Article: Credit Suisse scandals prompt Switzerland to think unthinkable: punish bankers

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Credit Suisse scandals prompt Switzerland to think unthinkable: punish bankers

John O’Donnell and Brenna Neghaiwi, Reuters, 28 May 2021

Exasperation with Credit Suisse following a string of scandals is prompting Switzerland to rethink a system in which top bankers have been largely untouchable.

Credit Suisse’s heavy losses from the collapse of family office Archegos and the decimation of billions of client investments backed by insolvent British financier Greensill have angered regulators and triggered a rare discussion among lawmakers about fining bankers.

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Article: The ex-convict’s tale: Germany’s role in Wirecard scandal under microscope

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The ex-convict’s tale: Germany’s role in Wirecard scandal under microscope

John O’donnell, Tom Sims, 23 April 2021

In February 2019, after a steep drop in Wirecard’s share price, German authorities launched criminal probes into short-sellers and journalists who had accused the company of fraud, and banned investors from betting against the company.

Documents seen by Reuters show for the first time that the only independent information – beyond Wirecard’s representations – received by Munich prosecutors who launched the criminal probes was a third-hand account of events from a convicted money launderer, Daniel James Harris.

The rationale that led to the decisions of prosecutors and regulators to launch the criminal probes and short-selling ban, and whether they were overzealous in supporting Wirecard, are central issues being investigated by a parliamentary inquiry into the company’s collapse in Germany’s biggest post-war fraud scandal. Continue reading “Article: The ex-convict’s tale: Germany’s role in Wirecard scandal under microscope”

Article: FinCEN Rules Seen As Potential ‘Killer’ Of Art, Antique Shops

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FinCEN Rules Seen As Potential ‘Killer’ Of Art, Antique Shops

Al Barbarino, 20 April 2021

The recent overhaul of federal anti-money laundering laws could drive small- and mid-sized antiquities and art shops out of business over what some experts believe are overblown links to terrorist financing and other illicit activity.

The rules in the works at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network through the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2021 aim to uncover what lawmakers have argued is a billion-dollar industry for the illicit trade of antiques and fine art.

But if small businesses aren’t exempt, the rules would weaken a sector of the industry that is still reeling from the impacts of COVID-19 with costly and time-consuming reporting requirements, industry attorneys said. Continue reading “Article: FinCEN Rules Seen As Potential ‘Killer’ Of Art, Antique Shops”

Article: FinCEN Signals Suspicion of Art Market Even Before AML Study Begins

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FinCEN Signals Suspicion of Art Market Even Before AML Study Begins

Nicholas O’Donnell, 24 March 2021

In connection with the late-2020 amendment to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) to include “dealers in antiquities” as a result of its inclusion in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has issued a notice of “Efforts Related to Trade in Antiquities and Art.”

The notice is a combination of guidance to entities now covered by the BSA, but it is also a potential backdoor around the entities that Congress chose not to regulate with respect to potential or perceived money laundering risks: art dealers. It also raises concerns about the objectivity of the forthcoming study of the art market that Congress instructed FinCEN to conduct. In either event, it is further evidence that momentum continues to gather for stricter oversight and regulation of the U.S. art market, and the importance of the art trade demonstrating more transparency and diligence if it hopes to modify or mitigate that regulation. Continue reading “Article: FinCEN Signals Suspicion of Art Market Even Before AML Study Begins”

Article: Europol highlights Russian money as biggest laundering threat

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Europol highlights Russian money as biggest laundering threat

John O’Donnell, 13 July 2019

Europe’s Baltic states are at risk from further Russian money laundering, a top European police official said after several big banks were hit by scandals centered on the region.

Pedro Felicio, who is responsible for fighting money laundering at European police agency Europol, told Reuters that “huge inflows of criminal money” are mainly coming into Europe from Russia and China.

Russian money is alleged to be at the heart of multi-billion dollar laundering rackets that engulfed Danske Bank, Denmark’s largest lender and Sweden’s Swedbank. Continue reading “Article: Europol highlights Russian money as biggest laundering threat”