Monday, October 20, 2014


The law is clear: a money service business must have both a FinCEN, and a state license, to legally operate in the United States. That point was painfully brought home a couple of years ago in the Rosemont Financial Corporation case, which cost many Venezuelan businesses obscene fines and civil penalties, but it appears that one San Diego attorney failed to read any of the articles covering the matter. Richard Medina, Jr., Esquire, and a co-conspirator, have been charged with multiple Federal felonies, including money laundering, for operating an unlicensed money transmitter business from that city. They operated what can only be described as a full-service money laundering money transmitter.

It gets better; the defendants allegedly advertised that they could pick up six figure cash shipments, anywhere in the United States, and transfer the money globally, for clients who needed this money laundering service, with no questions asked about Source of Funds, or Beneficial Ownership of the cash. For the defendants, the customer was always right. Didn't this lawyer grasp the importance of an MSB license, or the AML/CFT laws and regulations for a money service business ?

The final insult to our intelligence: the money was funneled through the lawyer's IOTA account. IOTA, which stands for Interest on Trust Account program, applied to attorney checking trust accounts, which hold client's money short-term, and which exist to send the interest earned thereon to fund court-approved programs. Using an IOTA account to launder money is not only stupid, as they are routinely audited, but a personal insult to the state bar association, and the judiciary, which selects the programs to fund. We trust that the Court applies an appropriate term of imprisonment for this attorney; perhaps he can read up on the requirements for operating an MSB in the prison law library.



This is Calvin Ayre, a Canadian national believed to be currently residing in Antigua, but who has also been seen in Canada. He is on the Department of Homeland Security/Immigration and Customs Enforcement Most Wanted Fugitive List, due to his indictment in the District of Maryland, for money laundering, and for massive violations of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. His billion dollar offshore Internet gambling empire, Bodog, using corporations domiciled in Malta, relies upon third-party financial institutions, outside of the United States, to pay its winners.

In the event that an individual who looks like this photo seeks to open a corporate account relationship with you, his DOB is May25,1961, he is 6'2" tall, and weighs approximately 200 pounds.


The leaders of Turkey & Hamas, holding hands.
Turkey, which has become a major political supporter of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, and is playing host to a number of senior Hamas officials, who now openly operate from there, bears close watching, when donor funds for Gaza reconstruction begin to flow into the Palestinian Authority. Given the long and sordid history, of Hamas leaders siphoning off money for themselves, you can expect a portion of the reconstruction funds to be cleverly diverted into their pockets.

Since all money stolen in the Territories cannot be safely kept there, due to the threat of discovery, and since Turkey is a known supporter, it is reasonable to expect that at least some of the diverted funds will end up transiting through Turkish banks, who will most certainly not ask the tough questions about Source of funds, and Beneficial Ownership of the cash.

Therefore, once the funding begins, it becomes prudent to thoroughly examine all large corporate wire transfers, originating from Turkish banks, where the sender does not appear to be actively engaged in ongoing business, where the company sending the funds is newly organized, and where you cannot ascertain the purpose of payments. You do not want to unwittingly bank dirty money from an official who is with a designated terrorist organization, and whose illicit fortune is later exposed in a law enforcement investigation.


Sunday, October 19, 2014


In what must be the absolute height of arrogance, the Swiss Government fined one of its nationals* for violating the country's bank secrecy laws. Trouble is, the man, who was a cooperating witness in the American UBS case involving Swiss bankers who entered the US to assist American tax evaders, was himself a criminal defendant whose guilt was adjudicated, and who was punished for his crimes. He frankly had no choice but to cooperate, given that he has immediate family residing in the US. Switzerland is trying to tell the US and the EU that it is cooperating, and it goes and burns a Swiss national, one of their own, for doing do ? The original purpose of the Swiss laws, hiding money from the Nazi regime, no longer exists, and, in a post- 9/11 world, things have to change.

It is high time that the archaic Swiss bank secrecy laws be abolished, and the two trillion dollars of "flight capital", much of which is untaxed wealth, and some of which is dirty money, be repatriated to the countries of origin. Failing that, let us remember that Switzerland, which has chosen not to be a member of either NATO nor the European Union, is not critical to the economies of Western Europe.

For good cause, preferential customs and immigration benefits extended to Switzerland can be revoked. Shall we put up the customs barriers again, or will Switzerland kindly join the rest of the financial world, and abandon its position as a shelter for tax cheats, corrupt dictators, drug barons, and terrorist financiers ?

My advice to FATF: remember that the Government of Switzerland deliberately and intentionally, delayed its negotiations with the United States, over the disclosure of the names of US clients, for several years. Don't be fooled; designate Switzerland now as a 'black" uncooperative tax haven.
*Renzo Gadola.


If you thought that Country Risk for Venezuela was already at dizzying heights, meaning that further financial exposure or investment is extremely dangerous, it just exploded off the charts. The price of oil, which Venezuela depends upon for 95% of its foreign exchange, has fallen to $82/bbl. Considering that the Government of Venezuela calculates the value of its oil at $120/bbl., the sharp decrease in oil prices means that the government could literally run out of capital for official services.

The Bolivar (BsF) continues to hover around 100 to one US Dollar ($1.00), meaning that it is worth essentially one penny in foreign exchange, which continues to inflict serious damage upon the Venezuelan economy, add that to the oil price drop, and you have a perfect storm. It will be unable to maintain current social programs, the subsidized gasoline price for consumers, and many other expenditures that keep the current Venezuelan regime afloat.

Where will the new revenue come from ? I have a few educated guesses, and you will not like any of them:

(1) The seizure of assets of foreign companies operating in Venezuela.
(2) More cooperation with transnational drug trafficking organizations.
(3) Assisting Hezbollah Venezuela with its illicit revenue-generating activities.
(4) Seizing assets of Venezuelan nationals linked to the Opposition, after charging them with a crime under some pretext.
(5) Selling more diamonds or gold to Iran.

All of the foregoing possibilities will result in increased Country Risk for Venezuela. Frankly, any US or EU financial institution that now extends itself in Venezuela, whether with the government, or in the private sector, had better be prepared to lose the entire amount, for a total economic meltdown could occur at any time. Basic risk management principles dictate no new involvement.



Still the world's preferred destination for dirty money
Conferees in Switzerland, declining to act, though under pressure from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), have refused to recommend that cash transactions in excess of CHF 100,000 (USD$106,000) be banned, and instead recommended certain compliance record keeping requirements, according to the Committee on Legal Affairs. Cash transactions under CHF 100,000 will continue to have no reporting or record keeping requirements in Switzerland, to the consternation of FATF.

The new due diligence requirements proposed by the committee are:
(1) Identification of Beneficial Owner and Counter-parties.
(2) creating and maintaining a written record of all such transactions.
(3) Details of all unusual transactions shall be clearly stated.

Conferees are also grappling with issues involving Beneficial Ownership, Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), and the creation of a new tax crime involving evasion, among other important reforms, but will any real reform ever be enacted, so long as $2Tr sits in Swiss banks ? That's the question many observers are asking. Whether Switzerland is to be "blacklisted" by the OECD, for repeated failure to reform its anti-money laundering laws, for continues inaction, remains an open question.


The French comedian, Dieudonne M'bala M'bala, whose racist performances are banned in France, has been charged with Money Laundering, tax evasion, and misuse of corporate assets. M'bala allegedly illegally transferred over €400,000 into Cameroon, using bulk cash smuggling, and wire transfers through Dubai; the defendant owns a front company that ostensibly exists to purchase oil for Cameroon. His wife and son, who are involved in his business activities, have been identified as facilitators in the illegal movement of money out of France. €660,000, in cash, was seized from his residence earlier this year, by French authorities.

M'bala, who has large unpaid fines outstanding in France, for racist acts, as well as substantial tax liability, was banned from entering the United Kingdom, after he made negative reference to the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth, during a performance. The French Government has asserted that M'bala attempted to file a bogus bankruptcy, to escape payment of the numerous fines.

M'bala's most controversial act is the use of a thinly-disguised Nazi hand salute, during his performances, and in public, which has enraged global public opinion, and caused the cancellation of all performances in France, due to his blatantly Anti-Semitic act. His racist conduct has been condemned by a vast majority of French citizens.

The inverted Nazi salute