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 […]

In addition to the usual ways that countries evade sanctions, North Korea has undertaken a new method – stealing cryptocurrency. A string of thefts against South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges have been blamed on the DPRK. Billions of won (in cryptocurrency) have been stolen, primarily through malware-laden spear-phishing emails. North Korea employs an elite hacker group, […]

North Korea has ‘laundered’ its coal through Russian ports, contravening UN sanctions. The DPRK is suspected of having shipped coal to a port in Russia, and departed with, at least in part, Russian coal, in what is described as a sanctions-busting scheme. The scheme appears to also have been facilitated by the use of front […]

Around 2015, US-based Mohamed Elshinawy made contact with an ISIL external operative recruiter and began planning  and attack in the US. The attack plan first involved the assassination of an individual (unspecified). When it became clear that Elshinawy was unable to complete that attack, ISIL directed him to conduct a mass-casualty attack. Over the course […]

The cement giant LafargeHolcim is being investigated for potential terrorist financing due to their activities in Syria. Lafarge is suspected of paying somewhere between $5 million and $20 million in protection money to armed groups in Syria in order to keep the cement plant open, with an estimated $500,000 paid to the Islamic State. The […]

In 2013, Danske Bank was made aware of potential money laundering through its branch in Estonia. The whistleblower report suggested that the bank was being used by Putin’s family and a group of accused money launderers to launder funds, and that the Russian Intelligence Service, the FSB, was also using it for the same purpose. […]

In the wake of the Manafort revelations, John Cassara, noted money laundering expert, has written a scathing article in Politico. In the article (which I recommend you read in full), he describes the Bank Secrecy Act as outdated, inefficient and expensive, and rightly articulates that it is impossible to get a real sense of the […]

There are a good number of issues with this report on UK charities put out by the Henry Jackson society, starting with the idea that a country can reasonably and effectively police the individuals who are “involved” with a charity (outside of the role of directors or persons of influence) in volunteer roles, supporters, attendees, […]

The United Nations released a monitoring team report on ISIL and AQ that highlights some financing trends. For ISIL, the UN expects the group to resort to Al-Qaeda in Iraq-style financing methods due to loss of territory. Funds are also continuing to flow from ISIL to its branches, while the affiliates are looking to diversify […]

The Islamic State is far from bankrupt. The group may have lost the majority of its territory, but it likely anticipated this eventuality and prepared financially. The group is reported to have stashed millions across the region through investments in companies in Iraq, the purchase of gold in Turkey, and the transfer of millions to […]

START has undertaken a new (and novel) analysis of terrorist financing. The organization has created a new dataset of geocoded entities drawn from state and international lists of sanctioned individuals and entities. While there are not a lot of surprises (Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the United States feature strongly as geographies of terrorist financing), the analysis […]

Southern Poverty Law Centre has released an analysis of alt-right financing using bitcoin. The group has compiled profiles of alt-right groups and individuals with links to their bitcoin wallets from which you can see how much money each individual or entity has received through bitcoin transactions. While bitcoin has often been lauded  for its anonymity, […]

If you’re looking for a broad overview of the cryptocurrency sector, look no further, as Cambridge’s Centre for Alternative Finance has produced an in-depth analysis on the subject. It provides a robust overview of the different industry sectors (exchanges, wallets, payments and mining) with loads of visuals and data. The one thing missing (though likely […]

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has publicly confirmed that ISIL in the Philippines received money from ISIL supporters for its activities. This designation package also names a Somalia-based livestock-trading company as a front for ISIL and  a Turkey-based company involved in the procurement of UAV components. These international connections […]

The 2018 review of FINTRAC’s legislation could be more interesting in years past. Two events that have taken place since the centre’s last review could raise public interest in the review. These two (related) issues are the centre’s administrative monetary penalty (AMP) program, and transparency relating to the naming of non-compliant reporting entities. Following a […]