14th October 2018
ZIMBABWE: ZANU-PF ‘SMUGGLED’ MONEY TO CHINA FOR ELECTION REGALIA
On 13th October, Bulawayo 24 reported that the ruling Zanu-PF party claims that the US tried to sabotage its campaign by blocking them from wiring their transaction to a Chinese company which printed the party’s regalia – t-shirts, caps, scarfs and wrapping cloth – until the party sought ways of circumventing the restrictions and get the money to China without detection. A politburo member claimed that the US tried to sabotage and derail the Zanu-PF campaign by making sure that the payment to China failed.
CALIFORNIA SUCCULENTS ARE AT THE CENTRE OF A MASSIVE SMUGGLING RING
MNN.com on 13th October reported that several varieties can fetch millions on the black market in East Asia. It says that plant smugglers from China and Korea are raping and pillaging fragile California coastal habitats, in some cases rappelling down ocean-facing cliffs to poach native succulents and ship them to Asia, particularly Korea, where housewives place them on windowsills as status symbols.
PHILIPPINES: BANKS TOLD TO CONSIDER NRA DATA IN RISK REVIEW
Manila Bulletin on 13th October reported that the central bank said all banks’ risk review processes should include the National Risk Assessment (NRA) on money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) for a comprehensive evaluation of financing risks. The central bank, CSP, The BSP is part of the NRA Working Group through the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC). The inter agency-NRA is one of the FATF recommendations to enhance AML enforcement.
AML COMPLIANCE COSTS US FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRMS $25.3 BILLION PER YEAR
The latest edition of the ACFCS Newsletter on 13th October reported that the cost of AML compliance across US financial services firms equalled $25.3 billion per year based on survey responses from more than 150 decision-makers at banks, investment, asset management and insurance firms, according to LexisNexis Risk Solutions in its inaugural 2018 True Cost of AML Compliance report for the US. The report says that smaller firms are hit hardest, relative to their bottom lines, as the cost of AML compliance reaches up to 0.83% of total of assets, compared to larger firms, which see costs up to 0.08%.
HOW AN HSBC TELLER STOPPED A $500 MILLION BANK HEIST
The latest edition of the ACFCS Newsletter on 13th October reported that the alleged attempted theft is a complex, convoluted tale that involves Angolan political and financial authorities, missed SWIFT signals, forged paperwork, a get-rich-quick scheme and a small cast of international characters.
EXPOSED: INTERNATIONAL MONEY LAUNDERING SYNDICATE IN NAIROBI
The Daily Nation on 14th October carried an article saying that a suspected international money laundering syndicate involving Chinese nationals has been operating in Nairobi targeting businesses. The scam involves credit cards believed to have been stolen or cloned from leading companies in China, and a Chinese arriving in Kenya with multiple credit cards belonging to one or several leading companies operating in either mainland China or Hong Kong. They then approach a Kenyan business owner, preferably those whose daily turnover is in hundreds of thousands, and whose clients prefer to pay using credit or debit cards. Alternatively, these business people could be owners of establishments, such as high-end hotels and luxury resorts, whose main clientele are foreigners who prefer using plastic cash as opposed to hard cash. After running the credit card, the Kenyan businessman then leaves his card machine with the Chinese as collateral – and when the money reaches the account, the Kenyan businessman then withdraws it and shares it with the Chinese getting the bigger share. The article says that Africa has emerged as the last frontier for Chinese scammers who are unable to carry out their schemes in China, Europe or the US.
MOBILE MONEY TRANSFERS HAVE TAKEN OFF IN SOMALIA, BUT THERE ARE RISKS
eNCA on 13th October reported that a recent World Bank report showed that Somalia has one of the most active mobile money markets in the world, outpacing most other countries in Africa, and now it has superseded the use of cash in the country – mobile money transactions are worth about $2.7 billion a month in a country which lacks a strong formal banking system. It says that Somalia’s transfers are mainly available in US dollars. The companies offering mobile money services are mobile network operators, as in Kenya, but they are increasingly forming part of large conglomerates that also offer banking and money transfer services. It says that about 9 out of 10 Somalis over the age of 16 own a mobile phone. Mobile money also facilitates vast remittance flows which are critical to most Somali households. However, it is also vulnerable to money laundering and terrorism financing, because there is a weak KYC compliance, meaning few SIM cards and mobile money accounts are registered using a valid form of identification and ultimately, this results in limited accountability and tractability.
UN HEARS THAT BOUNDARIES BETWEEN CRIME AND TERROR ARE BLURRING
Defence Web on 12th October reported that the evolving nexus between crime and terrorism, ranging from street level deals to complex symbiotic relationships, demands greater understanding to break the illicit flow of black market cash across borders a UN meeting has been told. Terror groups are becoming increasingly-involved in “lucrative” criminal activities such as trading in natural resources and human trafficking, the Executive Director of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), told the UN Security Council. Criminal groups also join hands with terrorists and provide services such as counterfeiting, arms dealing and helping smuggle terrorists from one country to another, she said.
DANISH POLICE HUNT CIVIL SERVANT SUSPECTED OF EMBEZZLING £15 MILLION MEANT FOR UNDERPRIVILEGED GROUPS
The Guardian on 11th October reported that Danish police have launched an international search for an unnamed 64-year-old “trusted and longstanding welfare agency” civil servant who they believe has left the country after taking more than 110m kroner of public money meant for social services. The suspect had worked for the agency for 40 years before being fired in September, and had acquired “superuser” status, giving her high-level access to computer systems.
THE WESTMINSTER CITY COUNCIL SCANDAL: HOW DOES THE BRIBERY ACT 2010 APPLY TO GIFTS AND HOSPITALITY IN PRACTICE?
On 12th October, law firm Corker Bining published an article commenting on an internal report by the Council on a report about gifts and hospitality provided to the chairman of its planning committee by property firms involved in half of the planning applications his committee ruled on in 2016. The report concludes that the “acceptance of a large number of gifts and hospitality is not in itself unlawful”, and the author of the article remarks that this is an odd conclusion. The article says that it raises an important question: how is the Bribery Act’s application to gifts and hospitality being implemented in practice, some 7 years after the legislation came into force?
US TERROR SNAPSHOT SHOWS “HOMEGROWN” ISLAMIST EXTREMISM IN US CONTINUES TO BE CAUSE FOR CONCERN
Homeland Preparedness on 8th October reported that released the October Terror Threat Snapshot from the House Homeland Security Committee, highlights that 159 homegrown Jihadist cases in 30 states have been uncovered since 2013. The cases included plots to attack the country, overseas travel, financial support, lying to authorities, and weapons charges.
US: CHINESE OPERATIVE CHARGED WITH ESPIONAGE AND STEALING TRADE SECRETS
Homeland Preparedness on 12th October reported that Yanjun Xu (aka Qu Hui and Zhang Hui), a deputy division director of the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS), was extradited to the US from Belgium and was charged with conspiring and attempting to commit economic espionage and stealing trade secrets from multiple US aerospace and aviation companies.