US reaches deal with Vietnam on currency manipulation
KUWAIT TIMES, 19 July 2021
WASHINGTON: The United States and Vietnam on Monday said they had reached an agreement to resolve a dispute over the value of Hanoi’s dong currency, which Washington had briefly accused it of manipulating. Washington in April withdrew its accusation, but Vietnam remains on the US Treasury’s “Monitoring List” for scrutiny of its currency policies.
The new agreement will resolve the dispute between the two countries, according to the joint statement. “Treasury and the (State Bank of Vietnam) have had constructive discussions in recent months through the enhanced engagement process, and reached agreement to address Treasury’s concerns about Vietnam’s currency practices,” the statement said. Continue reading “Article: US reaches deal with Vietnam on currency manipulation”
U.K. Fraud Unit Finds Bribe Network Behind World’s Cobalt Hub
Michael Kavanagh, 15 July 2021
U.K. prosecutors have told Swiss authorities they have proof of an alleged money-laundering ring spanning from Africa to Europe that paid almost $380 million in cash bribes to authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Companies repeatedly bribed officials to further their business interests in the mineral-rich nation, according to the Swiss court judgment that cited information from U.K. prosecutors. Congo is Africa’s biggest producer of copper and supplies about 70% of the world’s cobalt, a critical input for the batteries that power electric vehicles. Continue reading “Article: U.K. Fraud Unit Finds Bribe Network Behind World’s Cobalt Hub”
Architect of the Century’s Biggest Tax Scheme Arrested in Switzerland
ISOBEL VAN HAGEN, 14 July 2021
A German tax attorney, and the mastermind behind the so-called biggest tax scandal of the century, was arrested by Swiss authorities last week on an extradition warrant. An expert told the OCCRP on Tuesday that like all others involved in the multi-billion affair, Hanno Berger too will say he never broke any law.
Berger is believed to have helped organize and promote share deals that exploited a loophole in German law used by some 900 financial institutions and individuals across Europe. The scheme became known as Cum-Ex and has cost treasuries across the continent some 55 billion euro (US$65 billion). Continue reading “Article: Architect of the Century’s Biggest Tax Scheme Arrested in Switzerland”
U.S. Attorney Announces Extradition And Guilty Plea Of Israeli Securities Trader For Participating In A Global Insider Trading Ring
Department of Justice, 25 June 2021
Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced the unsealing today of a 15-count superseding indictment charging DOV MALNIK and TOMER FEINGOLD with offenses relating to their roles as securities traders in a wide-ranging international insider trading ring who made millions of dollars in illicit profits by trading based on misappropriated inside information. MALNIK, a citizen of Israel and Lithuania, was arrested in Switzerland on October 7, 2020, was extradited on June 10, 2021, from Switzerland, and pled guilty today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron. FEINGOLD remains at large. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero. Continue reading “Article: U.S. Attorney Announces Extradition And Guilty Plea Of Israeli Securities Trader For Participating In A Global Insider Trading Ring”
Money returned to victims of nearly $2 billion Ponzi scheme totals $722 million
MARY DIVINE, 15 June 2021
Doug Kelley has been working since 2008 to help organizations and individuals who lost billions in the Twin Cities businessman Tom Petters’ Ponzi scheme, the biggest financial crime in Minnesota history.
The bankruptcy trustee’s search to collect assets linked to Petters’ $1.925 billion scheme spanned 26 countries, including the Cayman Islands, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the British Virgin Islands.
Now, after 13 years, he says his work is almost done. Continue reading “Article: Money returned to victims of nearly $2 billion Ponzi scheme totals $722 million”
Forex Whistleblower Trevor Kitchen Wins Appeal of Extradition Case
Geoff Schweller, 15 June 2021
A Portuguese Court of Appeals ruled against a request from Switzerland for the extradition of whistleblower Trevor Kitchen, a British citizen currently residing on the Mediterranean island of Madeira. The decision goes against the wishes of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, which sought Kitchen’s extradition to Switzerland to face charges of defamation. Kitchen believes the extradition request was retaliation from Swiss authorities for his whistleblowing on currency manipulation. Continue reading “Article: Forex Whistleblower Trevor Kitchen Wins Appeal of Extradition Case”
France opens graft probe into Lebanon’s central bank chief
Associated Press, 07 June 2021
PARIS — The French national financial prosecutor’s office has opened a preliminary investigation into the actions of Lebanon’s central bank governor involving potential money laundering, the prosecutor’s office said Monday.
The French move came months after Switzerland started a probe into possible money laundering and embezzlement at Lebanon’s central bank, which is now at the center of an unprecedented financial crisis roiling the small Mediterranean country. The French prosecutor’s office said the investigation around Riad Salameh was opened in late May involving potential charges of money laundering and association with an organized criminal group. It gave no further details. Continue reading “Article: France opens graft probe into Lebanon’s central bank chief”
France probes Lebanese central bank chief’s wealth
AFP, 06 June 2021
PARIS: France has opened a probe into the personal wealth of Riad Salameh, central bank chief in crisis-hit Lebanon, sources told AFP Sunday.
Paris financial prosecutors have opened a preliminary probe into criminal association and money laundering by Salameh, a source close to the investigation and a judicial source said, following a similar move by Switzerland. Its findings could shed light onto the origins of the 70-year-old former Merill Lynch banker’s wealth. Continue reading “Article: France probes Lebanese central bank chief’s wealth”
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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Swiss bank to pay almost $80MN fine after admitting to money laundering charges linked to bribery scheme of football officials
Paul Childs, 29 May 2021
Julius Baer, the third largest bank in Switzerland, has been ordered to pay a fine of more than $40 million and forfeit another $36 million after being found to have laundered money which was paid as bribes to football officials. The financial settlement comes amid an investigation by the US Department of Justice and is part of a deferred prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors after the DOJ said that the bank purposefully laundered cash through the US “to conceal the true nature of the payments and promote the fraud”.
The scheme saw illegal payments issued by sports marketers to officials from both FIFA and South American governing body CONMEBOL in return for rights to broadcast football matches. Continue reading “Article: Swiss bank to pay almost $80MN fine after admitting to money laundering charges linked to bribery scheme of football officials”
Bank Julius Baer Agrees to Pay More than $79 Million for Laundering Money in FIFA Scandal
Department of Justice, 27 May 2021
Bank Julius Baer & Co. Ltd. (BJB or the Bank), a Swiss bank with international operations, has admitted today in federal court in Brooklyn that it conspired to launder over $36 million in bribes through the United States to soccer officials with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and other soccer federations, in furtherance of a scheme in which sports marketing companies bribed soccer officials in exchange for broadcasting rights to soccer matches. The proceeding was held before U.S. District Judge Pamela K. Chen.
The Bank made these admissions and entered into a three-year deferred prosecution agreement with the department in connection with a criminal information filed today in the Eastern District of New York charging the Bank with conspiring to commit money laundering. As part of this agreement, the Bank has agreed to pay more than $79 million in penalties (including a fine of $43,320,000 and forfeiture of $36,368,400) to resolve the investigation into its involvement in a money laundering conspiracy that fueled this international soccer bribery scheme. Continue reading “Article: Bank Julius Baer Agrees to Pay More than $79 Million for Laundering Money in FIFA Scandal”
Groundbreaking research provides insight into operations of Italian mafias across Europe
Michael Steward, 24 May 2021
A groundbreaking new report by researchers in Essex has provided the first analysis into the expansion of Italian mafias across Europe. The report, published by the University of Essex, highlights how criminal groups embed themselves in countries and operate across borders, and the challenges of policing mafia-type crime.
Using Italy as a starting point, the research focused on seven countries – the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Romania, and Switzerland. For mafia groups, territories outside Italy are places where they can consolidate certain business or venture into new ones. The report revealed how mafia groups operate very differently in each country. Continue reading “Article: Groundbreaking research provides insight into operations of Italian mafias across Europe”
Head of volleyball body targeted by Brazilian fraud probe
MAURICIO SAVARESE, 20 May 2021
SAO PAULO (AP) — The president of the International Volleyball Federation is being investigated in his native Brazil as part of a wider fraud probe launched on Thursday. Rio de Janeiro police and state prosecutors said in a statement that Ary Graça, who has headed FIVB since 2012, and nine other people are suspected of tax fraud, money laundering and identity fraud.
Investigators say Graça used money from a sponsorship deal between Banco do Brasil and the Brazilian Volleyball Confederation to pay for contracts with suspected shell companies in the city of Saquarema, outside Rio de Janeiro. Graça was head of the Brazilian body until 2014. A former mayor of the city was also charged. Continue reading “Article: Head of volleyball body targeted by Brazilian fraud probe”
Fed Govt seeks seizure, repatriation of illicit funds
Nduka Chiejina, 19 May 2021
The Federal Government yesterday appealed to countries that are the main destination for illicit financial flows (IFFs) to freeze, seize and repatriate such funds. Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Mrs. Zainab Ahmed made the appeal during a virtual International Conference on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) and Asset Recovery.
According to her, countries that are the main destination for IFFs and their proceeds should take urgent steps to assist in combating this scourge, by preventing the inflow of illicit funds, freezing or seizing assets already in the country, and by ensuring that illicit funds and any proceeds are repatriated. The government is also leading the call for African countries to be present when decisions on IFFs are taken at a global level. Continue reading “Article: Fed Govt seeks seizure, repatriation of illicit funds”
The Swiss National Bank’s US Stocks: $150 Billion And Counting – OpEd
MISES, 15 May 2021
This time last year, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) had US stock holdings of $94 billion. The portfolio of Switzerland’s central bank has grown by $56 billion since, reporting ownership of $150 billion worth of US listed stocks as at Q1 2021.
Apple is currently the largest holding, at $8 billion, but the portfolio contains countless smaller publicly traded companies, like GameStop, valued at $25 million at quarter end this year. Continue reading “Article: The Swiss National Bank’s US Stocks: $150 Billion And Counting – OpEd”