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AML EU framework

5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (Amendments to the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive)

​The 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive, which amends the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 19 June 2018. The Member States should have been transposed this Directive by 10 January 2020.

These amendments introduce substantial improvement to better equip the Union to prevent the financial system from being used for money laundering and for funding terrorist activities.

These amendments will:
– enhance transparency by setting up publicly available registers for companies, trusts and other legal arrangements;
– enhance the powers of EU Financial Intelligence Units, and provide them with access to broad information for the carrying out of their tasks;
– limit the anonymity related to virtual currencies and wallet providers, but also for pre-paid cards;
– broaden the criteria for the assessment of high-risk third countries and improve the safeguards for financial transactions to and from such countries;
– set up central bank account registries or retrieval systems in all Member States;
– improve the cooperation and enhance of information between anti-money laundering supervisors between them and between them and prudential supervisors and the European Central Bank.

 

Here you can find the factsheet on the main changes of the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive

 

Polaris project and modern human slavery

What human trafficking is…and isn’t?
Human trafficking is the business of stealing freedom for profit. In some cases, traffickers trick, defraud or physically force victims into providing commercial sex. In others, victims are lied to, assaulted, threatened or manipulated into working under inhumane, illegal or otherwise unacceptable conditions. It is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that denies freedom to 24.9 million people around the world.

Globally, there are two general categories of human trafficking: sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Sex trafficking is the crime of using force, fraud or coercion to induce another individual to perform commercial sex. Common types include escort services, pornography, illicit massage businesses, brothels, outdoor solicitation. Labor trafficking is the crime of using force, fraud or coercion to induce another individual to work or provide service. Common types include agriculture, domestic work, restaurants, cleaning services, and carnivals.

Polaris project it is an American nonprofit organization that stands on global fight to eradicate modern slavery, focused mainly on US cases.

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Telling the refugee crisis with Muhammed Muheisen

Telling Their Stories – behind the lens with Muhammed Muheisen

Muhammed Muheisen is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist. He has been documenting the refugee crisis around the world for over a decade and is the founder of Everyday Refugees Foundation.

As the former Associated Press Chief Photographer for the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan he covered conflicts across the region as well documented major events in Europe, Asia, Africa and the U.S. He spent four years in Pakistan as AP’s Chief Photographer for the region, and for the last several years has been documenting the refugee crisis across Europe. Most recently his work has focused on the issue of stranded unaccompanied refugee minors for the National Geographic Magazine.

Veaceslav Platon and Russian Laundromat

How Veaceslav Platon’s High Life in Kyiv Came Crashing Down

Elina Cobaleva, a Russian celebrity stylist,vis the ex-wife of Veaceslav Platon, a Moldovan businessman, and one of the country’s richest men. The two were married in 2001 and divorced in 2014.

An Instagram photo showing a Bentley Continental GT V8 doing 250 kilometers an hour reads “We take off. #IAmRocket #Gagarin.” Elina Cobaleva sits behind the wheel.

Using banking and customs records, RISE Moldova, an OCCRP partner, tracked the purchase of the Bentley and discovered that the luxury car was paid for with money received from the Russian Laundromat, a US$ 20.8 billion financial fraud scheme uncovered by OCCRP in 2014.

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Moldova involved in Russian Laundromat

The “Laundromat” – a financial vehicle to move vast sums of money out of Russia through banks for years. The billions were moved from Russia, into and through the 112 bank accounts that comprised the system in eastern Europe, then into banks around the world.

Reporters can now say that much of the money ultimately found its way to Russian businessmen who own groups of companies involved in construction, engineering, information technology, and banking. All held hundreds of millions of US dollars in state contracts either with the government directly, or with state-owned entities.

Money that might have helped repair the country’s deteriorating roads and ports, modernize the health care system, or ease the poverty of senior citizens – was instead deposited in a Moldovan bank. At the other end of the Laundromat, money flowed out for luxuries, for rock bands touring Russia, and on a small Polish non-governmental organization that pushed Russia’s agenda in the European Union. (It is run by Mateusz Piskorski, a Polish pro-Kremlin party leader arrested for spying for Russia).

Well-known companies unwittingly took part when beneficiaries used their Laundromat money to buy goods and services: South Korea’s Samsung received laundered money, as did the Swedish telecom company Ericsson, and the toolmaker Black & Decker. In the United States, $500,000 went to Total Golf Construction Inc., the company that boasts of renovating a Donald Trump golf course on Canouan Island in the Grenadines.

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Moneygram admited Anti-Money Laundering violations …

United States Department of Justice on November 9, 2012
Moneygram International Inc. Admits Anti-Money Laundering and Wire Fraud Violations, Forfeits $100 Million in Deferred Prosecution

MoneyGram International Inc. – a global money services business headquartered in Dallas – has agreed to forfeit $100 million and enter into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the Justice Department in which it admits to criminally aiding and abetting wire fraud and failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program, as charged in an information filed today in the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

According to court documents, MoneyGram was involved in mass marketing and consumer fraud phishing schemes, perpetrated by corrupt MoneyGram agents and others, that defrauded tens of thousands of victims in the United States.  MoneyGram also failed to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program in violation of the Bank Secrecy Act.  The Justice Department will return the forfeited funds to the victims of the fraud scheme through its Victim Asset Recovery Program.

“MoneyGram’s broken corporate culture led the company to privilege profits over everything else,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer.  “MoneyGram knowingly turned a blind eye to scam artists and money launderers who used the company to perpetrate fraudulent schemes targeting the elderly and other vulnerable victims.  In addition to forfeiting $100 million, which will be used to compensate victims, MoneyGram must for the next five years retain a corporate monitor who will report regularly to the Justice Department.”

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The power of free market

Milton Friedman: The Power of the Market (Free To Choose – 1980) vol.1

America’s freedom and prosperity derive from the combination of the idea of human liberty in America’s Declaration of Independence with the idea of economic freedom in Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. Friedman explains how markets and voluntary exchange organize activity and enable people to improve their lives. He also explains the price system. Friedman visits Hong Kong, U.S. and Scotland.

Free To Choose: The Original 1980 TV Series
Free To Choose® is the ground-breaking PBS television series featuring Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize-winning economist. These programs, filmed on location around the world, have helped millions of people understand the close relationship between the ideas of human freedom and economic freedom. The interaction between those ideas has created in the U.S. the richest and freest society the world has ever known. Milton Friedman sees this success threatened by the tendency in the last few decades to assume that government intervention is the answer to all problems. In these programs, which first aired on January 11, 1980, Dr. Friedman focuses on basic principles. How do markets work? Why has socialism failed? Can government help economic development? The 1980 version consists of 10 one-hour programs.

Why states fail and how to rebuild them ?!

Reading of the day -> The Economist: Why states fail and how to rebuild them
What we can learn from countries that failed to build themselves?!

failed-state-001_

– Few things matter more than fixing failed states. Broadly defined, state failure provides “a general explanation for why poor countries are poor”. Life in a failed or failing state is short and harsh.

– Lawless regions, such as the badlands of Pakistan and Yemen, act as havens for terrorists.[…] In the most extreme form of state failure, in places like Somalia, the central government does not even control the capital city. In milder forms, as in Nigeria, the state is far from collapse but highly dysfunctional and unable to control all of its territory. Or, as in North Korea today or China under Mao Zedong, it controls all of its territory but governs in a way that makes everyone but a tiny elite much worse off.

– The key to understanding state failure is “institutions, institutions, institutions”.

– States are not wretched and unstable because of geography—if so, how to explain the success of landlocked Botswana? Nor is culture the main culprit: if so, South Koreans would not be more than 20 times richer than North Koreans. Some societies have “inclusive institutions that foster economic growth”; others have “extractive institutions that hamper it”.

The world’s newest country, South Sudan has received billions of dollars of aid and the advice of swarms of consultants since seceding from Sudan in 2011, but has failed to build any institutions worthy of the name. South Sudan failed to build institutions that transcended tribal loyalties or curbed the power of warlords. There are plenty of government buildings, including state ministries of education, culture and health. But none of them does much. Nowhere in South Sudan does the state do what it is supposed to.

The fighting becomes tribal because warlords recruit by stirring up ethnic tension so that their kinsmen will rally to them. This creates a vicious circle. Lacking protection from other institutions, people seek it from their own tribe. Rather than demand evenhanded government, they back tribal leaders, knowing that they will steal and hoping they will share the spoils with their kin.

– “The politics of the vast majority of societies throughout history has led, and still leads today, to extractive institutions.” These tend to last because they give rulers the resources to pay armies, bribe judges and rig elections to stay in power. These rulers adopt bad policies not because they are ignorant of good ones but on purpose. Letting your relatives embezzle is bad for the nation but great for your family finances.

– But failed states are not doomed to stay that way. Even states that have collapsed completely can be rebuilt. Liberia and Sierra Leone were stalked by drug-addled child soldiers a decade and a half ago; now both are reasonably calm. The key is nearly always better leadership: think of how China changed after Mao died. Many bad rulers continue deliberately to adopt bad policies, but they can be—and often are—replaced with better ones.

Afghanistan case. Afghanistan’s president since 2014, Mr Ghani is a former academic and author of a book called “Fixing Failed States”. His TED talk on fixing broken states has been viewed 750,000 times. Now he is trying to put his own theories into practice.