Monday, June 27, 2011

FATF: no sanctions for Argentina, progress recognized, but seriously concerned

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is not sanctioning Argentina for lack of compliance with international standards on the fight against money laundering. The Force has also recognized Argentina’s legislative efforts aimed at improving the criminalization of money laundering.

However, following its summit in Mexico City, it has issued an official statement expressing concern over the improvements in compliance with international standards on money laundering and financial terrorism. FATF considered that “substantial progress to improve the criminalization of terrorist financing has not yet taken place.”
The Force also said to remain "seriously concerned about the risks that such deficiencies may pose.”
The organization expects more substantial progress by Argentina by October 2011. “In particular, the FATF expects Argentina to fully address the FATF´s concerns regarding the criminalization of money laundering in accordance with international standards, present to the FATF a draft law criminalizing terrorist financing in accordance with international standards.”
It ha also recommended the country steps in the effort of meeting the Force’s expectations that include adequately criminalizing money laundering and terrorist financing; establishing and implementing adequate procedures for the confiscation of funds related to money laundering and identifying and freezing terrorist assets; enhancing financial transparency; ensuring a fully operational and effectively functioning Financial Intelligence Unit and improving suspicious transaction reporting; as well as establishing appropriate channels for international cooperation and ensuring effective implementation, among others

Michael Hearns an Anti Money Laundering specialist with over 24 years of AML experience can also be found at and on twitter at :!/LaunderingMoney

Thursday, June 16, 2011

People's Bank of China releases report on money laundering activities

By Yan Jie
China Daily

Corrupt officials and company executives in China transfer their assets overseas through at least eight channels, according to a report released on Monday by the Anti-Money Laundering Monitoring and Analysis Center set up by the People's Bank of China. 
Often a combination of legal and illegal channels is used to make cross-border transfers of ill-gotten gains, the report said. 
The eight main channels are smuggling cash, underground banking services, trade under current accounts, overseas investment, credit cards, offshore financial centers, direct overseas payments and payments to family members or lovers living overseas. 
However, the exact amount of assets transferred overseas, since Chinese officials on corruption charges began to flee the country at the end of the 1980s, remains a mystery, said the report. 
The report quotes statistics released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, which estimate that up to 800 billion yuan ($123 billion) has been transferred overseas by fleeing or missing officials and company executives since the mid-1990s. 
The cross-border transfer of such assets causes huge losses to the country as the majority cannot be recovered and their whereabouts are hard to find, the report added. 
The report also provided details about the destinations for corrupt officials and businesspeople. 
People with a higher rank or larger assets tended to flee to Western countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands. 
Those who cannot reach Western countries directly, use Hong Kong or some small countries in Africa, East Europe and Latin America as a stopover. 
Those with lower rankings or smaller assets often find safe havens in China's neighboring countries such as Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Mongolia and Russia.

Michael Hearns an Anti Money Laundering specialist with over 24 years of AML experience can also be found at and on twitter at :!/LaunderingMoney

Monday, June 13, 2011

International Money Launderer pleads guilty in court

By Samuel Rubenfield
Wall Street Journal

A Romanian national pleaded guilty Thursday in a Washington, D.C. federal court to leading an international money laundering network for a transnational crime network based in Eastern Europe.
Roman Teodor, a resident of Romania, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and he faces up to 20 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 29.
Teodor was indicted along with five co-defendants on Jan. 9, 2008.
According to court documents, the scheme operated from July 2005 to November 2006, and it involved the posting of fraudulent ads on eBay and other websites offering expensive vehicles and boats that the conspirators didn’t possess. Victims seeking to purchase the boats or vehicles wired money to an entity that appeared to be affiliated with eBay but wasn’t.
Instead, the money would be wired directly to bank accounts in Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland controlled by the conspirators,  netting them about $1.4 million, according to the Justice Department.
One of the co-defendants in the case, Georgi Vasilev Pletnyov, pleaded guilty in April, and is scheduled to be sentenced a week before Teodor. Three other co-defendants were already sentenced, and a fourth remains on the loose.

Michael Hearns an Anti Money Laundering specialist with over 24 years of AML experience can also be found at and on twitter at :!/LaunderingMoney

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Money Laundering group in Australia dismantled

By The Daily Mail
To the outside world, it was a shabby, back-street fabric shop in Cabramatta run by a slight Vietnamese woman called "Boss Lady". But Trang Thi Phuong Nguyen, 55, was trading in much more than cotton and silk.
She was the mastermind behind an elaborate money-laundering operation that allegedly transferred $2 million out of the country. Incredibly, Nguyen honed her skills after a stint with AUSTRAC, a federal government agency responsible for monitoring money laundering in Australia.
Court documents show Nguyen, who over the past decade has been the manager of five legal money transferring businesses in NSW, trained with AUSTRAC in 2007.
Over a 10-week period, Nguyen orchestrated 234 illegal transfers of cash to Vietnam from the material shop in  Cabramatta and a grocery store in Bankstown.
She legally operated money-transfer businesses in each shop, but in 2007 allowed customers to transfer cash amounts greater than $100,000 by breaking the money into separate amounts of less than $10,000 to overcome her statutory obligation of reporting the transfers to AUSTRAC.
The court heard that on one occasion a "short Vietnamese woman" asked an employee to split $142,941 in to 25 separate money transfers.Nguyen was sentenced to five years' jail after losing an appeal in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal last month. These were made out to a series of false names but were all destined to go to the one location, court documents said.
Another included up to 12 transfers to different names all written in the same handwriting, court documents show.Nguyen marked the broken up amounts with the instruction "giao chung" - "deliver together" - the court heard. Court documents show she also had agents in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia who transferred money to Vietnam.

Michael Hearns an Anti Money Laundering specialist with over 24 years of AML experience can also be found at and on twitter at :!/LaunderingMoney

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Feds arrest 16 in cocaine trafficking, money laundering bust

Federal authorities say they have arrested 16 suspects and dismantled a major Mexican drug trafficking ring operating out of metro Atlanta.
U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said alleged drug traffickers and money launderers were arrested early Wednesday as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration's three-year "Operation G-60″ investigation.  She said more than $7 million worth of cocaine  and more than $ 1 million in "dirty drug money" was confiscated.
“Operation G-60 has dealt a severe blow to the Mexican drug cartels operating in the metro Atlanta area," Yates said.
"These traffickers were clearly working under the direction of Mexican drug cartel leadership," said John S. Comer, acting special agent in charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division. " The substances that they distributed clearly destroyed lives."
The federal charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of up to $4 million.
Agents seized  312 kilograms of cocaine, about 1,525 kilograms of marijuana and more than $1.5 million in drug money. Wednesday's arrests were part of a criminal indictment handed down by a federal grand jury on May 11 in which 32 individuals were charged for their participation in various drug-related criminal offenses, including conspiring and possessing with intent to distribute at least 5 kilograms of cocaine and at least 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, as well as related money laundering charges.
Yates said the trafficking ring consisted of  several  “cells” in the Atlanta area. Some of those arrested allegedly were responsible for transporting drugs and drug money, and maintaining “stash houses” and vehicles used by the organization in metro Atlanta.
The suspects arrested included  Marvin Edleman Rodas-Perez, 39 of Norcross;   Fatima Vasquez, 24, of  Lawrenceville; Jose Valencia, 34, of Stockbridge;  Martin Ayala-Casteneda, 34, of College Park;   Jose Vargas, 29, of Morrow; Jose Sanchez-Valencia, 22, of Stockbridge;  Geovany Martinez-Vargas, 23, of Stockbridge;  Sonia Sanchez, 34, of Atlanta;  Carmen Barbosa Mendoza, 33, of Gwinnett County;   Tomar Shaw, 32, of Fairburn;  David Sanchez, 31, of Johns Creek;  Juan Castinanda, 25, of Johns Creek;   Rudy Valencia, 27, of Johns Creek;  Roberto Lopez-Martinez, 28, of Atlanta; Wilson Tejada, 30, of New York, NY; and Maria Del Rosario Diaz-Garcia, 28. No city was given for Diaz-Garcia.

Michael Hearns an Anti Money Laundering specialist with over 24 years of AML experience can also be found at and on twitter at :!/LaunderingMoney