Effective AML is predicated on a clearly defined risk appetite. A panel of leading practitioners at the ACAMSmoneylaundering.com AML & Financial Crime Conference in Miami delved into the mechanics of how to assess risk and then communicate it. Timon Molloy reports.
Jenny Holt’s prosecution for money laundering in the Isle of Man created quite a stir, writes Jonathan Fisher QC. The trial Judge (the Deemster) had described Ms Holt, a young English barrister and Manx advocate employed by a firm called Moroneys, as “of exemplary positive good character” and “the sort of daughter every parent would be proud of”. Yet following her conviction and suspended sentence of 12 months imprisonment the headline in IOM Today screamed out that “Baines advocate should have gone to prison” (2July 2011). In the event, Ms Holt’s conviction was subsequently quashed by the Privy Council (Holt v Attorney General  UKPC 4). But in its wake the case has left some real anxieties about the application of the money laundering offences to fees paid to professional advisers, and particularly lawyers, for the services they are asked to render. The anxieties are exaggerated, though not entirely unfounded.
The Fourth EU Money Laundering Directive (4MLD) will come into force mid-2017 after a key vote today [20 May] in the European Parliament signalled the legislation’s adoption following EU Council of Ministers approval a month ago [20 April].
Sweden’s two largest banks, Nordea and Handelsbanken, have been fined SKr50 million (€5.4 million) and SKr35 million (€3.8 million), respectively, for money laundering control breaches.
A two-year joint operation by Europol and the Spanish Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) has closed down a €300 million money laundering and counterfeit goods network focused on Spain.
The European Parliament’s economic and monetary affairs and civil liberties committees have backed the latest text of the proposed Fourth European Union (EU) Money Laundering Directive in a joint meeting today [6 May 2015].
The Russian Federal Financial Monitoring Service (Rosfinmonitoring), Moscow’s financial intelligence unit (FIU), has targeted individual and commercial customers using Russian banks from 41 countries for special transactions reports.
Risks and Controls
The virtual currency genie is out of the digital bottle and innovating his way across the internet at a furious pace, but not without cost. Brian Stoeckert of Stratis Advisory reviews the enforcement actions and criminality that have dogged his zigzag path.
AML professionals are a primary source of intelligence for law enforcement via suspicious activity reports to the financial intelligence unit but higher conviction and asset recovery rates are contingent on closer collaboration to raise disclosure quality, finds Kitty So.
Suspicious activity reports to the financial intelligence unit may be the recognised mechanism for alerting law enforcement to potential criminal fund flows but Alan Osborn finds there are other ways to flag concerns.
The provision of financial services outside the traditional sector, always an attractive prospect to some, becomes ever easier online as the necessary software is commoditised. Alan Osborn and Robert Stokes look at the rise and risk of alternative banking platforms.
The Financial Action Task Force is worried, and so are member governments: de-risking threatens to exclude swathes of business and consumers from banking services. Alan Osborn, in London, and Craig Howie, in Washington DC, examine the impact and response.
The Fourth EU Money Laundering Directive (4MLD) edged closer to adoption on Monday (20 April) after the EU Council of Ministers formally approved a three-way ‘trilogue’ deal that Council, European Parliament and European Commission negotiators clinched last December.
Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant is a terrorist organisation with ambitions to carve out a caliphate that will last but to do this it needs to create a sustainable financial system that goes beyond the ‘tax, extract and threat’ model delineated in the latest research by the Financial Action Task Force. Sue Grossey examines ISIL’s sources of funds.
Legal / Regulatory
Collaboration by governments and pressure through mutual evaluation means that Central America’s capacity to combat money laundering and terrorist financing is starting to build, if unevenly. Pacifica Goddard reports.
The pariah status of sanctions list designation is prompting targeted parties to fight for removal, with some notable successes in the European Court of Justice. Katherine Buckle of QEB Hollis Whiteman and Lennart Poulsen of 9 Bedford Row examine possible lines of attack.
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