Monday, October 05, 2020

Financial institution employees are the world’s first line of defense against money laundering

 Everyone lived their lives, only Rezeda lived in a dream.

A Day in the Life of the Daily Links Post at Naked Capitalism

How we create your morning Links post.

  • Good Question: ‘Who’s Your Death Hero?’
    Although Albert Camus does not come up in WHO'S YOUR DEATH HERO? — a conversation between the filmmaker Richard Kern and the writer who goes by the name of Supervert — he would be my candidate in answer to the title. Camus's declaration, “I want to keep my lucidity to... Read more

    "It is a newer problem that we incline to treat the historical past as a mood board.  I don't want to tell endearing little stories about Blighty in the Blitz. Fiction is the enemy of history. Fiction makes us believe in structure, in beginnings and middles and endings, in tragedy or comedy.  There is neither tragedy nor comedy in war, only disorder and harm."

A Kinder Gentler Social Medium?

In a landscape of social networks, Telepath stands out because it’s more about your interests than who you know, and it requires real names for the conversations. It’s also positioning itself as a kinder, more inclusive network by making a point to establish ground rules and moderation up front. – Protocol

How To Clean Up Web Comments? Let AI Interact With Commenters

These tools work to flag and categorize potentially harmful comments before a human can review them, helping to manage the workload and reduce the visibility of toxic content. Another approach that’s gained steam is to give commenters automated feedback, encouraging them to rethink a toxic comment before they hit publish. – Wired



A roundup of FinCEN Files reporting from North America

Ghost companies in Canada, Russian mirror trades, North Korean money moving through U.S. banks, Miami’s role in money laundering, and more.


A ‘ghost’ company – registered in the Canadian city of Calgary – employed Oleg Niculescu, who died when his fishing trawler sank. According to CBC/Radio-Canada, the story highlights the country’s scarce corporate accountability. NBC reports that North Korea had an “elaborate” scheme using a string of shell companies that moved money through U.S. banks. The Miami Herald and McClatchy looked at many things, including the role of Miami in major money laundering scandals. And BuzzFeed News reports on Deutsche Bank’s mirror trades … and about a mysterious company (there is a pattern here!) called ASK Trading.


That was the message from a high-level United Nations panel last week, which announced banks and governments were doing little to tackle tax abuses, money laundering and corruption. The panel’s co-chair Dalia Grybauskaitė said “too many governments are stuck in the past … we’re all being robbed, especially the world’s poor.” Just days after the first FinCEN Files stories were published, the panel lauded the work of reporters – including ICIJ and our network – for helping to generate the “sustained national political will” to force change.


The first United States taxpayer charged with crimes connected to our 2016 investigation, Panama Papers, could spend four years in prison for wire and tax fraud, money laundering, false statements and other charges. Judge Richard M. Berman said it wasn’t even a question to send Harald Joachim von der Goltz – who is 83 – to prison. “It can’t be that most of us pay our taxes, and 17% can willy-nilly disrespect the law,” he said, referring to government research about the scale of tax avoidance and evasion.


Massachusetts-based accountant Richard Gaffey will spend more than three years in prison after pleading guilty to eight crimes – including conspiracy to commit tax evasion. Judge Berman (who also proceeded over the aforementioned case) said: “We just can’t have CPAs [certified public accountants] and attorneys and other professionals using their special skills and expertise so blatantly and obviously to violate the law for financial gain.”


In Malta police arrested Keith Schembri, the country’s former top government adviser, and his auditor, Brian Tonna. The arrests are in connection with alleged kickbacks from passport sales to wealthy Russians. It comes after Schembri was forced to resign last November after being implicated in the 2017 car-bomb murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Developments in this story are ongoing - I’d recommend following our member Jacob Borg for all the latest.


U.S. lawmakers have taken steps to ban the import of goods connected with forced labor in China. Last week, the House of Representatives voted in favor of the ban, which would stop “certain products” from Xinjiang, the region in northwest China known for being home to the country’s internment camps – and forced labor. “We must send a clear message to Beijing: these abuses must end now,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. China Cables revealed how Uighur detainees were sent – under police watch – from camps to job sites. 

Thanks for reading.

Until Tuesday!


Amy Wilson-Chapman

ICIJ’s community engagement editor
P.S. If you’ve enjoyed our coverage this week, remember to tell your friends and family and share our work on social media with the hashtag #FinCENFiles. Send them an email now! 



A roundup of FinCEN Files reporting from Latin America

ICIJ's partners investigated suspicious transactions linked to corruption, schemes involving food and housing programs for the poor, and more.

FinCEN Files stories from around the globe

Find FinCEN Files stories from your country, and in your language.


FinCEN Files investigations from across Asia

From transactions linked to Olympic bids, fugitive financiers and terrorist organizations, see key stories by ICIJ’s media partners in Asia.

European lawmakers and regulators react to FinCEN Files

The investigation on global banking has prompted action in the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Portugal.


‘Wired to make money’: Barclays’ private bankers serve ultra-rich, as watchdogs sound alarms

The FinCEN Files investigation exposes tensions between British bank’s New York and London operations.

senator elizabeth warren and bernie sanders

FinCEN Files: Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren join watchdog groups in calling for banking reforms

The senators want tougher consequences for banks and their executives who move money linked to crime and corruption.


Mystery company ties accused temple raiders to art world elite

Where in the world is Pantheon Worldwide? Not even its own bank can say.

With Deutsche Bank’s help, an oligarch’s buying spree trails ruin across the US heartland

Secret transactions, lost jobs, worker injuries, gutted buildings, unpaid bills: Ihor Kolomoisky’s untold American legacy.


US Treasury Department abandoned major money laundering case against Dubai gold company

The Kaloti probe offers rare insight into the illicit gold trade.

Inside scandal-rocked Danske Estonia and the shell-company ‘factories’ that served it

A handful of secretive agencies mass-produce U.K. shell companies owned by criminals and launderers.


HSBC moved vast sums of dirty money after paying record laundering fine

 Europe’s biggest bank aided massive Ponzi scheme while on probation over ties to drug kingpins.

How banks helped Venezuela’s ‘boligarchs’ extract billions


The FinCEN Files show public money pouring out of the collapsing country.


Global banks defy U.S. crackdowns by serving oligarchs, and criminals

Trillions in tainted dollars flow freely through major banks, swamping a broken enforcement system.

Unchecked by banks, dirty cash destroys dreams and lives

From Ukraine to the United States, from Tunisia to Turkmenistan, FinCEN Files details the punishing human cost of laundered trillions.


Explore the FinCEN Files data

Explore the confidential data at the heart of the FinCEN Files.

Explore: Confidential Clients

These are the people zipping money across the world thanks to the global banking system.


Watch: How banks move dirty money around the world

The FinCEN Files investigation reveals the role of global banks in industrial-scale money laundering.

Watch: How money is laundered via New York banks

We explain the role of U.S.-based correspondent banks in facilitating the global flow of dirty money.


From a jumble of secret reports, damning data on big banks and dirty money

How we turned a leak into usable information exposing the futility of anti-money laundering efforts.

Watch: Behind the scenes of FinCEN Files

More than 400 reporters from 88 countries came together to investigate. This is how it happened.


About the FinCEN Files investigation

A 16-month long cross-border investigation involving more than 400 reporters.

Suspicious activity reports, explained

Financial institution employees are the world’s first line of defense against money laundering.