Sunday, August 19, 2018


St. Johns, Antigua

During my misspent youth as a money launderer, in the "Miami Vice" era of the 1980s, the US Government alleged that I had spent a couple of weeks operating from a Caribbean tax haven. It reached that conclusion based upon the fact that there was no evidence to show that I had exited that jurisdiction. In truth and in fact, investigators had simply failed to find the arrival/departure card that i had surrendered when it left,

What if law enforcement investigators were then able to track and trace my movements there, in and out of a dodgy attorney's offices, and into an offshore bank, with narcotrafficking clients in tow ? That may sound like science fiction, but due to the unique advantages offered by facial recognition software platforms, it is now within the ability of  law enforcement agencies, should they choose to avail themselves of its features.

To understand how this is a real possibility, we need first to be aware of the expanding global nature of the rapidly expanding use of CCTV, for the purposes of tactical crime suppression. You may not know that the coverage is no longer limited to Central London, which you certainly have seen up close when visiting, but it is now widespread:

George Town, Grand Cayman
(1) Caribbean tax havens, faced with an unwanted increase in street crime, have vastly increased the number of CCTV cameras in downtown urban areas. These also happen to be the locations of offshore banking facilities, attorneys' offices, and the financial services firms who form shell companies.

(2) The Peoples' Republic of China has the largest closed circuit monitoring system in the world, with over 170 million cameras; it is slated to expand to 400 million by 2020, and its system paid CCTV with an advanced facial recognition software platform that was able to locate a BBC reporter in seven minutes, in a test of its capabilities.

(3) China, as well as other countries, including the UK, Germany and several manufacturing centers in the European Union, are exporting vast number of surveillance systems to governments in the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. The result will eventually be a global network of CCTV  footage potentially available to law enforcement agencies looking for specific money launderers and financial criminals.

Basseterre, St. Kitts

Will the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) soon be tracking the movements of a known money launderer, as he traverses the downtown area of a tax haven jurisdiction's capital city, in and out of offices, on a particular day, to prove that he was engaged in bulk cash smuggling ? What about the FBI, actually following a Ponzi schemer down the street of an offshore financial center, in real-time ?  These are not sheer fantasies, but the artful use of facial recognition software programs to conduct successful money laundering investigations. It could vastly improve the ability of law enforcement to track and trace criminal activities abroad.

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