Corruption And Money Laundering Are Destroying The Planet

This year’s report explains that a small improvement in risks relating to the quality of countries’ anti-money laundering frameworks is offset by increased risks in four other areas measured by the Basel AML Index: corruption and bribery, political transparency, financial transparency, and political/legal risks.

But while money laundering continues to be a major problem from year to year, the factors that contribute to money laundering risk are evolving. One such evolution is the growing realization that money laundering weaknesses are enabling criminals to profit from harming our fragile environment. This is why this year’s Index includes a new environmental crime indicator in its set of (now) 18 indicators.

What does environmental crime exactly have to do with money laundering risk? And what does the initial data show?

Corruption and money laundering are destroying the planet.  Environmental crimes like illegal wildlife trade, forestry crimes, illegal mining, and waste trafficking are destroying our natural resources and threatening sustainable livelihoods. Together they are said to make up the world’s fourth largest criminal industry after drug trafficking, human trafficking and counterfeiting. Estimates indicate that environmental crime produces massive illicit proceeds, estimated at $110 billion to $281 billion each year. It is growing at an annual 5–7 percent, more than the pace of global economic growth. While such estimates make numerous assumptions and are thus to be taken with a grain of salt, they nonetheless indicate the scale of the problem.

The global community is only just starting to realise the many roles that corruption plays in facilitating environmental crimes, with some outstanding efforts that lead the charge. Research is also highlighting the myriad ways in which criminals launder the massive illicit proceeds, thereby fuelling our present environmental catastrophe.

The decision to include the environmental crime data was made at the annual review meeting of the Basel AML Index, which draws experts from across sectors and geographies. The review helps to ensure that the methodology continues to be relevant and to reflect current evolutions in the anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) landscape.

The inclusion aligns with the strong recommendation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that environmental crimes should be considered predicate offences for money laundering. This recommendation in turn echoes statements by other bodies, from the UN General Assembly to the European Union, Eurojust and INTERPOL and the UN Environment Program, that it is essential to tackle the financial drivers of environmental crimes – the corrupt deals and the money laundering that facilitate criminal activity and make it profitable.

Until now, reliable data on countries’ risks of environmental crime were lacking. The Global Organized Crime Index has changed this. First published in 2021 by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GITOC), the expert-led assessment looks at both levels of criminality and resilience to organised crime in the 193 countries covered.

The Basel AML Index uses data from GITOC’s index on crimes involving flora, fauna, and non-renewable resources such as minerals. The new indicator is assigned a 5 percent weight, matching existing indicators on human trafficking and narcotics trafficking. We are thereby attempting to elevate the importance of this frequently overlooked crime.

Initial insights. Based on the data, the average global score for environmental crime is 3.62 out of 10, where 10 is the maximum risk. This sounds fairly low, but there is great variation between jurisdictions – from the highest risk score of 8.33 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) to the lowest of 0.19 (San Marino and Iceland).

Sub-Saharan Africa has the dubious honour of being the region with the highest risks of both environmental crime and money laundering. Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Tanzania and perform particularly poorly. Next up is the region of East Asia and the Pacific, where environmental crime scores are high for Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

Interestingly, there is almost 100 percent correlation between a low risk of money laundering and a low risk of environmental crime. Andorra, Finland, Iceland, New Zealand, San Marino, Slovenia, and Sweden, for example, all perform among the best countries in both.

A similar trend, but with a less strong relation, is observed in high-risk countries. For instance, a high risk in the overall money laundering score correlates with high risks of environmental crime for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Madagascar, Myanmar, Mozambique, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.

What do we need? First, more and better data. While reliable enough to be included in the Basel AML Index, the Global Organized Crime Index is based on expert-led desk research from open sources. While GITOC has gone to some length to reduce these biases, having more than one source of data to rely on would allow for greater research depth.

The FATF and its regional bodies have started to assess jurisdictions’ risks associated with environmental crime as part of their rolling program of mutual evaluations. However, this assessment is conducted only as a part of the existing FATF Recommendation 1 and Immediate Outcome 1 on understanding ML/TF risks and applying a risk-based approach to address them.

More focus on this issue is needed to provide the kind of disaggregated and detailed data we really need on different types of environmental crime and their links to money laundering.

Second, more action. The Basel Institute’s Green Corruption program is seeing fast-growing demand for technical assistance in applying existing tools designed to combat corruption and other financial crimes to tackle environmental crimes.

For example, governments are increasingly realising the value of conducting parallel financial investigations in cases of illegal wildlife trade and forest crimes, as the FATF recommends in the above-linked report. This enables law enforcement officers to identify and disrupt not only the poachers and illegal loggers, but the high-level traffickers and their corrupt facilitators who profit from the crimes. While appreciation for the importance of these parallel investigations is growing, they are still too frequently an afterthought to seizures and arrests.

The countries in which the Green Corruption program is currently active suffer medium to high risks of environmental crimes, according to the Global Organized Crime Index data. Indonesia, our newest country of operation, is evaluated as having a high risk, at 7.41 out of 10. In Latin America, Bolivia and Peru score 6.3 and 6.85 respectively. In Sub-Saharan Africa, Malawi (4.07) and Uganda (6.17) also face significant challenges.

Efforts to address the environmental crimes that are threatening these countries’ sustainable development need to go hand in hand with improving resilience to money laundering….  fcpablogCorruption and Money Laundering | Global Witness


Parliamentary Intelligence-Security Forum in Bucharest

Parliamentarians from around the world to the 22st Parliamentary Intelligence-Security Forum on July 7th – 8th at the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest.

Cross-border funds transfer, transactions on virtual currency, trade-based money laundering are methods used by criminal organisations and terrorist financiers, posing a threat to societies while affecting state security. Illegal movements of money or capital should be carefully traced by authorities and cooperation needs to be enhanced in this direction. In this panel, we will discuss recommendations on preventing criminal financial activity in order to protect our economic infrastructure against predatory investment.

Andreas Frank AML/CFT Expert
Speech for the 22st Parliamentary Intelligence

Andreas Frank, AML/CFT advisor for the Bundestag, Council Europe and the European Parliament

22ND Parliamentary IntelligenceSecurity Forum
Bucharest, Romania

68, 2022

Suisse Secrets?

What is Suisse Secrets? Everything You Need to Know About the Swiss Banking Leak.

Pirate Bankster
Some Experts tried to make sure that the bank then received really tough
penalties. But with limited success, even under the Democrats. In
2014-15, after Credit Suisse pled guilty to enabling $20b of tax dodging
by wealthy Americans, James S. Henry joined with Ralph Nader, Andreas Frank
(Germany), Dr Paul Morjanoff Australia), Bart Naylor(DC), and two
Holocaust survivors in an effort to get the US Department of Labor to
ban CS from advising US pension funds. This was under a law that bans
convicted felons from giving such advice unless they get a DOL waiver.

In January 2015 they presented a full day of testimony, offering evidence
of CS chicanery on 4 continents. However, with the help of lobbyists
and lawyers — including Knight Spaulding’s Chris Wray, who had
represented the bank in the tax dodging case, DOL gave CS a 5-year

Meanwhile, most of its $2.6b fine from Obama’s DOJ was tax deductible
in Switzerland. No one went to jail. CS lost none of its banking
licenses either in the US or anywhere else. Of course CS had also
pocketed at least $25b of gov bailouts in 2008-2011 during the GFC. Nor,
as we learned from the survivors, did it ever fully honor its 1990
commitments to them. So the actual net penalties were pretty slight —
especially on a NPV basis

Sadly for CS shareholders, however, since 2015, the bank has not
performed very well among international banks — partly because it has
acquired such a dodgy reputation

But CS has managed to slither on.

Indeed, it has diversified in some rather disturbing ways that this
OCCRP investigation doesn’t mention — for example, by acquiring 25%
of the high frequency trading platforms now used on Wall Street to
handle 75% or more of trades. 2021 was a record year for high freq
trading, most of which is anonymous – rt up CS’s alley.

Furthermore, in mid 2017, after Trump fired Comey as FBI Director, who
do you suppose he and the US Congress select to replace him — with
overwhelming bipartisan support?

None other than CS’s chief xUS defense attorney, Chris Wray. Not
surprisingly, white collar crime cases by the US DOJ + IRS against major
banks have completely dried up since 2017.

And in 2019 — despite “Suissegate,” “Pandora Papers,” and
“Panama Papers,” plus superb additional work by Dr Morjanoff in
Australia, Andreas Frank in Germany, Khadija Sharife in RSA, + our own
research — CS got yet another 5-yr DOL waiver, this time without even
a hearing.

So now we have the long-run context for the important additional
evidence on display in this latest OCCRP story.

How can we make sure that THIS TIME AROUND it will make a difference?

See more: Suisse Secrets-das-ist-das-leak

Harm Bengen / Business Dresses for Banker

Trafficking in Human Beings

Launch of the OSCE publication: “Policy responses to technology-facilitated trafficking in human beings: Analysis of current approaches and considerations for moving forward”

Trafficking in human beings has dramatically changed since it was first recognized as a crime 20 years ago. Today technology is a centerpiece of the human trafficking business model and 75% of sex trafficking victims are advertised online. However, legislation addressing trafficking has not kept pace. Addressing this gap is at the heart of a new study a new OSCE study on policy responses to technology-facilitated trafficking in human beings, which was presented at a virtual launch event held today.

OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid stated at the opening of the event that “the success of States’ efforts to eradicate human trafficking will largely depend on how prepared they are to tackle technology-facilitated trafficking. The OSCE today shows it has unique expertise to offer on the policies needed to effectively do that.”

Technology is misused in a variety of ways, including to groom and recruit children and vulnerable adults, luring them into exploitative situations, and to exercise power and coercion over victims, controlling or blackmailing them into compliance. The misuse of technology is also a massive facilitator of sexual exploitation through advertising trafficking victims for sexual services, sharing depictions of exploited adults and children, live streaming and forced pornography.

Some companies have developed measures or tools to respond to this problem on their platforms, but overall self-regulation has resulted in fragmented and inadequate adoption of safety measures, inconsistent and slow reporting to authorities, lack of redress for victims and impunity for traffickers.

In short, self-regulation is not working and the explosion of technology-facilitated trafficking requires strong policy and legislative action by governments.

“The current system is broken and not up to the task”, said the OSCE Special Representative for Combating Trafficking Val Richey. “States need to adopt new laws and policies to ensure Internet becomes a safe space and not a safe haven for traffickers and perpetrators.”

The new OSCE study offers policy recommendations to establish strong prevention measures, promote harmonized approaches, and encourage tech industry compliance.  The recommendations also include mandating websites to verify the age of people depicted in explicit material, to have a clear “content removal” request button, and to conduct due diligence and proactive monitoring to identify risks on their platforms.

Policy responses to technology-facilitated trafficking in human beings


See also:
Women Against Corruption / WAC
Organized Crime, Money Laundering and Corruption!
What Does It Mean To Women?

Human Trafficking and Financial Corruption
with Anne Basham

Rodrigo de Matos


Breaking The Connection Between Environmental Crimes And Finance

The report highlights the opportunity to reduce environmental crimes by widening the scope and interpretation of existing Anti-Money Laundering (AML) rules.

Pointing to the limits of such an approach, however, the report highlights the need to go further, and proposes a way forward paralleling anti-slavery and conflict diamond approaches.

A new report published today from Finance for Biodiversity (F4B) points to how to break F4BlogoColor.pngthe environmentally-destructive connection between environmental crimes and legitimate investments. F4B calls on the global financial community, working with regulators and civil society organisations, to take steps to ensure the entire financing value chain is free of environmental crimes.

Environment crime, such as illegal wildlife trade and logging, is now one of the most profitable global criminal enterprises, generating up to almost USD300 billion in criminal gains each year, and creating even more profound damage and cost to the environment and society. Many entirely legal enterprises benefit from such environmental crimes, as do those who finance them.
F4B Breaking Env Crimes Finance Connection_final report 

F4B Breaking Env Crimes Finance Connection_final exec summary-1

Abholzungswort stock abbildung. Illustration von ...

The UK’s Kleptocracy Problem


  • The intertwining of financial globalization
    and deregulation with the post-Soviet The Media-Men List and the Chatham House Rule | The New Yorkertransition has, since the 1990s, created a new international political and economic environment. In this context, the UK’s relations with Russia and Eurasian states are characterized in part by features of transnational kleptocracy, where British professional service providers enable post-Soviet elites to launder their money and reputations.
  • The UK adopts a risk-based approach to anti-money laundering which relies on private sector professionals conducting appropriate checks. However, evidence indicates that the system is effectively risk-insensitive, with banks over-reporting suspicious activity, and thereby creating a deluge of reports for UK authorities to process. Other, non-financial service providers often under-report such activity and are inconsistent in whether they undertake effective due diligence.
  • Failures of investigation and enforcement by the National Crime Agency and other UK state bodies have led to flawed judgments by UK courts, especially regarding post-Soviet elites. Capable and expensive lawyers (hired by members of transnational elites or their advisers) defeat or deter the regulators’ often weak and under-resourced attempts to prosecute politically exposed persons.
  • The provision of aggressive reputation management services by UK professionals includes libel actions, quasi-defamation cases, and the use of public relations agents against journalists and researchers. These services also transplant authoritarian agendas and rivalries to the UK, which has become a leading site of legal action and political conflict between post-Soviet elites.
  • Opportunities for reputation laundering are placing the integrity of a range of important domestic institutions at risk. Philanthropy to UK universities and charities is one method by which post-Soviet elites clean up their reputations – but these donations are processed in secret, and several cases suggest that their due diligence has been flawed. Westminster – and the Conservative parliamentary party in particular – may be open to influence from wealthy donors who originate from post-Soviet kleptocracies, and who may retain fealty to these regimes.
  • This situation is materially and reputationally damaging for the UK’s rule of law and to the UK’s professed role as an opponent of international corruption. It demands a new approach by the UK government focused on creating a hostile environment for the world’s kleptocrats. An effective anti-kleptocracy drive would close legal loopholes, demand transparency from public institutions, deploy anti-corruption sanctions against post-Soviet elites and prosecute British professionals who enable money laundering by kleptocrats.

UK Kleptocracy Problem


European Money Mule Action Leads To 1 803 Arrests

Ivestigation reveals money mules were laundering profits from online fraud schemes such Europol Announces DD4BC Busts - BankInfoSecurityas business email compromise and Forex scams.

Today saw the conclusion of the anti-money mule operation EMMA 7, an international action coordinated by Europol in cooperation with 26 countries, Eurojust, INTERPOL, the European Banking Federation (EBF) and the FinTech FinCrime Exchange. The operation resulted in 1 803 arrests and the identification of over 18 000 money mules. It also revealed that money mules were being used to launder money for a wide array of online scams such as sim-swapping, man in the middle attacks, e-commerce fraud and phishing.

Over roughly two and a half months of operations, EMMA 7 saw law enforcement, financial institutions and the private sector, including Western Union, Microsoft and Fourthline, cooperate in a concerted effort against money laundering in Europe, Asia, North America, Colombia and Australia. As well as targeting the laundering of profits through money muling networks, investigators also sought intelligence on the sources of these illicit profits, shedding more light on the size and nature of the criminal economies that money mules serve. 

Results from 15 September – 30 November

  • 18 351 money mules identified;
  • 324 recruiters/herders identified;
  • 1 803 arrested individuals;
  • 2 503 investigations initiated;
  • 7 000 fraudulent transactions reported;
  • €67.5 million prevented losses.

Collaborating in the fight on money laundering

Money laundering explainedPhoto Credit:

Australia’s AML/CTF Laws Are Regulated By AUSTRAC

is responsible for preventing, detecting and responding to criminal abuse of the financial system to protect the community from serious and organised crime.

Four new ML/TF risk assessments for Australia’s banking sector

Learn about the criminal threats and vulnerabilities facing major banks, other domestic banks, foreign subsidiary banks and foreign bank branches operating in Australia.

Risk assessments

Risk assessments examine current money laundering and terrorism financing threats and vulnerabilities in specific parts of Australia’s financial sector.

They are a resource for reporting entities to use to refine internal controls and to meet your reporting obligations, particularly in relation to suspicious matter reporting.

Risk assessments bring together insights from industry with intelligence from AUSTRAC and our partner agencies to provide a comprehensive assessment of ML/TF risks relevant to a specific sector or product.