KYC360 Weekly Roundup - 15th Jul 2022

Published on Jul 15, 2022

Uber Files – Russia Sanctions – Terrorist Financing

Welcome to this week’s AML Roundup.  While they may pale in comparison to the vast trove of secrets exposed by the Pandora Papers, nonetheless the Uber Files open up their very own pandora’s box of revelations. They provide an unprecedented insight into how Uber used a budget of $90 million to fund backroom deals and high-level lobbying to persuade leading politicians to assist its aggressive expansion into Europe.

Meanwhile, as Western powers take stock of the effectiveness of the sanctions imposed on Russia, the implications of the war and subsequent actions are being felt across the region and beyond: fuelling a rise in organised crime; the threat of gas supplies being cut to Europe; and the fear of global food shortages.

We also report on terrorist financing and multiple nations’ attempts to stamp out this pernicious activity which has no bounds, nor boundaries for that matter. And to complete this week’s Roundup, we deliver the latest legislation, policies, & opinions, fraud & money laundering reports, together with other newsworthy items from around the world.

 

RequirementsUber Files

Massive leak reveals how Uber used a budget of $90 million to lobby top politicians

Thousands of leaked files have exposed how Uber courted some of the world’s top politicians and how far it went to avoid justice. Not only do they detail how Uber received help from the likes of Emmanuel Macron and ex-EU commissioner Neelie Kroes, they also disclose how a former boss ordered the use of a ‘kill switch’ to prevent police from accessing computers in the event of a raid.

Uber’s dark tricks revealed as it launched in Paris, Amsterdam and London

A detailed report reveals how Uber’s bludgeoning tactics were evident in just about every single European city it was launched in, nowhere more so than Paris, Amsterdam and London.

Video: Inside a global lobbying machine

This video provides a brief overview of how Uber would “embrace the chaos” as it stormed into new markets around the world, driven by assertive tactics, a huge team of lobbyists, and assisted by powerful friends.

Ex-Uber lobbyist Mark MacGann revealed as source of the Uber Files

Uber’s former chief European lobbyist came forward to reveal that he leaked the 18.69 GB of emails, text messages, and company records in order to expose Uber’s aggressive global rollout. Mark MacGann oversaw government relations and public policy in over 40 countries and was tasked with managing the company’s global expansion, which was rife with violations of local transportation laws.

The Uber Files – Live Aggregated News

The Laundry’s ‘live’ aggregated news page for the Uber Files, which is updated regularly with links to new content published by various global news outlets.

 

Financial_ServicesMoney Laundering, Fraud & Corruption

CEO charged with trafficking $1 billion in fraudulent and counterfeit cisco networking equipment

A US resident has been charged over a huge operation involving fraudulent and counterfeit Cisco networking equipment with an estimated retail value of over $1 billion. Onur Aksoy allegedly imported tens of thousands of fraudulent and counterfeit devices from China and Hong Kong and resold them in the US and overseas, while falsely claiming the products to be new and genuine

Financial asset managers charged over alleged $1.2 billion Venezuelan money laundering scheme

Two financial asset managers have been charged with money laundering relating to a $1.2 billion international scheme to launder funds that were corruptly obtained from Venezuela’s state-owned energy company.

Bernie Ecclestone to be charged with fraud by false representation

The Crown Prosecution Service is to charge former Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone with fraud by false representation following an investigation by HMRC into overseas assets believed to be worth more than £400m.

Reality show cast member pleads guilty to running nationwide telemarketing fraud scheme

Jennifer Shah, the star of ‘Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’ has pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a telemarketing scam. Shah was a key participant in a scheme that targeted elderly, vulnerable victims and sold false promises of financial security, but instead defrauded them of their savings

New Zealand Central Bank warns National Australia Bank’s local unit over AML breaches

New Zealand’s central bank has issued formal warning to National Australia Bank Ltd’s central Wellington branch for failing to report approximately 50,000 transactions as required by anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism (CFT) laws. 

Flutterwave’s accounts frozen in Kenya over money laundering claims

A Kenyan court has frozen over $40 million in accounts belonging to Africa-focused payments giant Flutterwave, citing the country’s anti-money laundering laws.

Book: ‘Delaware is everywhere: How a little-known tax haven made the rules for corporate America

One of the world’s biggest tax havens is the tiny, tax-free state of Delaware, USA. A new book sheds light on the lax corporate tax laws that have allowed over a million companies registered in Delaware to hide their true identity and engage in illegal financial activity.

Despite the crash crypto fraud continues to soar

Cyber security company NordVPN has revealed that even though cryptocurrency prices have plummeted, money stolen from crypto frauds has soared. Total losses from crypto fraud were more than £226m in the year to May 2022, compared with over £142.9m over the previous 12 months 

EU to adopt one of the most comprehensive crypto-asset regulatory regimes in the world

New EU legislation is set to crack down on the illicit use of crypto-assets while providing greater protection for law-abiding traders and investors. 

Graff Diamonds pays hackers $6.3 million in Bitcoin to protect the likes of Oprah Winfrey, David Beckham, and Donald Trump

The Russian hackers stole 69,000 sensitive documents in a virtual heist which included data on world leaders, Hollywood A-listers, and billionaire tycoons. Customers names, invoices, receipts, and credit notes were obtained which could reveal who has given gifts to secret lovers or accepted bribes with jewellery.

 

RequirementsLegislation, Regulation and Sustainability

Turkey detains 12 suspected of funding ISIS

Turkish security forces have detained 12 individuals accused of financing Islamic State terrorists in an operation that is targetting the terrorist group’s financial sources. The suspects are suspected of transferring funds to terrorists and their families living in Turkey and Syria.

Pakistan jails orchestrator of deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks for 15 years in terror financing case

Sajid Majeed Mir, one of the world’s most wanted terrorists has been jailed for over 15 years in a terror-financing case. The sentencing comes as Pakistan struggles to exit the grey list of the FATF and is preparing for an on-site visit by the officials from the global terror financing watchdog to verify the implementation of Pakistan’s anti-money laundering and terrorism-financing reforms.

Opinion: Russia should fear being declared a state sponsor of terrorism

Actions by Russia, including its attack on a shopping mall in Ukraine, have increased the pressure on the US to declare Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. If this were to pass, observers believe the resultant impact would be significant and could affect the Russian economy for decades.

BRICS countries pledge to combat terrorist finance networks, cross-border movement, and safe heavens

The world’s leading emerging economies, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, have strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms, including the cross-border movement of terrorists, safe havens, and terrorism financing networks.

US Homeland Security could do more to address domestic terrorism

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) has said that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) needs to do more to prevent domestic terrorism in the United States. Following an audit, the OIG released its findings in a 29-page OIG report that made six recommendations.

Report: Joint Statement on the risk-based approach to assessing customer relationships and conducting customer due diligence

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued a joint statement. Its aim is to remind banks of the risk-based approach to assessing customer relationships and conducting customer due diligence (CDD).

The Global Coalition to Fight Financial Crime publishes Effectiveness Expert position paper

The Global Coalition to Fight Financial Crime has published the results from leading AML/CTF Experts on Effectiveness. The resultant “Effectiveness” paper makes several recommendations, including the importance of enhanced information sharing, public private partnership, national risk prioritisation, utility models, digital typologies and data standardisation.

Fact Sheet: Framework for International Engagement on Digital Assets

The publication, produced in consultation with multiple government offices, is the latest manifestation of President Biden’s executive order on digital assets which was signed in March. The fact sheet sets out the objectives of the framework as well as how the US and its agencies interface with other entities around the world.

The EU Global Facility on AML/CFT has organised numerous activities around the world

The latest newsletter from the EU Global Facility on AML/CFT, reports that over the last few months, it has organised activities around the globe, reaching the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, and Asia. 

Opinion: Five problems with economic crime policing and how to solve them

The Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies at RUSI gathered a group of experts from operational policing, academia and civil society to build a blueprint for the future, which outlines clear principles for reform.  

 

Sanctions-1Sanctions

NCA and OFSI issue red alert on financial sanctions evasion typologies by Russian elites and enablers

The purpose of the alert is to provide information from law enforcement and the legal and financial services sectors on some of the common techniques designated persons (DPs) and their UK enablers are suspected of using to evade financial sanctions.

EU Commission updates Russia sanctions FAQs

The EU Commission has recently updated its Russia sanctions most frequently asked questions (FAQs) covering both deposits and trusts services to help organisations ensure they are up to date with the very latest compliance regulations.

Insight: Russia’s 2022 Invasion of Ukraine: Overview of U.S. Sanctions and Other Responses

The US Congressional Research Service has published a new report that details the various sanctions and related actions that the US Congress under the Biden Administration has imposed on Russia since February 21, 2022. 

UK introduces additional economic sanctions against Belarus

The UK Government has introduced a further round of financial, trade and transport sanctions against Belarus in response to its continuing support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Video: Putin cuts off Europe’s gas with the closure of Nordstream 1 pipeline for maintenance

Russia has shut down the Nordstream 1 pipeline, purportedly for annual maintenance. But many are questioning whether it will be turned back on, shutting off Europe’s access to Russian gas and putting vast swathes of the continent under increased strain.

Report: Rebellion as racket – Crime and the Donbas conflict 2014-2022

Since Russia first supported the rebellions in south-eastern Donbas, there has been a growing connection between crime, war and insurrection. Today, industrial-scale smuggling sustains the internationally unrecognized pseudo-states; gangsters became militiamen; and money-laundering networks bypass sanctions.

Deal in sight to end Ukrainian grain blockade

Talks aimed at resuming Ukrainian grain exports have produced a deal, raising hopes for an end to the blockade by Russia, which left millions at risk of starvation. Turkey reported that both sides had agreed to ensure the safety of shipping routes for grain ships and the deal would be signed next week.

 

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