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Books: Something Will Turn Up

Books: Something Will Turn Up, by David Smith

The Sunday Times economics editor David Smith presents a readable, informative history of the British economy since World War II.

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Great Britain was the first leading manufacturing country. Even as late as 1950, it produced 25% of the world’s manufacturing exports. It generated a trade surplus in manufactured goods that amounted to as much as 10% of its gross domestic product (GDP).

Until the 1970s, the United Kingdom’s West Midlands manufacturing region maintained wage levels just slightly lower than those of the prosperous and diversified southeast region around London. That stands in marked contrast to today’s large income disparity between the regions. When the trade surplus in manufactured goods disappeared in 1982, never to return, it took many well-paid blue-collar Midlands jobs with it.

As the British Empire became the Commonwealth, its countries maintained strong trade links with the United Kingdom, underpinned by continuing preferential trade agreements. In the 1950s, the UK traded 40% of its exports and 35% of its imports with Commonwealth nations. Given the damage World War II had inflicted on mainland Europe’s economy, the captive markets of the Commonwealth gave the UK a postwar advantage. But that contributed to complacency and a lack of investment in British manufacturing; Britain took the Commonwealth markets for granted.

While Europe – and especially Germany – recovered its manufacturing capability in the postwar period, Britain’s manufacturing continued to decline. It suffered from low investment, a “failure to modernize,” inflation and poor industrial relations. High interest rates decimated the sector during the “strong pound recession” of the early 1980s. Four million manufacturing jobs disappeared between 1973 and 1983.

The volume of manufactured goods peaked in 1973 and didn’t regain those heights, in real terms, until 2010. Specialized manufacturing still matters to the United Kingdom. Japanese-owned automobile plants have returned the UK to its status as a net car producer, but other sectors of the economy have since become more important than manufacturing.

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.