The world's worst money launderers are the UK, Switzerland and the USA

The USA has moved up in the Tax Justice Network's Financial Secrecy Index to number two, behind Switzerland; in reality, though, the UK is the world's worst money-laundry, but because its laundering activities are spread out over its overseas territories -- taken as a whole, the UK leads the world in helping criminals and looters hide their fortunes. Read the rest

Scottish police confirm requests from world governments to find money laundered through "the UK's homegrown secrecy vehicle"

Scottish Limited Partnerships (previously) are notorious corporate entities whose true owners are easily disguised, making them perfect vehicles for money laundry. Read the rest

Scotland is still a financial secrecy exporter, laundering billions for Russia's crime-bosses and oligarchs

If you're an oligarch in the former Soviet Union, chances are you owe your billions to corruption and even overt criminal activity, and your ability to hang onto that money is entirely contingent on the sufferance of the even-more-corrupt strongmen at the top, like Vladimir Putin -- one wrong move and you may find yourself stripped of your assets (or even assassinated in broad daylight). Read the rest

Anatomy of how crooks use financial secrecy in the UK and New Zealand to rip off international investors with impunity

The financial secrecy regimes in New Zealand and the UK create many opportunities for "jurisdictional regulatory arbitrage," playing each system's weaknesses off against the other to operate in near-perfect secrecy, creating companies whose owners are anonymized but still able to cash out the firms' profits -- an enormous boon to fraudsters who run Ponzi schemes and other dodgy enterprises that rely on the UK and New Zealands' reputation as places of good governance and financial uprightness. Read the rest

Treasure Islands: EU publishes a blacklist of 17 tax-havens and a long-list of runner-up tax avoidance jurisdictions

The EU's new blacklist of 17 money-laundering financial secrecy states includes South Korea, Mongolia, Namibia, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, and also includes a long-list of places like Guam, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. Read the rest

Europol warns us not top be suckered into serving as "money mules"

It's one thing to pull off a successful fraud online, it's another thing to get away with it -- when crooks order merchandise with stolen credit cards or make withdrawals with stolen bank details, they risk leaving a trail back to themselves. Read the rest

Leaked documents expose links between Trump’s commerce secretary and Putin’s son-in-law

Breaking news from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP): "A trove of 13.4 million records exposes ties between Russia and U.S. President Donald Trump’s billionaire commerce secretary, the secret dealings of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s chief fundraiser and the offshore interests of the queen of England and more than 120 politicians around the world."

Of note is the revelation that Wilbur Ross, Trump's commerce secretary, has massive financial ties to Russians under US sanctions.

In the United States, the files reveal foreign business ties and personal wealth practices of key Trump associates who are charged with helping to put “America First.”

The Appleby files show how Ross, Trump’s commerce secretary, has used a chain of Cayman Islands entities to maintain a financial stake in Navigator Holdings, a shipping company whose top clients include the Kremlin-linked energy firm Sibur. Among Sibur’s key owners are Kirill Shamalov, Russian President Putin’s son-in-law, and Gennady Timchenko, a billionaire the U.S. government sanctioned in 2014 because of his links to Putin. Sibur is a major customer of Navigator, paying the company more than $23 million in 2016.

When he joined Trump’s Cabinet, Ross divested his interests in 80 companies. But he kept stakes in nine companies, including the four that connect him to Navigator and its Russian clients.

These revelations come against a backdrop of growing concerns about hidden Russian involvement in U.S. political affairs.

Sibur is “a company with crony connections,” said Daniel Fried, a Russia expert who has served in senior State Department posts in both Republican and Democratic administrations.

Read the rest

Pharma giant Allergan pays Mohawk tribe to serve as human shields against patent challenges

Allergan has disclosed that it transferred title to six of its contested eye drug patents to the St Regis Mohawk band in upstate New York, in a bid to use the band's sovereign immunity to prevent generic pharma companies from dragging the company into court to show that its patents are invalid. Read the rest

Chinese government sources tell the WSJ they're about to shut down all domestic Bitcoin exchanges

China's "economic miracle" has been accompanied by mass-scale looting, creating a class of super-rich, corrupt millionaires and billionaires to rival the US or Russia; these 1%ers know that their wealth is subject to the whims of the Politburo, which is why they are so anxious to acquire second passports, and to exfiltrate their cash through baroque schemes, anodyne scams, and runaway property speculation. Read the rest

London house-purchase volume falls off a cliff

In May 2014, 259 Islington homes changed hands; in May 2016, 139 houses were sold in the Borough: this May, it was 89. Read the rest

How does money laundering actually work?

Educator Delena D. Spann digs into the concept of money laundering a.k.a. “any process that ‘cleans’ illegally obtained funds of their ‘dirty’ criminal origins, allowing them to be used within the legal economy.” Read the rest

Donald Trump and Eric Trump defrauded donors to kids' cancer charities

When Eric Trump raises money for kids' cancer charities at his annual Eric Trump Foundation golf invitational, he boasts that his events are super-efficient because he holds them at his dad's Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, New York, where "We get to use our assets 100% free of charge." He lied. Read the rest

When Theresa May called snap elections, she killed tax-haven reform

One of the consistently underreported elements of Brexit and all that's come after it is that leaving the EU will also let the UK -- the world's most prolific launderer of filthy criminal money -- escape the tightening noose of European anti-money-laundering measures. Read the rest

The IRS deliberately targeted innocents for civil forfeiture program that stole millions from Americans

Banks have to report deposits of $10,000 or more to the IRS, so some fraudsters "structure" their transactions as a string of sub-$10K payments that escape the regulatory requirement. Structuring is also illegal, and the IRS has the power to seize funds that the agency believes were part of a structuring scheme, under the discredited "civil fofeiture" process through which an inanimate object is sued for being the proceeds of a crime, and then the owner of that object has to prove that the object is "innocent." Read the rest

Australia leads the world in selling housing to money-launderers

A new Transparency International report ranks the world's most superheated urban property markets to find the most corrupt and finds that Australia is a playground for offshore criminals looking to launder their money, because "real estate agents are not subject to the provisions of the Anti-Money Laundering and CounterTerrorism Financing Act 2006," thus, "70 per cent of Chinese buyers pay in cash and they represent the largest proportion of foreign purchases in the country." Read the rest

More anti-money laundering measures hit China as top three Bitcoin exchanges freeze withdrawals

Bitcoin's spiking prices have been driven almost entirely by Chinese money-launderers trying to beat the country's currency controls -- controls that have tightened so much that it's tanking the world's real-estate markets as offshore buyers abandon their deposits and disappear. Read the rest

China's capital controls are working, and that's bursting the global real-estate bubble

More news on the Chinese crackdown on money-laundering and its impact on the global property bubble: the controls the Chinese government has put on "capital outflows" (taking money out of China) are actually working, and there's been a mass exodus of Chinese property buyers from the market, with many abandoning six-figure down payments because they can't smuggle enough money out of the country to make the installment payments. Read the rest

More posts