Money Laundering Bulletin

Yet to explode – non-proliferation compliance

Quietly ticking in the corner, the control of proliferation finance may not be at the top of every risk register but with international standards in place it cannot be disregarded, says Paul Cochrane.

Government and International Bodies, Practice Findings, Proliferation Finance

No better – UK regulator reports on small banks’ controls

MLROs at a quarter of small banks had a “detrimental effect” on AML and sanctions systems and controls, the Financial Conduct Authority reports from its latest thematic review. Other findings, if not quite so dramatically negative, are“disappointing” – a favoured regulator euphemism – Timon Molloy discovers.

Sanctions, Monitoring, Training, Payments, Banks, Practice Findings, Supervisors, Europe

SWIFT takes true measure of correspondent banking

Banks that use the SWIFT payments messaging platform will be able to gain a clear picture of their correspondent banking activities from January next year.

Correspondent Banking, Technology

FATF papers point way on beneficial ownership and risk based approach in banking

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) approved two sets of guidance at its October 2014 plenary: one, on transparency and beneficial ownership, is aimed primarily at policymakers but the other, on application of the risk based approach to banking, is directed, as well, at the industry.

Customer Due Diligence, Banks, Trust and Company Service Providers, Government and International Bodies, Legislation & Guidance, Supervisors

Penalty points

Fines for AML breaches may be rising on both sides of the Atlantic but real interest lies in the variations. Timon Molloy reads between the numbers.

Banks, Money Service Businesses, Cases, Financial Intelligence Units, Supervisors, Europe, North America

FATF sets Iran February deadline for terrorist finance law

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has warned Iran it faces tighter international scrutiny of its financial services and dealings, should it fail to criminalise terrorist financing and boost its suspicious transaction reporting (STR) requirements.

Terrorist Financing, Government and International Bodies, Practice Findings
Risks and Controls

The Chinese way – via Macau and Hong Kong

China’s full-scale anti-corruption drive is having measurable impact on the casino economy of Macau, and Hong Kong, too, may feel the dragon’s breath. Jens Kastner reports.

Bribery and Corruption, PEPs, Trade Finance, Casinos, Practice Findings, Asia-Pacific

Currency and capital flows: a Chinese trade

Public officials are caught directing state funds to their own accounts offshore while the Chinese government seeks to clamp down on corruption even as it strives to loosen control over the country’s currency. Gao Fu Mao, in Beijing, asks if the policy objectives are compatible with the containment of illicit capital.

Customer Due Diligence, Bribery and Corruption, PEPs, Practice Findings, Asia-Pacific
Money Laundering

Out front in West Africa – Ghana

Four years ago Ghana was far off the anti-money laundering pace but it has staged a remarkable recovery as John Dyson reports.

Reporting, Financial Intelligence Units, Government and International Bodies, Legislation & Guidance, Practice Findings, Supervisors, Africa

One basket for the rotten eggs

Expansion and overlap of financial crime risks is driving integration of teams and systems as firms seek to improve their response and contain costs. Mark Dunn examines the trend.

Customer Due Diligence, Bribery and Corruption, Legislation & Guidance, Practice Findings, Supervisors, Europe, Corporate Vehicles

Bedtime stories for bankers

Internationally-agreed documents often read as unsatisfactory high-level compromise but the Financial Action Task Force guidance on application of a risk-based approach for the banking sector both manages to offer direction and, on occasion, even surprise, Sue Grossey finds.

Banks, Government and International Bodies, Legislation & Guidance

Changing prospects – the MLRO role

“No one wants to be the MLRO anymore. You work very hard to get to the top of the industry and when you’re there you can’t give the CF11 title away”...

Banks, Practice Findings, Africa, Europe, Middle East
Terrorist Financing

Getting their hands dirty – the illegal charcoal trade

The demand for charcoal in Africa has never been higher, while weak or absent controls over production and export make it an irresistible and lucrative source of funds for terrorists, armed political factions and criminals alike. David Carlisle investigates the scale of illegal deforestation, who is responsible and countermeasures that might prove effective.

Terrorist Financing, Typologies, Predicate Crimes, Government and International Bodies, Africa, Middle East

Alert service to focus banks on real-time financial crime

A new Financial Crime Alerts Service (FCAS), warning banks about the latest financial crime and cyber threats, is to be launched by the British Bankers Association.

Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, Predicate Crimes, Banks, Government and International Bodies, Europe
Legal / Regulatory

Assured performance – testing the technology

If it is necessary to implement transaction monitoring and sanctions screening systems, it is no longer sufficient without understanding how they work and how effective they are. Kitty So talks to leading testing service providers.

Sanctions, Monitoring, Technology, Practice Findings

Singapore confirms rise in suspected illicit funds seizures

Singapore seized SG$115million (US$92million) of suspected criminal funds in 2013 - the highest amount in five years, as against SG$5million (US$51million) seized in 2012, a national police official has confirmed to MLB.

Reporting, Law Enforcement, Practice Findings, Asia-Pacific

Power-broking: Iranian sanctions and conflict in the Middle East

Negotiations at the end of November on whether limited relaxation of sanctions on Iran should be extended into 2015 will be coloured not only by evidence of the country’s non-military nuclear intentions but also its role as a potential ally in the fight against Islamic State. Paul Cochrane reports from Beirut on compliance and politics.

Money Laundering, Sanctions, Practice Findings, Middle East

North Korea, arms and Africa: three case studies

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) works actively to promote trading links in Africa but its commercial agenda hides darker objectives that include the supply of dual-use goods in breach of international sanctions. Melissa Hanham, Leslie Wukstich and Stephanie Lieggi examine the risk that Pyongyang’s subterfuge presents to institutions with connections to the continent through a set of clear, documented cases.

Sanctions, Africa, Asia-Pacific