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Money Laundering

In what might just count as the simplest money laundering scheme ever, a senior officer of a US bank is to be banged up for two years.

In the past day or so, a company called emailmovers limited using the domain xmr3.com have sent out a number of spam e-mails addressed to personal e-mail addresses at companies. They claim "Emailmovers is one of the UK's only B2B email data owners who provide Full Email Marketing services in house" which is, in itself a nonsensical statement.

But it's their claim for how many people they feel it's OK to send unwanted commercial email to that is interesting. Just how did they get it and how do they think it's legal to use it? And is it a predicate crime for money laundering purposes if they have breached GDPR?

"Cognitive bias" is one of those expressions, along with various other forms of bias, that's become popular in recent months. However, there's nothing new and nothing clever about cognitive bias. In fact, it's one of the most fundamental aspects of decision making. We all, without exception, do it. But the problem is that it underpins one of the reasons that financial crime risk management fails, over and over again.

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We, the people, are discriminatory. You , me, he, she are all guilty of one of the most fundamental forms of discrimination. Yet, if we reject that attitude, we become better at so many things. Importantly, it all comes down to two fundamental prejudices. And, if you are a LinkedIn user, it's almost certain that you exercise it with every visit. Read on for why your New Year's resolution should be to reject this particularly unwise way of life.

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FinCEN and the Federal Banking Agencies have issued a joint statement "encouraging innovative industry approaches" to money laundering compliance. It's not long and it encourages both human and technological innovation. But, importantly, it specifically says that it does not require those who don't need it to jump into NewTech just because it's there. It also says banks are free to fail when trying new things. It also says that some NewTech might result in regulators finding out things companies might rather they didn't.

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It would be far more sensible if the UK scrapped its money laundering laws, wrote something comprehensible and properly structured and kept it all in one place. But no, that would make life far too simple. So, we have the latest Act that has to be read in the light of, and which makes amendments to, other legislation. But it's important and so no one can simply say "stuff it" and delete it. As it comes into force, there is a hint as to at least some of the priorities in relation to international financial crime.

Yesterday, Singapore passed its Serious Crimes and Counter-Terrorism (Miscellaneous Amendments" Bill. The Lion City's approach to suspicious assets has logic on its side, but it doesn't work in practice. Here is WMLR's analysis of the relevant parts of the Act and its consequences, including risk for compliance / risk officers.

"She was the sort of woman that, if she told you do do something, you did it," PC Robert Carter is reported to have said when asked why he helped his mother, Tamara Carter, to launder the proceeds of criminal conduct from which she received some GBP850,000. A finding of Gross Misconduct at a disciplinary hearing, plus his mother's conviction, suggest that the constable might shortly be receiving a visit from his former colleagues, perhaps even before the Metropolitan Police decide on his penalty. There's an interesting facet to the Board's decision.

This is not about money laundering. It's about how the UK is de-EU-ing law and regulation ready for "exit day." The UK's draft statutory instrument called "The Money Laundering and Transfer of Funds (Information) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018" is an object lesson in technical documentation. It has no life of its own and can only be read alongside other UK law and Regulations. It is of extraordinary importance not because of what it does but because of what it demonstrates. This is an indication of the clerical complexity of withdrawing from the EU even when the principles, as they will in relation to the Money Laundering Directives, will remain as now.

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It's incredible. The European Union has produced five Money Laundering Directives and still in some respects it is not one but two steps behind some countries that are often subject to criticism. Indeed, it is behind many of its own member states. This week, the Council of the European Union "adopted" a "regulation." Politically, the fact that a Regulation has been made is more important than what it does.

A doctor prescribed meds his patients didn't need, claimed payment and spent the proceeds. Now he's serving a 12 year jail sentence for, amongst other things, laundering the proceeds of his own offence.

Organised by Casino Essentials, a three-day conference and exhibition started in Las Vegas yesterday with the opening Keynote Presentation by Kenneth Blanco, Director, FinCEN. Before he got down to the nitty-gritty yesterday, Blanco was chummy with the lawyers and gaming industry reps and in his remarks prepared in advance he said "Thank you for that wonderful introduction, Jim" and "Thank you so much, Mindy, for inviting FinCEN to be a part of this event." So, chummy and psychic? How did the rest of his speech go? We know...

FinCEN can't make its mind up. On 16 May this year, FinCEN granted to covered financial institutions a 90 day exception from the requirement to comply with the " Beneficial Ownership Rule for Legal Entity Customers." Leaving aside the fact that, as with the UK's draft Bill, the term "Beneficial Owner" has been co-opted from an entirely different area of law and is therefore a cause for confusion, FinCEN Is up to its old tricks of mitigating the effect of a Rule while pretending that the USA has a strong counter-money laundering regime. The 90 days is up and, guess, what? FinCEN has extended it. What is going on?

On Friday 13th July 2018, the UK's Serious Fraud Office obtained, from a Magistrates' Court, a warrant for the arrest of Benedikt Sobotka has been issued over his failure to appear for questioning in an ongoing corruption investigation into ENRC and related companies. Failure to appear when required to do so is itself a criminal offence, independent of the allegations under investigation.

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While there is global fascination with the case against Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak, who has been charged with offences that, at present, do not include money laundering, the world is seeing an unprecedented range of cases brought against politicians and those close to them. Has the tide turned and are politicians, previously considered largely untouchable, now legitimate targets?

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