Phase 2 of the research serves to build upon the foundation laid in Phase 1. The Phase 2 research further explores: the criminal groups utilizing digital assets in illegal activities; how these criminal groups are conducting illicit activity and recruiting members; cryptocurrency ATMs and Point-of-Sales illicit uses; generative AI applications in cybercrime; darknet market use of digital assets; the evolving use of cryptocurrencies (especially the year to date change); criminal activity’s impact on government and private sector; and additional policy recommendations. Although illicit use can never be completely eliminated, it can be mitigated by increased consumer knowledge, proactive law enforcement investigations, and better practices and regulations issued by key stakeholders.
DHS Public-Private Analytic Exchange Program Report: Combatting Illicit Activity Utilizing Financial Technologies and Cryptocurrencies Phase I
Private and public sector analysts and subject matter experts working in the cyber financial landscape gathered through a series of meetings to examine the use of financial technologies and cryptocurrencies by illicit actors. The key research points investigated include discovering the most common illicit finance activities, the most exploited elements of financial technologies, the legal vulnerabilities that allow exploitation, pseudo-anonymity in online transactions, weaknesses in Know-Your-Customer laws, and the risks of use associated with other emerging blockchain applications (i.e. NFTs). The research gathered from investigating these areas led to the development of suggested, effective changes to reduce illicit activity in this space and identifying the key stakeholders to implement these changes. This paper seeks to provide guidance in navigating cryptocurrencies, emerging digital payment solutions, and other blockchain applications to both consumers and stakeholders to minimize the illicit use of these platforms. While illicit use cannot be eliminated altogether, it can certainly be reduced with better consumer knowledge and better practices/regulations issued by key stakeholders.
This report highlights that understanding how a terrorist organisation manages its assets is critical to starving the organisation of funds and disrupting their activities in the long term. Terrorist organisations have different needs, depending on whether they are large, small, or simply constituted of a network of seemingly isolated individuals. The section on financial management explores the use of funds by terrorist organisations, not only for operational needs but also for propaganda, recruitment and training, and the techniques used to manage these funds, including allocating specialised financial roles. The report finds that authorities need to do further work to identify and target various entities responsible for these functions.
To examine the current money laundering and terrorist financing threats associated with correspondent banking, the Subcommittee selected HSBC as a case study. HSBC is one of the largest financial institutions in the world, with over $2.5 trillion in assets, 89 million customers, 300,000 employees, and 2011 profits of nearly $22 billion. HSBC, whose initials originally stood for Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation, now has operations in over 80 countries, with hundreds of affiliates spanning the globe. Its parent corporation, HSBC Holdings plc, called “HSBC Group,” is headquartered in London, and its Chief Executive Officer is located in Hong Kong.
If you’re trying to set up an untraceable shell corporation, your best bet may no no longer be a tax haven or some far away island nation. According to a surprising new study, developed countries like the U.S. and Canada are among the easiest places in the world to set up the kind of anonymous shell corporation that could be used for money laundering, terrorist financing and other nefarious activities. In contrast, known tax havens like the Seychelles, Bahamas and the Cayman Islands all present far more obstacles to the establishment of untraceable corporate structures due to their more stringent compliance with international regulations. In fact, the study found that U.S.-based incorporation services provide one of the easiest routes to establishing an anonymous shell corporation, with only Kenya surpassing the U.S. in terms of noncompliance.
A United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime research report from October 2011 that “attempts to shed light on the total amounts likely to be laundered across the globe, as well as the potential attractiveness of various locations to those who launder money” and “examine the magnitude of illicit funds generated by drug trafficking and organized crime.”
Al-Shabaab, an al-Qaida ally, relies on a broad range of funding sources to support its terrorist and paramilitary operations in Somalia. However, little comprehensive information is available on the character and extent of this funding network within the large communities of Somali expats in Kenya. Existing reports suggest that alternative remittance systems (ARS), especially hawaladars, are a reliable source of income for Somalis still living in Somalia. Expat family members living in Kenya rely on these systems to transfer money to their relatives in Somalia. Recent reports suggest al-Shabaab is a beneficiary of these services1. Al-Shabaab could exploit current and future hawaladar networks in Kenya to transit funds to support IED operations against US or allied humanitarian or military operations. Thus, networks of undocumented and unmonitored hawaladars within the country could pose a threat to future counterterrorism or humanitarian operations in the region. Further study of the role of ARS in Kenya in the funding of al-Shabaab operations is recommended.
This handbook provides an understanding of the processes and procedures being employed by joint force commanders (JFCs) and their staffs to plan, execute, and assess counter threat finance (CTF) activities and integrate them into their joint operation/campaign plans. It provides fundamental principles, techniques, and considerations related to CTF that are being employed in the field and are evolving toward incorporation in joint doctrine.
The intent of the Houston HIDTA Threat Assessment, produced by the Houston Intelligence Support Center (HISC), is to identify the potential impact of drug trafficking trends within the Houston HIDTA and to deliver accurate and timely strategic intelligence to assist law enforcement agencies in the development of drug enforcement strategies.
As authorities have clamped down on traditional financing pipelines, such as charitable front groups, and as terrorist networks have grown increasingly decentralized, terrorists have turned to criminal activities to finance their operations locally. Throughout the world, Al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah operatives have involved themselves in an array of criminal enterprises, including counterfeiting, drug dealing, cigarette smuggling, credit card fraud, auto theft, kidnapping, extortion, and artifact trafficking. Although criminality is outlawed under Islamic law, the Al Qaeda manual advises that “necessity permits the forbidden.” Reflecting this theory, when Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) operatives questioned whether hacking into foreigners’ bank accounts was acceptable in Islam, JI leader Abu Bakr Bashir reportedly responded, “[if] you can take their blood; then why not take their property?” “Terrorist groups are particularly interested in raising funds through crime because as Lieutenant Colonel David LaRivee, Associate Professor of Economics at the United States Air Force Academy, stated, “many of the agencies responsible for enforcement in these areas do not traditionally focus on counterterrorism nor do they have strong ties with counterterrorist agencies. This means that many indictable criminal activities that support terrorism are overlooked because they seem insignificant when evaluated locally, but are in fact very significant when considered from a broader perspective.” In order to disrupt these financing efforts, “local law enforcement officials will be key,” as the FBI assessed in a May 25, 2005 Intelligence Bulletin.
我国腐败分子向境外转移资产的 途径及监测方法研究 Confidential People’s Bank of China Report on Billions in Theft by Government Officials from June 2008.
Every year, U.S. officials from agencies with anti-money laundering responsibilities meet to assess the money laundering situations in 200 jurisdictions. The review includes an assessment of the significance of financial transactions in the country‘s financial institutions involving proceeds of serious crime, steps taken or not taken to address financial crime and money laundering, each jurisdiction‘s vulnerability to money laundering, the conformance of its laws and policies to international standards, the effectiveness with which the government has acted, and the government‘s political will to take needed actions.
The BCCI Affair: Bank of Credit and Commerce International Senate Investigation Report December 1992
The relationships involving BCCI, the CIA, and members of the United States and foreign intelligence communities have been among the most perplexing aspects of understanding the rise and fall of BCCI. The CIA’s and BCCI’s mutual environments of secrecy have been one obvious obstacle. For many months, the CIA resisted providing information to the Subcommittee about its involvement with and knowledge of BCCI. Moreover, key players who might explain these relationships are unavailable. Some, including former CIA director William Casey, and BCCI customers and Iranian arms dealers Ben Banerjee and Cyrus Hashemi, are dead. Others, including most of BCCI’s key insiders, remain held incommunicado in Abu Dhabi.
US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Cross-Border Electronic Transmittals of Funds Reporting System Proposals
FinCEN, a bureau of the Department of the Treasury (Treasury), to further its efforts against money laundering and terrorist financing, and as required by 31 U.S.C. § 5318(n), is proposing to issue regulations that would require certain banks and money transmitters to report to FinCEN transmittal orders associated with certain cross-border electronic transmittals of funds (CBETFs). FinCEN is also proposing to require an annual filing with FinCEN by all banks of a list of taxpayer identification numbers of accountholders who transmitted or received a CBETF.
Digital currencies combine the intrinsic value of gold and other precious metals as well as the designated value of national currencies with the worldwide reach of the Internet to create an ideal mechanism for international money laundering. Users can anonymously fund digital currency accounts, send those funds (sometimes in unlimited amounts) to other digital currency accounts worldwide, and effectively exchange the funds for foreign currencies—often while bypassing U.S. regulatory oversight.
This report details key findings of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s (FinCEN) assessment of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) filed from May 2, 2007, through April 30, 2008, by insurance companies and includes some preliminary observations about SARs filed from May 2008 through October 2009. It compares the results through April 2008 with a similar study of the first year of required reporting by segments of the insurance industry (May 2, 2006, through May 1, 2007). FinCEN analyzed insurance filings to identify typologies, patterns, and trends related to filing volume, filer location, subject details, characterizations of suspicious activities, insurance products, and other relevant information. Analysis includes summaries of SAR narratives identifying reported money laundering risks and vulnerabilities. In identifying potential trends, FinCEN reached out to representatives of the Bank Secrecy Act Advisory Group (BSAAG) to better understand what the industry is seeing with regard to these trends. That information is summarized in the Significant Findings section.
Bernie Madoff List of Counterparties, February 3, 2009.
MoneyGram Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Guides for the Caribbean and Latin America, United States, and Canada.
A basic legal framework for combating money laundering and terrorist financing is in place in the UAE, but that framework needs further strengthening in a number of areas. The AML law needs to be amended to expand the range of predicate offences and to provide greater powers for the financial intelligence unit. The FIU should also increase its own staffing so that it may operate as an autonomous unit, rather than relying on the resources of the Central Bank’s Supervision Department and other regulatory agencies.
An assessment of the anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) regime of Italy was onducted based on the Forty Recommendations 2003 and the Nine Special Recommendations on Terrorist Financing 2001 of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and prepared using the AML/CFT Methodology 2004. The assessment considered the laws, regulations and other materials supplied by the authorities, and information obtained by the assessment team during its mission April 4–20, 2005, and subsequently.
The financial sector in Liechtenstein provides primarily wealth-management services, including banking, trust, other fiduciary services, investment management, and life insurance-based products. There has been significant expansion recently in the non-banking areas, particularly investment undertakings and insurance. Approximately 90 percent of Liechtenstein’s financial services business is provided to nonresidents, many attracted to Liechtenstein by the availability of discrete and flexible legal structures, strict bank secrecy, and favorable tax arrangements, within a stable and well-regulated environment.
This assessment of observance of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) has been completed as part of an evaluation of Panama’s observance of regulatory standards for the financial sector.
Criminal activity in the Czech Republic that generates major sources of illegal proceeds is comparable to criminal activity in other countries in transition. Economic crime (e.g., fraud and asset stripping) that is linked to the privatization process is still a major concern. The authorities also mentioned tax offences as significant crime areas. Organized crime involving drug trafficking and counterfeiting of goods is also active in the Czech Republic with links to the region and Asia.
This assessment of the anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) regime of Bermuda is based on the Forty Recommendations 2003 and the Nine Special recommendations on Terrorist Financing 2001 of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). It was prepared using the AML/CFT assessment Methodology 2004, as updated in June 2006. The assessment team considered all the materials supplied by the authorities, the information obtained on-site during their mission from May 7 to 23, 2007, and other information subsequently provided by the authorities soon after the mission. During the mission, the assessment team met with officials and representatives of all relevant government agencies and the private sector.
New sources of financial intelligence – all banks are required by law to report suspicious transactions to the SIFIU. Since 2006, banks have reported over [x] Suspicious Transaction Reports. Assisted by SIFIU, banks are required to train staff to recognise and report suspicious transactions and to appoint a Money Laundering Compliance Officer (MLRO). Key new sources of financial intelligence to commence in 2009 include Western Union Money Transfer Service, and Customs and Immigration will commence monitoring and reporting currency movements across the border of $50,000 or more in Solomon Islands Dollars (or foreign currency equivalent).