Every year, we like to give a summary of the most popular stories on our website measured by analytics of visits because it gives a sense of what issues are of interest to the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing community globally and future trends.
Here are some of our statistics for 2016:
Most popular storyÂ â€“> although written in late 2015, the most visited page in 2016 was our story onÂ HR158 involving the new US Visa Waiver Program AmendmentÂ restricting access to the US for foreign nationals or visitors who were in Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan. This story, which spawned a similar article we wrote in Quartz, resulted in humanitarian aid agencies and journalists taking up the issue of HR158, although it was too late.
2nd most popular storyÂ â€“> also written in 2015,Â the 2nd most popular story was comparing how someÂ Chinese foreign nationalsÂ who move funds to Vancouver use a well-known money laundering technique called smurfing. That article spawned numerous articles in the international media and brought the term â€œsmurfingâ€ out from use as a money laundering term into general use in the media.
3rd most popular storyÂ â€“> Our next most popular story was on the diamond trade being used for money laundering.
The next most popular were on Mahmoud Reza Khavari, the violent ways debts are collected in Macau; and our primer on beneficial ownership, shelf companies and shell companies.
Most popular search termÂ â€“> The most popular search terms on the site in 2016 were â€œsanctionsâ€, “money and crime”, “HSBC PEP”, “What is the role of FINTRAC”, “high risk countries”, “ISIS”, “beneficial ownership”, and “loan sharking Macau.”
Unusual searches –>Â There were some interesting searches including:
- “Hiring money mules China”,
- “Can I visit US if I visited Iran?”,
- “EB5 money laundering”,
- “Gazientep ISIS”,
- “Macau people who lend money”,
- “Swallowing cash”,
- “Are Toronto strip clubs money laundering operations”,
- “Entering Canada with fake ID”,
- “For sale BC shelf company”,
- “Girl friend of PEP”, and
- “Why does the west allow money laundering from China and Russia”.
Most visitors came fromÂ â€“> Canada, then the US, UK, India, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, France and surprisingly, UAE and Russia were close to the top among visitors.
Most visitors from the US came to read about how some Chinese foreign nationals move money to Canada.Â The most read stories in Canada were about structuring of money from China to Canada.
But people from China this year visited a range of stories from FinTech, Â legislation and counter-terrorism.
Most people from UEA visited us to read the story on HR158 as it relates to Iranians. Russians came mostly to our main page, then to learn about politically exposed persons.
DemographicsÂ â€“> Most of our readers were male between the ages of 25-34. The banks with the most visits were Bank of America, Barclays, Bank of Montreal, TD Bank, Royal Bank, followed by most global US banks. In terms of law enforcement agencies, Canadian law enforcement visited our site more than any other country, which is a change from last year.