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 [...]

The “Twitter Terrorist”

March 1, 2015, updated on May 10, 2015 Note: This is a counter-terrorism opinion based on our review of ISIS-inspired Twitter accounts for an eight month period and is intended for an audience familiar with AML/CTF.  Some Tweets included herein may be disturbing to readers who are unfamiliar with terrorism. The Twitter Terrorist & Digital Terrorism Introduction [...]

US veterans file billion dollar claims against global banks over terrorist financing and sanctions avoidance and claim that the conduct continues today

Anti-Terrorism Act filing against global banks Yesterday, symbolically the day before Remembrance Day, several plaintiffs filed suit against a number of global foreign banks based in the United States under the Anti-Terrorism Act (the “ATA“), including HSBC Holdings Plc, Barclays, Standard Chartered Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland. The plaintiffs are seeking damages that could run [...]

PwC settles with New York bank regulator over anti-money laundering and sanctions advice

The New York Department of Financial Services (“NYDFS“) has announced that it has entered into a settlement with the advisory firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers Regulatory Advisory Services (“PwC“) over anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance advice it provided to the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi (“Bank of Tokyo“). PwC is suspended for two years from accepting consulting work [...]

l’Union européenne a annulé des sanctions iranien

Sanctions annulé Le tribunal de l’Union européenne a annulé hier des sanctions décidées par l’UE à l’encontre de sept établissements financiers et d’un ressortissant iranien en raison de leurs liens présumés avec le programme nucléaire controversé de Téhéran. Dans son arrêt, le tribunal qui siège à Luxembourg a estimé que l’UE “n’avait pas apporté la [...]

Review of high risk countries for money laundering

The Financial Action Task Force (“FATF“) has released its list of high risk jurisdictions for money laundering and counter terrorist financing. Reporting entities are generally required to apply enhanced due diligence when dealing with funds from jurisdictions that are high risk. The high risk countries are: Vietnam Syria Iran Kenya Ecuador Korea Ethiopia Indonesia Myanmar [...]