January 15th saw a round of face to face meetings for jurisdictions found to be lacking in the last FATF plenary, with the APG ML in Sydney.
Cambodia, Lao PDR, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Papua New Guinea all made the last list.
Of the four countries on the high risk list three are in the Asia Pacific region - DPRK, Myanmar and Indonesia. The DPRK has written to the OECD affirming its commitment to anti-money laundering and has apparently joined the APG as an observer.
Cuba managed to wriggle off the list of high-risk jurisdictions. While we have heard nothing much about its AML efforts, we can only assume that its new found close friendship with the White House has bought the former closed state a little wiggle room. Expect more news on trade barriers opening with Cuba.
ABC - Anti-bribery and corruption
This first ABC story provides a barometer for how the anti-corruption campaign is taking effect in Turkey. A parliamentary committee in Turkey has voted not to pursue investigations into four former ministers accused in a corruption scandal that implicated former Prime Minister Erdogan. Nine members of the 14-strong commission were members of Erdogan’s AK Party. Read more here.
The former president of Taiwan, Chen Shui-bian , currently in the fourth year of a 20 stretch for corruption, has been granted medical leave for brain surgery.
But it’s not all rosy for Chen, who is facing a new round of money laundering charges.
This time, charges allege he laundered TWD10m (USD321,000) in the proceeds of a bribe through his brother-in-law.
Transparency International calling for a bit of light to be shed on what the Solomon islands is doing. A man with close connections to the logging industry has just been named the new Minister of Forestry for the island nation. Anyone else smell a conflict of interests?
ML and capital flight
Bangladesh - Bank Bangladesh, the central bank and financial intelligence unit has set up a new arm to tackle the high risk areas of TBML and terrorist financing. The move is part of the BB’s initiative to stop capital flight from Bangladesh.
CapGemini is predicting a new era of regulation - which is great news for regulatory professionals. Simplified operations, e-banking, mobile banking and other new forms of banking will take prominence, according to the report.
It also echoes a call for a reduction of banker bashing - an easy sport for many, especially those who are not employed in banking. Banker bashing may soon become a thing of the past; not because they all stop taking cocaine and becoming good people , although according to this Guardian report it has happened , but because new financial firms, relying on new technology, will supersede banks.
Banks are like enormous cruise ships once built in Europe’s shipyards - requiring millions of hands to operate, weighed down by tonnes of heavy metal and taking aeons to change course. New smaller, lighter firms can evolve, develop and zip around the market with as much flexibility as new millennial customers require.
China’s regulators have published new AML guidance to help insurers to play their part in the fight against money laundering. More details are available via a subscription here.
Also check the China Insurance Regulatory Commission for more updates.
A sombre note to conclude, and remind us of the battles some of our colleagues face when reporting financial crime to the authorities. Three policemen are under arrest in Vietnam charged with plotting to murder a witness in a bribery case.