The US Department of the Treasury has imposed sanctions against Singapore-based companies and their director for evading sanctions targeting North Korea.  Tan Wee Beng, the director and shareholder of a Singapore-based commodities trading company Wee Tiong Holdings is accused of hiding the origin of payments and structuring transactions in order to help acquire goods for […]

The US Department of the Treasury‘s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned Afaq Dubai for the money services business’ involvement in moving funds for ISIL. The Iraq-based MSB moved money for the Islamic State as recently as 2018. The MSB is believed to be part of ISIL’s financial facilitation network that includes other MSBs, hawalas, […]

Samantha Elhassani aka Samantha Sally was charged on 22 August 2018 with providing material support to the Islamic State. She is alleged to have provided material support to the Islamic State between fall 2014 and summer 2015 by acquiring tactical gear for the group and providing funds for two individuals who joined the Islamic State. […]

North Korea is believed to have illegally imported coal and iron into South Korea by transhipping it through Russia, according to recent reports. According to South Korea, approximately $6 million worth of coal and pig iron illegally entered their ports last year from North Korea, potentially in violation of UN sanctions. Three local companies were […]

Effectively implementing sanctions against North Korea has been a difficult proposition. Despite sanctions, North Korea continues to raise foreign exchange to pay for imports from China. Part of the reason for this difficulty is that the country’s trade and finance networks operate unofficially, largely outside the detection capabilities of regulators, which in turn is partly due to […]

Belgian authorities have discovered than around €200,000 was transferred to Belgians fighting with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. No timeframe for the transfers was given, but the money is reported to have come primarily from friends and family of the foreign fighters. Funds were transferred  through money services businesses (Western Union was specifically named). […]

The DPRK uses a variety of schemes to circumvent sanctions and obtain the goods and services it requires. Recent reports reveal the details of one such procurement network in Malaysia. North Korean operatives abroad are known to engage in international trade in order to generate cash and obtain goods. Ri Jong Chol was one such […]

In another designation by the US Department of the Treasury, Mohammad Ibrahim Bazzi and Abdallah Safi-al-din were listed as specially designated global terrorists. Bazzi was designated as one of Hizballah’s top financiers, and for his link to drug dealers and is alleged to have laundered money to fund terrorism. Bazzi is also reported to have […]

On 15 May 2018, the US Department of the Treasury‘s Office of Foreign Asset Control announced new sanctions against the governor of the Central Bank of Iran, the chairman and CEO of Al-Bilad Bank (Iraq), and a Hizballah financier. According to OFAC, Valiollah Seif, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran facilitated the movement […]

On 16 May 2018, Turkey’s state-controlled bank Halkbank’s deputy general manager (Mehmet Hakan Atilla) was sentenced following a January 2018 conviction for helping Iran evade US sanctions. He helped Iran spend oil money abroad using fake gold and food transactions as cover. The central figure in the scheme was a Turkish-Iranian gold trader  (Reza Zarrab) […]

The relationship between Credit Bank Moscow PJSC and Rosneft has become very close. Last year, Rosneft placed 22 billion rubles (~ $355 million US) in long-term deposits at the bank that do not come due until 2066, shoring up the bank’s capital at a time when it’s stability was in question. Rosneft is now one […]

On 11 May 2018, the US and the UAE announced that they had jointly taken action to disrupt a currency exchange network that facilitated financing for the IRGC-QF. The entities in question used their access to exchanges in the UAE to acquire US dollars that the IRGC-QF used to fund and arm its regional proxy […]

The U.S. Treasury Department may start adding cryptocurrency addresses to its sanctions list if those addresses can be tied to a listed entity. While the addresses aren’t used more than once (as new addresses are generated each time a user requests money), compliance officers may still find the information helpful. Fundamentally, Treasury is signalling that […]

Standard Chartered’s branch in Singapore has been fined $3.94 million for breaching anti-money laundering and terrorist financing rules. Transactions that took place between 2015 and 2016 between Guernsey and Singapore ($1.4 billion) suggested that the clients may have been trying to avoid common reporting standards. The clients involved in the transactions had links to the […]

Increasingly, regulators are holding financial institutions responsible for their compliance failures. According to Joshua Fruth, the current industry detection logic is flawed and inefficient at detecting financial crime. There is currently too much focus on simple transactional behaviour. The cost of this failure includes a significant amount of false positives, wasted money on compliance, and […]