Red Alert by John Cusack

Red Alert

I like to think of “Red Alert” as an 800 page plus private travel guide through the teeming jungle of crimes, risks, regions, countries, criminals, terrorists, cases, banking products and services, laws, standards and regulations, & programme design relating to the complex work of financial crime.

Financial crime fighters face an increasingly difficult task, and an environment that is complex and dynamic. as such learning holds the key to success and will provide its own rewards. as Benjamin Franklin once said, “For the best return on your money, pour your purse into your head.”

As you read “Red Alert” either from the start to the finish, or by focussing on particular areas of interest consider the words of Confucius, who said, “Learning without thought is labour lost; thought without learning is perilous.”

“Red Alert” covers the history of financial crime up until the end of 2013. 

Here are a few testimonials from 2014 on the importance of “Red Alert”

John Cusack is one of the “elders” of the Anti-Money Laundering compliance community. He witnessed the emergence of the discipline more than 20 years ago and he has occupied a leading role in the evolution of the practice of AML compli- ance ever since. I just wish he looked his age like the rest of us. In Red Alert, John has done the anti-money laundering compliance community and anyone interested in the global fight against financial and organised crime a great service. His book is a valuable resource for practitioners and anyone interested in learning about the origins, challenges and current practice of global AML compliance. Red Alert also provides thoughtful and provocative ideas and concrete proposals to ad- vance the goal of global anti-money laundering law: the interdiction of the vast market in criminal proceeds derived from organised crime, corruption and a wide range of financial crimes. As anyone working in the field of anti-money laundering compliance knows the pace and scale of regulatory AML enforcement against financial institutions has reached historic levels and has been sustained for longer than ever before. AML and financial crime have become significant operational risks for financial institutions throughout the world. John has provided a resource that I predict will find a comfortable place on the bookshelves or e book device of compliance officers all over the world.” ….Kevin J Ford, Managing Director BrightLine GRC LLC New York. Formerly Deputy Commissioner of Investiga- tion for the City of New York and Special Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Associate General Counsel in the Business Intelligence Group and Goldman Sachs’ first UK Money Laundering Reporting Officer, former Managing Director and Chief Compliance Officer for Regulatory DataCorp (RDC). Mr. Ford is also a member of the Board of Transparency International USA and a member of Interpol’s Group of Experts on Corruption.

“For anyone wanting to delve into the background of financial crime and money laundering, this book is a fine starting point. John Cusack has assembled an amazing amount of information, from types of crime to particular threats faced by individual countries. I would have been a much better informed President of FATF if John’s book had been available a few years ago.”…….Lord James Sassoon, former Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (UK) (2010-2013) and President of the Financial Action Task Force (2007/2008).

“Impressive. A multifaceted reference book containing a wealth of information on a challenging subject.”…Boudewijn Verhelst, Head Belgian FIU and Former Chair until 2013 of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelli- gence Units

An impressive book indeed, by size and by content from a man who knows what he is talking about and who has been dedicated to the fight against money laundering for at least two decades.”…..Alexander Karrer, Deputy State Secretary, State Secretariat for International finance, Swiss Federal Department of Finance.

The private sector and its Banks play an important role in and contribute to fighting financial crime in many ways. With ever increasing demands and expectations placed upon Banks, John Cusack’s excellent Book is a timely and essential resource for financial crime professionals that both demonstrates his own contribution and reflects the nature and extent of contribution from the industry to date.”…….Sally Scutt, Former Deputy Chief Executive, British Bankers’ Association and Managing Director, International Banking Federation (IBFED)

John Cusack’s “Red Alert” deserves to become the global standard textbook on AML and CFT for banking practitioners, compliance officers as well as regulators and academics.This is the first publication on the subject written by a true professional and experienced senior AML responsible. John’s “Red Alert” accumulates the collective knowledge of some the best compliance officers of our generation. Reflecting 18 years of professional insight and responsibility the book can give profound and practical guidance to experts and shared experience to new joiners. The collection of facts and cases is unique. Everybody should read the introductory five recommendations to “Effectively” combat Money Laundering which sounds like John’s message that if we want to win the fight against financial crime all of us have to think about and decide on fundamental changes to the current approach which has come to its limits and, at least partially, failed to achieve what it was originally intended for. Time has come for unbiased reviews and to develop a far more integrated approach. This core message alone and the considerations and facts that lead to it make this book compulsory reading for all those who count in the industry. A great achievement. Congratulations.”…….Hans-Peter Bauer, Board Member of the Basel Institute, founder member and first Chairman of the Wolfsberg Group and currently senior adviser to the Group.

For many years now the fight against financial crime and the detection of the proceeds of such activities has been one of the major challenges facing the financial markets. Increasingly financial institutions, financial centres, regulators and governments themselves are at risk of severe reputational damage if they fail to detect such activity. Individuals are also at risk of public censure or worse if they fail to instigate systems and controls to combat the risk of money laundering the proceeds of crime and to prevent their organisation being used by criminals and terrorists. Against this background John Cusack’s book is very timely. I do not think anybody is better qualified to address this topic, he has been at the forefront of the fight against financial crime for most of his career and his wisdom and practical approach is very evident throughout. I commend this book to those working in the financial services industry, to the lawyers and compliance personnel who work with them and of course to their regulators, law enforcement agencies and policy makers.”….Neil Stocks, former Global Head Compliance UBS.

Anti-money laundering efforts, both in the prosecution of those engaged in the illicit activities, as well as financial institutions, who are at the forefront of the fight to keep illicit funds from flowing through the financial sector, has become increasingly complex. Attempting to understand all of the potential risks, as well as possible avenues to prevent money laundering and related financial crimes, also has become quite difficult. John’s book Red Alert, is an excellent and compre- hensive compilation of existing risks and potential solutions, with detailed narratives on how to effectively implement. In addition, John has included a significant number of summaries of actual cases, which provide an excellent framework for anyone truly interested in understanding the root cause of some significant money laundering matters. Understanding the how money laundering occurred, provides for the ability to identify and implement meaningful solutions. While others may have been able to research and bring together some of this information, no one is more uniquely qualified than John to bring together all relevant information in one publication. This a book that will serve as a primary reference for most all things money laundering and financial crime related.”..Rick Small, Vice President, enterprise-wide AML and Sanctions Risk Management, American Express. Formerly served as global AML leader for GE Money, Managing Director of Global Anti-Money Laundering at Citigroup and prior to that, as special counsel at the Federal Reserve System with responsibility for all Bank Secrecy Act and money laundering matters. Rick is also a former Co-Chair of the Wolfsberg Group

John Cusack has been at the leading edge of the banking industry’s anti-money laundering agenda for well over a decade. He has compiled here a comprehensive picture of the legislative and regulatory history and international standards that have brought us to where we are today, along with subject matter analysis of cases, typologies, enforcements, and perpetra- tors. In all this is the ‘must have’ compendium for anyone constructing or assessing their AML programme, and is a fitting and worthy tribute to Matt Cooper’s work.”….Allan Williams

“John Cusack offers the reader an insight into a world which is unfortunately only too real, though one many rarely see,in any event with up front clarity and precision drawing from his many years of experience. UBS is only one of many stakeholders who can help in the fight to combat money laundering, a fight that John rightly identified requires still much greater focus on effectiveness and more resourceful co-operation between public and private parties. This at a time when co- operation and trust evidently requires renewed investment. We need to always remember that TRUST IS THE SUM OF ALL PROMISES. Accordingly John lays bare the harms and very significant threats we all face in not working together and in allowing trust to wither. I thank all readers to take this to heart.”…. Markus Diethelm, UBS Global General Counsel.

This weighty tome amply demonstrates why financial crime deserves a higher priority in both thought and resources, as Mr. Cusack exhorts. All those involved in the challenge should either read this book, or know it already – which given it’s encyclopaedic quality, is somewhat unlikely.”
John Mair, Head of Project Integrity, EBRD; former Group Financial Crime Director, Lloyds Banking Group.

Perhaps best described as the ‘The ultimate guide to Money Laundering detection and prevention’… even experienced Anti-Financial Crime professionals will gain some unique insights from this book on aspects they may have not dealt with (so frequently). The author and contributors are the top of the top in their field and this is a must have reference guide, if you are serious about combating financial crimes. You want to spice up your next presentation with some juicy insights… look no further!”…Markus Schulz, Global Head FCC Controls, SCB and Former Chief Compliance Officer GE Capital International and former Group Financial Crime Officer Zurich Insurance.

One of the most striking things that comes through on reading John Cusack’s excellent book is how often in the financial services industry in particular firms repeat the same mistakes. The similarities between our own recent “rogue trader” and Jerome Kerviel’s exploits at Soc Gen is but one striking example. Our greatest weapon to combat such failure is the educa- tion of the professionals in the industry and John’s book is a major contribution in this regard. It is an invaluable tool for all in the industry, regulator or regulated.”…Andrew Williams, Partner at Simmons & Simmons, Consultant and Former General Counsel UBS Wealth Management Retail & Corporates and former UBS Global Head of Compliance.

A compendium, a digest , a manifesto: ‘Red Alert ‘ represents an essential tool for anyone interested in Financial Crime. Whether you are an AML professional, an academic, a regulator, a consultant or just interested in knowing more about how money laundering works , how financial institutions are impacted by it and the ways they try to prevent and detect it, you will find this book invaluable. Written by one of the financial industry’s most respected practitioners, it represents an excellent resource as well as advocating practical ways in which the fight against financial crime could be made more effective.”……Chris Davies, APAC General Counsel, SocGen, former SocGen Group Compliance Head and Wolfsberg Group Co-Chair (2010-2013).

John Cusack’s reputation as a leading thinker and practitioner in the bank compliance field is well-established and will be re-inforced by this path breaking volume. Perhaps less appreciated is John’s more longstanding membership in a less saintly trade. The broad thematic treatment and trenchant case study analysis displayed here derive in large part from his legal background. The one-two punch this book delivers sets John apart, and commends this work to compliance and legal professionals. Indeed one submits that lawyers may have the most to learn from perusing it.
Marc Cohen, Partner, Regulatory & Financial Crime, Mayer Brown

“All you ever needed to know about financial crime
Heidi Suila, Former Head of Financial Crime Compliance, Nordea

Until now “Red Alert” has not been publicly available, and is only available on request to  senior financial crime practitioners. For more details on “Red Alert,” contact the author.

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