In “Poached” the award winner Science journalist, Rachel Love Nuwer, investigates the international trade in illegal wildlife, detailing how demand for exotic goods such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and pangolin scales is being met through the human stories that are endangering the survival of iconic wildlife and of those trying to fight back.
The risk to our wildlife comes from human demand for exotic pets, jewellery, medicine, meat and trophies, which is driving a worldwide poaching epidemic. It also comes from growing human populations that put even greater pressure on land required to sustain many species.
The author travels to the front line in this struggle to hotspots in Africa, including Tanzania and South Africa, to China, Laos and Vietnam where supply and demand economics drive this trade to investigate and provide insights to better understand the dynamics involved.
FI’s face the challenge of monitoring billions of transactions, identifying potential suspicious activity and then handing these cases over to armies of investigators. With a SAR being filed every 30 seconds Financial Crime News met with Caspian CEO and Founder Chris Brannigan to hear how Caspian can help make a difference.
1. FCN: What can you tell us about your company and your products & services?
CB: At Caspian our area of expertise is in the automated investigation of high volume, complex risk alerts for financial service firms with a fully explained human readable decision. So, we are not in the business of generating alerts for suspicious behaviours in KYC, transaction monitoring or due diligence, many other machine learning companies do that already.
Last week at the 18th triennial meeting of CITES members, those responsible for regulating the international wildlife trade closed the conference which mostly saw victories for animal welfare. In a previous recent Financial Crime News Post we correctly predicted Giraffes would make it onto Appendix 2 for the first time, that proposals to weaken trade restrictions on Rhino horn would be defeated and African Elephant proposals to increase trade would also be rejected. More good news came with the decision to include Mako Sharks, Giant Guitarfish and Wedgefish on Appendix 2 which will provide much needed protection.
Another decision to be lauded limits the export of wild African elephants, so that elephants from Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and South Africa can only be exported to African countries where elephants live or used to live.
Whilst utilities have been widely predicted as a future staple in the fighting financial crime ecosystem, many have tried and few succeeded in establishing platforms to make the KYC on-boarding and periodic review processes more efficient, secure and reliable. An exception is SWiFT’s KYC Registry established in 2014, it has grown and is already a trusted repository for important KYC information on Bank’s which is leading it to now look to the Corporate market too. In this interview Bart Claeys talks to Financial Crime News about SWIFT’s KYC Registry, what it does, why it’s important and what’s next?
FCN: What is the SWIFT KYC Registry and why is it important?
BC: SWIFT has spent decades facilitating the smooth flow of cross-border payment services, which today also requires parties involved to trust and verify their direct partners in the payment chain and so it’s natural for SWIFT to play a role as a trusted intermediary for financial institutions to both file and receive information to help conduct KYC enquiries.
The next 5 years will see an evolution of Banking continuing what has already started, with some hoping for a revolution and a changing of the guard. That banking is changing is not new, it was ever thus and a short history of banking is useful to know how we got here and what remains important despite the changes that are coming.
Banks have been around since the first currencies were minted, perhaps even before that, in some form or another. Currency, particularly the use of coins, grew out of taxation by rulers and as empires expanded, coins of varying sizes and metals that could be exchanged easily served as a way to pay for foreign goods and services. These coins, however, needed to be kept in a safe place.
Governments, Trade Associations and NGO’s are meeting to talk trade and conservation with concerns around Elephant Ivory, Rhino Horn and the fate of the Mako Shark being high on the agenda at a CITES Wildlife Conference in Geneva. In all more than 50 proposals have been tabled for discussion, which include proposals submitted on not only Elephants, Rhino’s and Sharks but also on Pangolin’s, Big Cats and Giraffes.
As concern for the future of the wildlife on our planet increases, the international body tasked with regulating trade in endangered species is once again gathered for its 18th Conference of the Parties (COP) in Geneva being held between the 17-28th August, 2019. Originally slated for May 2019 in Sri Lanka, it was switched after the Easter terrorist attacks in March that killed more than 250.
In this Interview, Sarah Runge, formerly of the US Treasury Department, and now with Credit Suisse talks to Financial Crime News, including on how she rates the US Presidency (of FATF), challenges faced in Europe (and elsewhere), AML Reform and her optimism for the future.
FCN – What are you doing now – The fighting financial crime community knows you best in your former roles in the US Government so now you are at Credit Suisse, what does that involve?
SR: I am in a newly created role which dually reports to the Global Head of FCC and Global Head of Regulatory Affairs. The function is responsible for developing and implementing a centralized and coordinated view of FCC regulatory engagements, developing a consistent communication approach for our interactions with regulators, building a global inventory of relevant FCC regulations, guidance, enforcement actions & industry developments, and ensuring Credit Suisse is engaged in law enforcement and intelligence innovation opportunities.
In this Interview, Financial Crime News caught up with Graham Hooper, just after the announcement that he had been awarded an OBE for his services to fighting financial crime. No one deserves such an honour more than Graeme. Graeme talks about what he’s doing now, his role in helping to drive change via Public Private Partnerships, the Convergence of Fraud and Financial Crime, challenges for Heads of FCC as well as his one wish for the future in this space.
Graham Hooper has over 35 years experience of developing and implementing security and financial crime prevention strategies in both public and private sectors. He retired from Lloyds Banking Group in December 2017 where he was Financial Crime Risk Director and Deputy Group MLRO.
FCN: What is the Sentry and what’s its purpose?
JW/MS: The Sentry is an investigative and policy team that tracks the financing of conflict in East and Central Africa. We follow the dirty money connected to African war criminals and transnational war profiteers and seek to shut those benefiting from violence out of the international financial system. We were co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast and launched in 2016. We currently focus on East and Central Africa, specifically South Sudan, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and the Central African Republic.