Wednesday, November 8, 2023


Taken from today's Times of Israel:

"The Shin Bet also releases quotes from the interrogation of several Hamas members who took part in the October 7 onslaught and were captured.

“Al-Qassam has its own ambulances, some of which are located on the military base. The appearance of the ambulances is similar to the civilian ambulances so that they will not arouse suspicion or be bombed by Israel,” says one Hamas terrorist.

Another Hamas terrorist says that “during combat, the ambulances are used, among other things, to evacuate fighters, commanders and operatives. They also transport food, cargo and weapons in them because that is the safest way to transport them.”'

Money launderers successfully employ the tactics of deception daily, and they fool compliance officers most of the time. What you assumed was a foreign financial institution with a name you recognize, and therefore assign a low-risk designation to, is in truth and in fact a shell company with a name in which only one letter, or even punctuation or font, has been cleverly changed, resulting in "skim milk [legally] masquerading as cream."

My narcotics trafficking clients were able to smuggle drugs into the Continental United States by placing the contraband within steel tubes that purported to be safety devices carried upon sailboats, complete with instructional placards and bogus registered trademark markings. They were never identified by US Customs, because they were hiding in plain sight, and they appeared to be something one might expect to see. The best tools and implements of deception are accepted as the real McCoy by everyone who sees them.

A good money launderer takes well-known symbols of legitimate commerce, such as financial institutions, multinational and Fortune 500 companies, and artfully (and some might say magically) alters one tiny aspect, so that a shell company with no brick-and-mortar existence becomes a paragon of the business world, instantly seen by bankers as one to be not only trusted, but welcomed due to the prospect of lucrative future business. I have seen bankers be impressed with just an establishment name, which in reality was merely smoke-and-mirrors posing as the genuine article.

Therefore, compliance officers who are exposed to such icons of the international business world are cautioned to trust but verify, as President Reagan once remarked. Check outlisted street addresses, telephone numbers, and especially emails, to see that they are the one and the same as the ones publicly listed. Otherwise, you too may fall victim to money launderers' Tactics of Deception.

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