C4ADS has produced a report claiming that companies involved in forced labour and human rights abuses in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China are enmeshed in global trade and finance despite severe multilateral sanctions designed to cut them off from international markets. It uses the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) — a regional governing body with a vast commercial network — as a test caseto better understand how companies in Xinjiang retain access to international markets.
A report from C4ADS explains that teak (tectona grandis) is a high-value tropical hardwood used for wood carving, furniture, and shipbuilding. For years, global markets have coveted teak for its durability, beauty, and strength. The teak trade, both licit and illicit, contributes to a variety of issues, including deforestation, environmental degradation, and displacement of wildlife in India, Myanmar, and other teak producing countries. However, the report says that C4ADS has found that millions of dollars-worth of teak is coming from a very unlikely source – South Sudan. South Sudan’s teak reserves are among the largest in Africa – but South Sudanese teak is also being exploited at an unsustainable rate. The report serves as the first comprehensive review of the regulatory and security environment surrounding this little-researched topic. It examines how conditions within South Sudan have made its teak sector more vulnerable to exploitation from illicit actors and contributed to the country’s instability. It includes a case study of a South Sudanese teak company, Lukiza Limited, which has seemingly been involved in teak logging and was beneficially owned by foreign political elites.
A Quick Guide from the Basel Institute on Governance considers what sort of crimes involve cryptocurrencies. It says that blockchain technology behind cryptocurrencies theoretically makes it easier for financial investigators to “follow the trail of the money” but what is tricky in all cases is attribution: linking transactions and addresses to real people in the real world.
On 10 August, Cision PR Newswire carried a release saying that a third of financial institutions are accelerating their AI and machine learning adoption for AML technology in response to COVID-19. Meanwhile, another 39% of compliance professionals said their AI/ML adoption plans will continue unabated, despite the pandemic’s disruption. These industry trends and others are explored in a new study by SAS, KPMG and the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS).
The FATF-style regional body for the Middle East and North Africa, MENA-FATF, has produced this publication, which says that it has been found that international and regional ad-hoc reports issued clearly highlight the steady rise in the crimes at the regional and international level. The report pays especial attention to the effects of the Corona virus – the COVID 19 pandemic which coincided with the period for the implementation of this project. It says that the methods and techniques used to commit human trafficking and migrant smuggling crimes represent a challenge to combat them and pose many challenges for competent authorities. Its contents include –
International and regional efforts to combat the human trafficking and migrant smuggling crimes;
The legal and institutional framework for combating the human trafficking and migrant smuggling crimes and the laundering of their proceeds in the MENA Region;
National risk assessment, methods and techniques used to launder money resulting from human trafficking and migrant smuggling;
Most important traits and characteristics of money laundering crimes resulting from human trafficking and migrant smuggling in the MENA Region;
International cooperation to combat money laundering crimes resulting from human trafficking and migrant smuggling in the MENA Region; and
On 3 August, the US-based Institute of International Banking Law and Practice (IIBLP) produced an article which focuses on trade-based money laundering (TBML) which FATF has defined as “the process of disguising the proceeds of crime and moving value through the use of trade transactions in an attempt to legitimise their illegal origins or finance their activities”. It explains that, according to FATF, that which distinguishes TBML from other trade-related crimes (e.g. smuggling) is that TBML’s aim is the movement of money rather than goods. The primary objective of any TBML scheme is the deliberate movement of illicit funds proceeds by exploiting trade transactions. It considers current recommended mitigation methods for TBML risk and identifies additional TBML resources.