High and stable in value, durable, compact - diamonds hold a unique appeal, whether for the rich and famous, the young couple looking for an engagement ring or the criminal wanting to hide and move his funds. The stones may sparkle but the business has its flaws, according to Financial Action Task Force findings. Sue Grossey examines every facet of the AML/CFT standard setter’s report.
It may be the most profitable form of transnational crime - trafficking in endangered species cannot be ignored. David Carlisle examines the legislative controls and how criminals circumvent them
Spending on anti-money laundering and combating terrorist financing is reaching levels even institutional shareholders may start to notice, but to what purpose? Convictions for money laundering and recovery of criminal proceeds remain de minimis. Tristram Hicks lays out the reasons and points a way forward.
The young high-flyers in Whitehall, who deal with UK financial crime policy, in between winging along the corridors of power found time to talk to practitioners at the Anti-Money Laundering Professionals Forum annual financial crime seminar in the City of London. Timon Molloy reports.
Sanctions, on the hard edge of international diplomacy, are presently ratcheting up over Crimea, with US and EU asset freezes and visa bans prompting retaliation in kind by Moscow, but there are good reasons to think they won't go much further, says Timon Molloy.
Findings on anti-money laundering practice in UK-regulated firms are “depressing”, Sharon Campbell, Head of Financial Crime & Intelligence, UK Financial Conduct Authority acknowledged yesterday [4 March].
Sanctions, the bloodless weapon of foreign policy, are trained on the ex-President of Ukraine and ousted members of the regime. Susannah Cogman and Rod Fletcher of Herbert Smith Freehills report on the West’s financial offensive.
Numbered accounts and incuriosity as to source of funds – stereotypical Swiss banking secrecy is buckling before international efforts to combat tax evasion. Daniel Pruzin reports from Geneva on how this landlocked state at the heart of the European Union, yet not of it, is coping with the new transparency agenda.
In the case of R v Pace  EWCA Crim 186  the Court of Appeal ruled that proof of a mental element of suspicion only was insufficient for the purposes of a count of attempted money laundering.
Risks and Controls
Money flows constantly, always finding new, electronic channels. European legislators are hard at work on how to regulate rather than divert (much less stem) the tide of innovation. Robert Stokes reports on the current Fourth EU ML Directive proposals.
The history of the Roman Catholic church is coloured by financial intrigue, which, of late, has attached to the provenance of deposits and obscure workings of the Istituto per le Opere di Religione, better known at the Vatican Bank. Mindful of the institution’s tarnished reputation, Pope Francis is seeking to affirm its probity through a radical review of structure, management and customer accounts. Brenda Dionisi reports on his mission, from Milan.
Members of two European Parliament committees have backed the proposed Fourth European (EU) Money Laundering Directive, as long as a public register provision is included.
Lebanon’s hard-won, always precarious reputation as a comparatively clean banking location in the Levant was dealt a severe blow with the Lebanese Canadian Bank case in 2011 but it has restored confidence overseas, notably in Washington, in time to confront the financial fallout of war in neighbouring Syria. Paul Cochrane reports from Beirut.
Inability to spot suspicious transactions, cash-based economies, porous borders and weak inter-state cooperation leave West Africa open to terrorist financiers, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) warns in a typologies report published yesterday [12 November 2013].
Legal / Regulatory
Financial Action Task Force patience was running on empty when Ankara finally passed terrorist financing legislation. One crisis averted, perhaps, but Paul Cochrane, in Beirut, and Michael Kosmides, in Athens, find that other deficiencies persist.
Half a dozen follow-up reports later, Sue Grossey assesses Luxembourg’s progress since its 2010 mutual evaluation by the Financial Action Task Force.
Parliamentarians in Brussels are busily amending the draft Fourth EU Money Laundering Directive before May’s election purdah; the British will be happy, certainly, that the latest compromise proposals on beneficial ownership data further last June’s G8 transparency agenda espoused by PM David Cameron. While the lawmakers debate, major banks - notably, recently, BNP Paribas and Credit Suisse - continue to weigh the known and potential cost of non-compliance with existing legislation. Timon Molloy reports.
Annual worldwide expenditure on AML is set to pass $10bn in the next couple of years while compliance professionals continue to cite regulatory change, rather than challenges in combating financial crime, as their number one concern, reports KPMG’s 2014 Global AML survey.
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