In this Russia Threat Assessment, the focus is on Corruption, Drug Trafficking, Fraud. Cybercrime, Human & wildlife Trafficking, Money laundering, International sanctions and much more besides.
Russia Threat Assessment
Global Threat Assessment
by John Cusack
Despite the limitations presented in estimating criminal activity designed to be hidden, the results in the Global Threat Assessment present a bleak picture.
Criminal markets are generating more illicit funds than at any other time in our history, with ever more harmful effects inflicted against every Country, against billions of people and against our increasingly fragile environment.
We are witnessing the transformation of organised crime into very big business, leveraging networks to connect criminal actors, adopting poly criminality, embracing new cyber tools and opportunities afforded by the transformation to digital.
How big, which Countries, by what Methods and by which Gangs, is summarised in this Global Threat Assessment, using over 100 publicly available studies or reports from credible sources, together with personal observations and recommendations from the author.
The UK faces significant risks as a result of the exceptionally large funds that flow through its financial sector, considered by many to be the largest financial centre in the world. To read / download the UK Threat Assessment see:
Illegal Fishing represents one of the largest markets open to and exploited by organised criminal groups, but beyond overfishing and the environmental challenges this brings, other serious crimes are also involved, including drugs and human trafficking, corruption and tax evasion, particularly effecting developing Countries. its time Illegal fishing was considered as a major financial crime issue as well as an environmental one. For more read the Intelligence Briefing on IUU Fishing by FCN.
With fish and other aquatic animals an important part of many peoples diet, it’s estimated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, that we catch approximately 171 million metric tons (likely more than 2 trillion fish) annually (2016) worth an estimated USD362 billion.
Extract from the Wolfsberg Group: The Wolfsberg Group, with the support of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the Bankers Association for Finance and Trade (BAFT), launched a short awareness video focussed on Trade-Based Money Laundering (TBML):
This supplements both the 2009 Wolfsberg Trade Finance Principles and the 2017 publication of a more comprehensive paper, produced in close collaboration with both the ICC and BAFT.
While TBML is a serious financial crime threat, and increasingly a means by which criminals launder billions of dollars each year, it is also one of the least understood. As the volume of trade finance transactions provided by non-bank entities (open account transactions) increases, the visibility that banks have of end to end trade finance activity decreases.
According a Chinese proverb, “the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, the next best time is now,” and so it goes with preventing and detecting Money Laundering and Terrorism Finance. China has not wasted time, but still has more to do. With significant proceeds of crime generated, in keeping with its status as the world’s second largest economy, a robust response is required. According to an IMF Report, together with APG, adopted by FATF and published in April 2019 “China has a strong understanding of the money laundering and terrorist financing risks it faces, but it should focus more on the laundering of proceeds of crime and increase the range of sources used for its national risk assessment.
The Wolfsburg Group Guidance on Customer Tax Evasion was published on 14th May, 2019 and informs FI’s on how they can mitigate and manage the risks associated with money laundering in the form of illegal tax evasion. Addressing the financial crime risks posed to FI’s from clients using FI products and services to evade paying their lawful taxes and or facilitating a tax fraud scheme could not be more timely, as both tax evasion and tax fraud:
- are now considered by FATF as a predicate offence for money laundering,
- are included as one of three priorities of the IMF which require attention, alongside combatting terrorism and corruption;
- is a G20 objective; and a UN sustainability goal
The objective of this Guidance is to help FI’s prevent the use of their worldwide operations for criminal purposes and to protect an FI’s reputation, recognising that tax evasion may be different to other forms of money laundering. Continue reading
According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), recoveries fines & penalties arising out of the Panama Papers, has exceeded US$1.2 billion. The announcement coincided with the 3 year anniversary of publication. Countries that have provided details of amounts include the UK (US$252mio), France (US$136 mio), Australia (US$135mio) & Belgium (US$22.5 mio).
The EU Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance (TAX3 Committee) concluded a 12 month study and presented recommendations to overhaul current systems in the EU for dealing with financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance, notably by improving cooperation in all areas between the large number of authorities involved, to setting up new bodies at the EU and at International level. The TAX3 Committee report also registered “great concern about member states’ general lack of political will in EU Council to tackle tax evasion/avoidance and financial crime.”
The Committee was established on 1 March 2018, by the European Parliament and was in response to concerns raised and revelations such as from the Panama and Paradise Papers and numerous AML cases.
This book tells the story of the rise and fall of Hermitage Capital, once the largest foreign investor in post soviet Russia, which made vast fortunes alongside oligarchs and criminals, sharing the spoils from the rigged privatisation of Russian Companies and the crooked markets that developed. As Hermitage made huge profits, the Company, its founder and CEO, Bill Browder, his associates and his Russian lawyers became targets, with Browder having his visa revoked and then his Russian Companies taken. According to Browder, he was taken out by powerful forces on instructions from the highest levels of the the Russian government. Browder tells of his losing battle, uncovering serious criminality by the Russian Interior ministry that took over his Companies, restated their reported profits and collected hundreds of millions of dollars in tax rebates.