ECUADOR: AML/CFT MUTUAL EVALUATION REPORT

On 19 January, FATF-style regional body GAFILAT released this report following the on-site visit, which took place between 28 March and 8 April last year.  The mutual evaluation concluded that the country had complied with 1 FATF Recommendation; mostly complied with 12 Recommendations; partially complied with 23 Recommendations; and not complied with 4 Recommendations.  Ecuador was rated PC/NC on 5 of the 6 Key Recommendations.

https://www.gafilat.org/index.php/es/biblioteca-virtual/gafilat/documentos-de-interes-17/iem-del-gafilat/4474-mer-ecuador-iv-round/file

https://www.gafilat.org/index.php/es/biblioteca-virtual/gafilat/documentos-de-interes-17/iem-del-gafilat/4473-iem-ecuador-iv-ronda/file (Spanish)

INVESTIGATING BUSINESS-LIKE BEHAVIOUR IN MONEY LAUNDERING NETWORKS IN THE NETHERLANDS

On 16 January, Springer reported on a study which examines the extent to which financial facilitators in the Netherlands exhibit business-like characteristics and the extent to which they organise themselves in money laundering networks.  It further examines the relationship between business-like behaviour and individual money launderers’ position in the social network.  Based on social network analysis, this research shows that financial facilitators in the Netherlands can be linked in extensive money laundering networks. Based on the facilitators’ area of expertise, roughly 2 main types of professional money laundering networks can be discerned.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12117-022-09475-w

BULGARIA: GRECO REPORT ON CORRUPTION PREVENTION AND INTEGRITY CONCERNING TOP EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS AND THE POLICE

On 19 January, the Council of Europe announced a report from its GRECO body evaluating the situation concerning bribery and corruption in Bulgaria.  GRECO notes that top officials of the government are not subject to a proper integrity framework: no code of ethics is applicable to them, no awareness-raising on integrity matters is provided and no mechanism for confidential counselling on ethical issues is in place.  GRECO calls for more transparency concerning the conditions of government officials.  Another issue of concern is the lack of effectiveness of the criminal justice response to corruption offences involving top government officials, and independence of the police should be enhanced.

https://search.coe.int/directorate_of_communications/Pages/result_details.aspx?ObjectId=0900001680a9c7d7

https://rm.coe.int/fifth-evaluation-round-preventing-corruption-and-promoting-integrity-i/1680a9cab7

THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 18

Still in the quietness of this part of the country, having met a proportion of the 14% of US ex-pats in the area (why do we “ex-pats” use that term about ourselves, when anyone else we would call “immigrants”?), one of the 31 Brits and, possibly, the lone Irishman…

Facing disruption for another day or so, as we make our way home but, hopefully, back to normal by the weekend…

18 JANUARY 2023

THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 17

I am going to blame the communication problems here in the mountains, but this seems to have somehow gone missing yesterday. Mind you, it seems to be the sort of thing that happens here – today we got on a local minibus which said it was going to out destination,only to be taken far up into the mountains further to somewhere with the same name as where we were heading for on the main road…

FinCEN IDENTIFIES VIRTUAL CURRENCY EXCHANGE BITZLATO AS A “PRIMARY MONEY LAUNDERING CONCERN” IN CONNECTION WITH RUSSIAN ILLICIT FINANCE

On 18 January, a news release from FinCEN advised that FinCEN had issued an order that identifies the virtual currency exchange Bitzlato Limited as a “primary money laundering concern” in connection with Russian illicit finance.  This is the first order issued pursuant to section 9714(a) of the Combating Russian Money Laundering Act, as amended, The order prohibits certain transmittals of funds involving Bitzlato by any covered financial institution.

https://www.fincen.gov/news/news-releases/fincen-identifies-virtual-currency-exchange-bitzlato-primary-money-laundering

https://www.fincen.gov/sites/default/files/shared/FAQs_Bitzlato%20FINAL%20508.pdf

RUSSIAN OWNER OF CRYPTOCURRENCY EXCHANGE BITZLATO ARRESTED IN MIAMI

On 18 January, the Guardian reported that Anatoly Legkodymov, who lives in China, was arrested in Miami.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2023/jan/18/russian-cryptocurrency-exchange-arrested-bitzlato

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/us-department-of-justice-founder-and-majority-owner-of-cryptocurrency-exchange/