the North Korean government while the North Korean people suffer”. He said that “the destructive course the North Korean government is charting is facilitated by a lifeline of cash generated through a range of illicit activities” that the US is determined to counter.

The names of the North Korean citizens and entities sanctioned were posted on the Treasury website.