In AML news today: cuckoo smurfing, horse racing, bitcoin and the fourth directive

August 10, 2017

The heatwave and wildfires in Europe are not the only headlines that caught our eye. Here are a few anti-money laundering stories that you’ll want to read.

Ireland: The country’s Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) has launched investigations into accusations that members of Dublin gangs are using the horse racing industry to launder money coming from the sale of drugs and weapons. It’s alleged that these individuals part-own horses or are known to intimidate trainers and jockeys in order to fix the races. CAB has been taking steps to stop horses from being moved to other jurisdictions where they were to be sold, and has also issued a freezing order on “a substantial amount of cash in a financial institution.”

Australia: Commonwealth Bank, Australia’s largest lender, has been accused of failing to properly report on approximately $77 million worth of suspicious transactions. The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) is suing the bank for almost 54,000 breaches of laws, specifically related to intelligent deposit machines (IDMs) that the bank introduced in 2012. This type of ATM accepts cards from any bank, and allows users to deposit funds into Commonwealth Bank accounts—thereby depriving the bank of information on the depositor. Criminals were using the machines to launder money using a technique known as “cuckoo smurfing”. Regulators also allege that even after the bank became aware that its machines were being used for suspected money laundering—and even after warnings from federal police—it failed to take action. AUSTRAC is taking the case to court and will seek a civil penalty from the bank.

United States: A Russian man has been indicted by a U.S. jury because it’s suspected that he was the operator of BTC-e, a digital currency exchange that handled more than $4 billion worth of Bitcoin. It’s alleged that the exchange has been used to launder money, specifically from individuals involved in crimes that include computer hacking and drug trafficking. U.S. officials say that the company conducted its business in the U.S. without observing rules and protocols to guard against money laundering. FinCEN—the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network—is imposing a $110 million penalty on BTC-e.

Belgium: The EU Justice Commissioner has rebuked 17 national governments within the EU for failing to implement the fourth money-laundering directive, which was due to take full effect June 26. These measures were put in place to make it more difficult for gangs and terror organizations to hide money by moving it around countries in the EU. The directive requires countries to establish national registers that show the ultimate beneficial owners of companies so that the information can then be viewed by authorities across the EU. The Justice Commission sent out letters to each of the 17 governments, which will be followed by formal legal proceedings if the rules still fail to be applied.

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About Anu Sood:

Anu Sood is the Director of Product and Corporate Marketing at CaseWare Analytics and is responsible for the company’s global marketing strategy. Prior to CaseWare Analytics, Anu worked in various roles in the high-tech industry and her accomplishments range from writing software for telephone switches to launching a new global satellite communication service. Anu has extensive experience in strategic marketing, corporate communications, demand generation, content marketing, product management, product marketing and technology development. 

Connect:    Anu Sood 

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