$2,000,000,000,000 in Proceeds of Corruption Removed from China and Taken to US, Australia, Canada and Netherlands

The questions and answers I’ve been asked the most in 2016 about China: Q: How much money has been removed from China in proceeds of corruption? A: According to the Bank of China, way over US$120 Billion or CAD$160 Billion between the years 1995-2008. China appears to have quit sharing data officially after 2011 because [...]

UK’s sweeping new law targeting bankers, lawyers, advisors, offshore professional directors, nominees with fines; and “public shaming” for enabling offshore tax evasion

Wide, Wide Net for Enablers Starting today, parts of the UK’s Finance Bill 2016 came into effect which allows the HMRC to go after so-called “enablers” who help UK tax payers avoid taxes using offshore schemes, services or arrangements, such as bank accounts, investment or broker accounts, trusts, companies, directors / officers or nominees. The amendments introduce [...]

Does privilege really prevent lawyers from reporting money laundering?

In Canada and the US, lawyers are not subject to anti-money laundering reporting obligations like they are in most other countries. One of the most frequent reasons given for this by lawyers is that to require us to report certain financial transactions to a financial intelligence unit is inconsistent with, and would undermine, legal privilege. [...]

US indicts foreign national for laundering money from Iran through Canada, US, Korea and parking it in expensive real estate

The US federal government has filed an indictment against a foreign national, Kenneth Zong, who resided in the US for allegedly laundering over $1 billion from Iran through Canada, the US and a number of other countries in violation of international sanctions law that prohibit providing financial services to Iranian foreign nationals in Iran and [...]

Beneficial ownership and money laundering issues in real estate

The 4th Annual ACAMS Conference in Toronto on October 25-26, 2016 will cover a session on the hot topic of real estate and money laundering, including the role of beneficial ownership with an explanation from a legal perspective on what beneficial ownership is and how transactions are structured to avoid the reporting requirement under the Proceeds [...]

G20 adopts a “zero tolerance” against corruption and agree to close all loopholes and join forces for asset recovery of proceeds of crime on an urgent basis

The G20 agrees to cooperate over asset recovery and tracking down wanted foreign nationals implicated in financial crimes The G20 released its statement on September 5, 2016, and a large part of it indicates that the leaders of the world are becoming concerned with financial crime, including money laundering, terrorist financing and tax evasion. The [...]

FBI – “No safe haven anywhere for money launderers” – The fascinating $1B 1MDB civil asset forfeiture case

Largest civil asset recovery case in US of this kind On July 20, 2016, the US Department of Justice filed a civil forfeiture case in California to recover assets of more than $1 billion in alleged proceeds of crime resulting from fraud allegedly committed by individuals associated with the Malaysian government’s 1Malaysia Development Berhad (“1MDB“). [...]

US expands review of money laundering in real estate market

More scrutiny in US for real estate The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced that it is expanding its program to identify persons who may be hiding assets in residential properties in the US. The expansion adds additional cities to what are called the area for Geographic Targeting Orders (GTO). Title insurance agents in GTO cities [...]

FinTechs are being derisked out of bank accounts over terrorist financing and money laundering risks says UK study

The Financial Conduct Authority released an interesting soft study on the incidents of derisking affecting companies in the UK and pursuant to the study, MSB, charities and FinTechs are the three business client groups whose bank accounts are most frequently closed because they are too risky for the bank (a practice known as derisking). No [...]

A banker’s update on terrorist financing and money laundering from the US Committee on Homeland Security

Summary of the Updates The US House Committee on Homeland Security released a number of updates and received testimony on the status of terrorist financing, terrorism and money laundering in the last few weeks with some interesting developments relevant to banks in terms of changes in terrorist financing typologies that should be added to anti-money [...]