The Scottish Limited Partnership is a notorious financial secrecy vehicle that's been used to launder at least $80 billion, mostly from oligarchs and organised crime figures from the former USSR, in only four years. Read the rest
Amazon reported to the IRS that Patrick Reames had made $24,000 selling books on its Createspace self-publishing platform, but Patrick Reames never got a dime of that money; it appears that a money-launderer who had Reames's Social Security Number used a fake book to cash out money from stolen credit cards by buying the garbage book repeatedly and pocketing the 70% from each sale. Read the rest
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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