FinCEN issues money laundering advisory for Iran’s use of Bitcoin and digital currencies

FinCEN has issued an advisory for Iran that specifically is targeted for digital currency exchanges, banks and foreign banks so that the latter can understand their obligations under the correspondent banking system. The advisory is interesting because it is one of first instances of an attempt to provide guidance to foreign banks in respect of the [...]

Iran using ghost supertankers to avoid sanctions law

According to this article in the Financial Times, Iran has sent a supertanker, called Happiness I, en route to Asia, carrying 2 million barrels of oil that is off-the-radar literally, in order to obfuscate that it is transporting Iranian oil to another country. When ships are off-radar, they turn off their transponders and are no [...]

Iran sues US over sanctions

The Islamic Republic of Iran is suing the US at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the US sanctions annouced on May 8, 2018. ICJ is the forum for the resolution of disputes among members of the Untied Nations. Iran is claiming that the sanctions of May 8, 2018, violate the Treaty of Amity entered into [...]

2017 Worldwide threat assessment – the rule of law is at risk

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released its annual Worldwide Threat Assessment on May 11, 2017, from the US Intelligence Community and compared to last year, there are many more international threats to world security. The Threat Assessment from the US is a summary of all of the threats facing the US, and [...]

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 [...]

Financial transparency in Iran – more advanced than you think

Blacklist in place Last week, the FATF voted to keep Iran on a blacklist, which means that banks are being advised that they may want to treat financial transactions from Iran with heightened scrutiny. It’s an interesting decision because Iran is, in many ways, more transparent that many other countries that appear to have no FATF [...]

Iran renews calls for the deportation of Khavari

The requested deportation of Mahmoud Reza Khavari, a former Iranian foreign national, and a Canadian citizen living in Toronto, seems to be at the centre of the arrest of a Canadian professor from Montreal, Homa Hoodfar, also an Iranian foreign national and equally a Canadian citizen, who was visiting Iran. Professor Hoodfar was arrested by [...]

Summary of the 2016 US Threat Assessment

The Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community (the “Report“) prepared by the Director of National Intelligence on February 9, 2016, is a very interesting read from a counter-terrorism perspective, and essential reading for any bank in respect of assessing client and regional risks. Generally, the Report is dead on in respect of the [...]

New US law brands journalists and humanitarian aid workers as terrorist risk

In this story in Quartz, we explore how a new US law, HR158, the Visa Waiver Program Improvement Amendment Act 2015, will result in journalists and humanitarian aid works, and many others being branded a terrorist risk for visiting Iraq, Syria, Iran and the Sudan, and how the new law will affect the ability of [...]