On 15 October, the Brisbane Times reported that police have uncovered one of Australia’s biggest money laundering syndicates which allegedly bought the identity of hundreds of foreign students on the dark web to wash cash and move tens of millions of dollars offshore. Police allege the ring laundered at least $62 million of criminal cash using the dormant bank accounts of 250 students who have returned to China after studying in Australia.
A briefing from The Sentry allges that Kur Ajing Ater and Benjamin Bol Mel Kuol, 2 influential South Sudanese businessmen who are sanctioned by the US and are part of President Salva Kiir’s inner circle, are potentially skirting US sanctions. It says that several companies that have received billions in contracts from the government of South Sudan over the last 3 years are owned by their relatives, and they are likely the real beneficial owners.
A news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement on 14 October announced 2 rewards for information on Pakistani national and human smuggler Abid Ali Khan (Khan). A reward of up to $1 million is offered for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Khan and a second $1 million reward is offered for information leading to the financial disruption of Khan’s human smuggling network. He allegedly operates a Pakistani-based smuggling network to facilitate the travel of undocumented individuals into the US from the Middle East and South-West Asia in exchange for payment. In addition to the planning or operations of the illegal and dangerous travel, Khan also provides false documentation to foreign nationals to use for cross-border travel.
On 14 October, Interest reported that Transparency International had called for an end to the ability for the ultimate owners of New Zealand foreign trusts to avoid tax and financial transparency obligations in their home countries. It says that the Pandora Papers have once again shone a spotlight on New Zealand foreign trusts. The leaks show business people and politicians from Russia, Romania, China and Brazil using New Zealand foreign trusts to build and hide their wealth. Unlike other jurisdictions, its foreign trusts are taxed based on the residence of the settlor, or the ultimately owner, rather than through the residency of the trustee who is New Zealand-based.
On 14 October, HM Treasury released an annual review which gives an overview of the operational work of the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation in the financial year, providing key statistics from the different areas of financial sanctions. The review includes sections on UK and EU financial sanctions regimes; frozen assets review; compliance and enforcement; licensing; and guidance and engagement.