BRIBERY/ CORRUPTION

Edinburgh Solicitor jailed for money laundering

An Edinburgh solicitor has been jailed for four years for his role in the laundering of £1.8m. Richard Housley was also convicted of income tax fraud and a separate charge under POCA. Housley, the senior partner and MLRO, helped launder the money for Michael Voudouri, who pleaded guilty, but failed to turn up for the sentencing hearing: there is a warrant out for his arrest. Bookkeeper Caroline Laing also allowed her personal bank account to be used in the laundering scheme and was jailed for two and a half years.

Ex-Police officer pleads guilty to corruption

A former Surrey police constable has pleaded guilty to two offences of misconduct in a public office and has admitted selling information, including details about footballer John Terry's mother, to the Sun newspaper.  

EU deal to tackle mining corruption

The European Commission has struck an anti-corruption deal that aims to force large mining companies to publicly disclose any payments made to governments in the areas they operate. The European Commission’s Michael Barnier has said that the disclosure requirements will apply to large companies with activities in the extractive industry which exceed 2 of the 3 following criteria: turnover of at least 40 million euros, total assets of 20 million euros and 250 employees. The accord must now be approved by the 27 EU member states.

MONEY LAUNDERING

HM Treasury publishes Advisory Notice on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing controls in Overseas Jurisdictions  

HM Treasury has published a revised financial sector advisory notice on money laundering and terrorist financing controls in overseas jurisdictions. The notice contains advice issued by the Treasury about risks posed by unsatisfactory anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing controls in a number of overseas jurisdictions. The main changes from the last notice issued by HMT are:

  • Jurisdictions which had on-going and substantial money laundering and terrorist financing risks- Bolivia, Cuba, Sri Lanka and Thailand are no longer listed; and
  • Jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies in their AML and CTF regimes, which have developed an action plan with the Financial Action Task Force- Ghana is no longer listed and the following countries have been added to the list: Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Links to any relevant Treasury financial sanctions notices and FATF statements/reports are contained within the note and annexes.

National money laundering and terrorist financing risk assessment

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has published a National Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment. The guidance is intended to assist countries conduct risk assessments at a country or national level. The principles described in this guidance are also relevant to more focussed risk assessments, for example of a particular financial sector.  The guidance takes the following structure:

  • Purpose and scope of the guidance
  • General principles to be taken into account when conducting AML/ TF risk assessments
  • Planning and organising of a risk assessment
  • Main stages of a risk assessment
  • Outcomes of the risk assessment

Annexes to the guidance provide additional information and examples of national-level assessments. In addition to this the IMF and World Bank Index have provided their own annexes.

FATF President welcomes MLD4 and comments on fourth round of compliance assessments

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has published a statement made by Bjorn Aamo, FATF President. Mr Aamo welcomed the European Commission's proposed Fourth Money Laundering Directive (MLD4), which he considers is broadly consistent with the FATF's February 2012 revised recommendations. He hopes MLD4 will be adopted in the near future. Mr Aamo also commented on the FATF's fourth round of assessments of members' compliance with its recommendations and advises that the assessments will be challenging and focus on high risk areas.

European Parliament draft report on organised crime, corruption, and money laundering

The European Parliament's special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering, has published a draft Interim Report on organised crime, corruption, and money laundering.  This sets out a motion for a European Parliament resolution on recommendations on actions and initiatives to take in relation to corruption, money laundering and organised crime: such as:

  • When drawing up its final report the Commission should cover all forms of corruption in both the private and public sector;
  • the Commission should provide a common definition of the offence of "self-laundering";
  • Member States should devise EU-level indicators that should be as uniform and consistent as possible to measure the crime and corruption occurring in the EU;
  • European legislation should provide for the immediate enforceability of convictions and confiscation orders in member states other than those in which they were issued;
  • European-wide frameworks should be devised to combat cyber crime; and
  • Greater cooperation between the banking sector and financial professions to determine which IT tools might be used to increase traceability of financial flows.

European Commission speech on AML

The European Commission have published a speech by Cecilia Malmström on 'Anti-money laundering as part of the fight against organised crime'. During the speech Ms Malmström outlines a number of AML initiatives for the coming year. Of particular interest Ms Malmström said that the final decision had yet to be made on whether to propose a directive to ensure that deterrent sanctions apply when money laundering occurs (in addition and separate to MLD4). Such a directive would state minimum rules for member states concerning what types of acts should be considered criminal money laundering and what level of criminal sanctions should apply. Currently, legislation across member states varies widely in this area. The Commission has launched a study to find out more about the extent to which member states diverge in their approach to punishing money laundering.

FRAUD

Three Men charged in Ponzi Style Scheme

Three men have been charged with conspiracy to defraud investors in an alleged investment fraud related to electrical contracts in the hotel sector. The three men; Jolan Marc Saunders, Michael Dean Strubel, and Spencer Mitchell Steinberg were charged in connection with Saunders Electrical Wholesalers Limited, for making false representations that the company had high value contracts with blue chip hotel chains (and latterly the Athletes Village) that required investment funding. All three have been charged with conspiracy to defraud and Jolan Saunders was additionally charged with acting as a director of a company whilst disqualified. Around £40 million is estimated to have been attracted to the scheme.

OTHER

HM treasury updates Financial Sanctions Notice (Iran)

HM Treasury has updated Financial Sanctions Notice: Iran (Human Rights): Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 206/2013. The amendments to Annex 1 to the Regulation take the form of the addition of 9 individuals and 1 entity; these additions are therefore subject to the asset freeze imposed by the regulation. HM Treasury have also published an updated asset freeze targets list.  

EU suspends sanctions against most Zimbabwe officials

The European Union has suspended sanctions against 81 Zimbabwe officials and eight Zimbabwe firms. This follows the country's "peaceful successful and credible referendum on a new constitution" earlier this month. President Robert Mugabe and a few others including Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation remain blacklisted until "peaceful, transparent and credible elections have been achieved" said an EU spokesperson. HM treasury have published an updated sanctions notice for Zimbabwe to reflect this suspension.