UK: A Month in Money Laundering - April 2005

Last Updated: 19 July 2005
Most Read Contributor in UK, August 2017

3 May

Financial Action Task Force ("FATF") questions South African anti-money laundering laws.  FATF has compiled a report detailing deficiencies in anti-money laundering legislation in South Africa. The existing Financial Intelligence Centre Act requires a financial institution to verify the identity of the client, but there is no requiremnt to identify the true beneficial owner of the property. The report also highlighted that the numerous exemptions to the Act and inadequate law enforcement undermined the effectiveness of existing legislation.

4 May

Anti-money laundering agreement signed by Andorra and Monaco.  The Andorran anti money laundering group, Unitat de Prevencio de Blanqueig ("UPB"), signed an agreement today with its counterpart in Monaco, Service d'Information et de Controle sur les Circuits Financiers ("SICCFIN"). The agreement will improve cooperation between the two countries and will allow the exchange of information about suspected money launderers. UPB plans to make further cooperation agreements with countries of strategic importance and with countries where capital is moving to Andorra.

5 May

Macedonia to join Egmont Group. The Macedonian Directorate for Fighting Money Laundering ("MDFML") announces its intention to join the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units. The MDFML is an independent body headed by the former director of Macedonian development bank MBSD, Vlado Naumovski. Macedonia’s bid to join the group will be discussed at the 10th Egmont plenary session, scheduled for 23 - 25 June. If the MDFML are admitted to the group they will gain access to money laundering information from 95 other Egmont member states.

10 May

Azerbaijan postpones anti-money laundering programme. The government of Azerbaijan has postponed the implementation of measures concerning anti-money laundering and terrorist financing until experts from the US Department of Justice pass judgement on them in June 2004. The draft programme has been submitted to the United States government and Azerbaijan is hoping to secure technical assistance from the U.S. in its implementation.

11 May

Ukraine imposes foreign currency restrictions on non-compliant institutions. The National Bank of Ukraine has announced plans to restrict banks from buying foreign currency where they are failing to fight money laundering effectively. The proposals will also affect banks with poor monitoring processes and cover companies suspected of money-laundering. In 2003 banks represented two hundred thousand reports on suspicious transactions.

OFAC imposes sanctions on Syria. The United States’ Office of Foreign Asset Control has today imposed sanctions on Syria for their support of international terrorism, continued military presence in Lebanon, possible weapons of mass destruction and its efforts to destabilise the rebuilding of Iraq.

12 May

United States and Russia join forces to combat money laundering. Following the G8 meeting in Washington, Russian Interior Minister, Rashid Nurgaliyev, announces future cooperation between the two countries’ law enforcement agencies to help combat terrorist activity and money laundering.

United States name and shame Syrian banks. The US Treasury Department has named two Syrian banks as being of "primary money laundering concern". Under powers of the US Patriot Act, the Department today issued a statement saying it had information that the banks were assisting terrorists through transactions relating to the illicit sale of Iraqi oil.

South African banks seek extension for anti-money laundering regulations. The Banking Council of South Africa asks the government for an extension to the 30 June 2004 deadline for new money laundering controls which require banks to obtain proof of identity and residential address for all customers. The extension is required due to problems concerning the verification of low-income clients who live in informal settlements as they are not easily contactable by telephone and do not visit their banks regularly. The request from the Banking Council is under consideration by the South African Finance Minister, Trevor Manuel.

Canada sees high volume of suspected money laundering cases. Canada’s Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre ("FINTRAC") estimates that terrorist groups moved $22million through Canadian financial institutions in the last fiscal year. FINTRAC was set up in 2000 by the federal government in Ottawa to help uncover illegal financial activities. Sonia Brown, a senior officer at FINTRAC said money launderers are attracted to Canada because of the country's lenient prison terms, strong banking system and privacy laws that allow them to conceal the proceeds of crime.

14 May

Financial Action Task Force’s mandate renewed for a further 8 years. Representatives from the thirty-three member countries have voted to renew the mandate for a record eight years. The renewal of the mandate highlights the member countries’ commitment to the fight against money laundering and also the confidence they have in the FATF.

17 May

Mexico strengthens anti-money laundering efforts. Financial institutions dealing in money exchange will now be required to keep records of all transactions involving more than US$10,000. Also, customers will be classified according to their risk level which will be determined by factors such as profession, business activity and income sources.

19 May

Syrian bank rejects anti-money laundering claims. The Commercial Bank of Syria rejects charges of money laundering following the sanctions imposed by the U.S. against Syria on 11 May. Additional sanctions, which have not yet been enforced, include a requirement that U.S. banks sever ties with Syrian banks because of money-laundering concerns related to the United Nations’ oil-for-food programme.

20 May

The UK Association of International Life Offices plans to establish minimum standards on anti-money laundering. The new standards will protect against the reputational risk of offshore operations incurred by members adopting the standards of the lightest-touch anti-money laundering regime. Chairman Alan Morgan Moodie says: "We recognise that it is in nobody’s interest, other than the money launderer, for member companies to compete on compliance."

United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice session concludes. The 13th session involved a review of the activities of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and other crime related matters. Resolutions adopted during the session include those aimed at reducing money laundering, terrorism and illicit trafficking of human organs.

Cook Islands step up anti-money laundering effort. Politicians have been asked to attend double sittings of parliament in an attempt to pass international standards of antimoney laundering and anti-terrorism legislation. Without these new laws the Cook Islands are unlikely to be removed from the Financial Action Task Force list of noncooperative countries and territories.

21 May

UK Financial Services Authority publishes consumer factsheet on identity checking. The factsheet, available at www.fsa.gov.uk, explains the need for identification and explains how firms check this information. The factsheet is aimed at customers of banks, building societies, life insurance companies and other regulated firms.

Ten Russian banks suspected of money laundering. Victor Zubkov, Director of the Federal Financial Monitoring Service says that ten institutions are suspected of money laundering but did not provide names.

23 May

Fiji establishes Transnational Crime Unit. The Fijian police force has signed a memorandum of agreement with the Fiji Inland Revenue and Customs Authority creating a unit to combat international criminal syndicates that use Fiji for their unlawful activities. Police Commissioner Andrew Hughes said "The only way to combat these international criminal groups is to co-operate closely between law enforcement agencies, to be smarter in our use of technology and to be backed by appropriate legislation."

24 May

Slovenian politicians demand session on corruption. Twenty-three lawmakers from 3 opposition political parties have requested an extraordinary session to discuss corruption and money laundering. An 18-page report has already been drafted, which includes a request for the Office for Money Laundering Prevention to submit a report on all investigations undertaken during the current government’s term. The report and agenda awaits approval by a competent parliamentary body.

Looking Forward

Indonesia

FATF to visit Indonesia. The Indonesian Minister for Economic Affairs, Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti has announced that a FATF team will visit Indonesia in June 2004 to evaluate Indonesia’s efforts to combat money laundering.

Middle East

United States and World Bank to develop anti-money laundering task force for the Middle East. The new task force is hoped to be in place by the end of 2004 and will be similar to the European Financial Action Task Force.

Argentina

The plenary meeting of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering in South America will take place in Buenos Aires between 21 – 23 July 2004.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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