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Financial Crime and AML in the Balkans The major problems that need to be countered.

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Presentation on theme: "Financial Crime and AML in the Balkans The major problems that need to be countered."— Presentation transcript:

1 Financial Crime and AML in the Balkans The major problems that need to be countered

2 Money Laundering is a misnomer Organised crime is cash heavy wrong to assume it wants to legitimise ill- gotten gains money now goes where the rate of return is highest: often that is into illegal business moving money from soft currency economy to hard currency area not laundering but hardening

3 Soft currency problems Roubles don’t buy BMWs. Dollars do. Drugs buy dollars sex buys dollars: in all its varieties- straight, bent, paedophilia, photos, videos slaves buy dollars peons buy dollars

4 First set of problems Illegal transnational businesses War on terror Tax avoidance Proximity to the EU Proximity to former USSR and its crime groups Smuggling and Trafficking in Human Beings and weapons Sanctions avoidance Corruption

5 Illegal Transnational Businesses Drugs extortion auto theft prostitution alien smuggling “traffic in people” contract murder Bank fraud tax fraud stock fraud and manipulation metals/minerals smuggling illegal arms dealing

6 War on Terror Many organisations now proscribed by US and EU Obligation to seize their funds Picture very complex Long-surviving groups mimic and interact with organised crime

7 How have they survived? By organising funding streams for: Training Weaponry Food, shelter Prisoner and prisoner family support Publicity Overground support groups and political parties

8 Old and New sources of funding Armed Robbery Extortion kidnap ransom Voluntary contributions Overseas diaspora foreign state support sale of literature Fraud Drugs Clubs Gambling counterfeit products legitimate businesses stock market manipulation franchising

9 Terrorism needs an economic base as well as weapons successful terrorist groups create a profitable business terrorist groups that survive turn their hands to crime: mafia, triads violence is itself a business, or at least a service that can be bought and sold As Howard Marks said to Jim McCann: “if you’re smuggling guns, you can smuggle drugs. You’re in the smuggling business”

10 5 principle sources of al Qaeda funding [Senator Bayh] Own money Wealthy individuals in the Gulf Front companies run at a profit Illegal activities eg smuggling, money- laundering Charities, both directly and by “skimming”

11 In the Sudan El-Hijrah Construction and Development Wadi al-Aqiq export-import Taba investment [global stock markets] part-owner el-Shamal Islamic Bank farms [peanuts, sunflowers cattle- breeding] Laden International export-import Bakery, Furniture International al-Ikhlar Co. [honey]

12 Elsewhere at same time Sanctions-busting for Sudan: to disguise product origin, used Cyprus and other countries Kenya: ostrich farms and shrimp boats Turkey: forests Africa [Sierra Leone?] diamond mines Tajikistan: agriculture minor projects as cover for terrorist ops.

13 Second Afghan period Al Barakat and al Taqwa Al Barakat is Somalia’s largest company and part owns the Somali Internet Company. It provides money transfer services for the Somali diaspora Al Taqwa also provides money transfer. Has offices in Lugano, Switzerland

14 Charities US has designated 7 foreign charities as having links to al Q And closed two US-based ones as having links to bin Laden and the Taliban Holy Land Foundation, largest US-based Islamic foundation has had assets frozen because of links to Hamas

15 Al-Qaida Bin Laden reckoned he lost $ million on projects in the Sudan Bankrolled Taliban to tune of $100 million We have no idea what he spent in Chechnya, Somalia, Bosnia or elsewhere

16 Since 9/11 and military action in Afghanistan Evidence suggests individual operations funded in Indonesia and elsewhere Members of Steering Committee have transferred funds by hand to local operatives. Munitions too. Need to distinguish between Afghan/Pakistan operation, S.E.Asian operation and Iraq operation As number of operations increases mistakes will be made. There must be new front companies that havent yet been identified. Its not just hawala banking.

17 Tax Avoidance Often intimated that US and EU real interest in attacking money laundering and other financial crime is to break bank secrecy To follow assets and money moved abroad by own citizens To avoid taxation Same with Russia!

18 Proximity to the EU Warehousing for drugs Warehousing for counterfeit products Cigarettes Other high duty commodities People smuggling

19 Who wants people? Sex industry obviously domestic service hotels and catering places ignoring safety regulations seasonal: fruit-picking etc. Horrible places: Siberia, Brazilian jungle dodgy hospitals [for organs]

20 Three angles Recruitment transportation targeting potential employers

21 Players in the enterprise Arranger/investor recruiter transporter corrupt public officials guides and crew members Information gatherer enforcer support debt-collector money-mover

22 Corruption Most illicit businesses need access to government officials Documents, especially for travel But also for goods And government Contracts As well as foreign aid But banks can be corrupt as well as public sector officials And transnational companies are often corruptors

23 Krysha system Means “roof”: system of patronage and structured corruption “protection” Requires connection with bank Deep penetration of government structures deploys armed force, either illegal, “private security” or a local or national government unit of militsiya [30% of personnel involved] or army

24 Money-laundering Why do it, if you’re a bank? Avoid taxes defraud overseas aid donors distorted idea of nature of capitalism don’t believe the playing field is level

25 Areas requiring study KGB methods of funding agents and operations: shell companies? Non hard currency trade with developing countries: Asian bankers as middlemen; hawala and chitty style? Exchange of prostitutes for goods. Standard measure of exchange? Drugs as currency

26 But does it matter? Chicago group would say “it’s just the market finding ways around excessive taxation and draconian anti-business legislation” West worried about potential instability and possible military conflict West benefiting from capital flight

27 Problems Inhibiting growth of civil society Impoverishing employees in public sector can’t have a market economy without a cash economy Rule of law a bad joke Undermining chance of democracy Increasing likelihood of return to authoritarianism


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