Posts Tagged ‘counterfeiting’

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North Korea’s costly assault on U.S. currency

May 22, 2015

The reason the U.S. has had to incorporate high-tech features into its currency wasn’t because of domestic crooks. It was to retard North Korea from its ongoing, coordinated attempts to flood the world with counterfeit notes and devalue the greenback. This information comes from testimony before Congress by Dr. David Asher. Rep. Al Green (D-TX) asked witnesses about counterfeit bills and merchandise yesterday:

Meanwhile, Pakistan has been doing the same thing to India, a phenomenon that has been ignored by Western media. It’s time for national security analysts to take note that counterfeiting is no longer a strictly criminal activity for profit, but a state-sponsored activity for political, war-making, diplomatic, and larger economic purposes.

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Official funded terrorists from Pakistan’s embassy

February 10, 2015

A Pakistani visa official with a list of Hizb ut-Tahrir militants in his possession was detained by Bangladeshi authorities last month. The official, Mohammad Mazahar Khan, tried to destroy the list before his arrest, according to the Daily Sun. Mazahar was detained along with an accomplice, Mojibur Rahman. Mojibur subsequently confessed that he has circulated counterfeit Bangladeshi rupees on behalf of Mazahar and Mazahar’s predecessor before him. Bangladeshi authorities suspect that Pakistan is funding militant groups and undermining Bangladesh’s currency through Pakistan’s high commission (embassy) in Dhaka.

This “visa” official was actually a Pakistani intelligence agent (h/t Munazir) working at the embassy who got caught.  Bangladesh News 24 notes that, “It is not unusual for Pakistani nationals — and officials under diplomatic cover — to be engaged in criminal activities particularly in militants in Bangladesh.”

And we all just have to put up with these ongoing abuses by Pakistan in the interests of “diplomacy”?

From the Daily Sun on Feb. 2 (h/t CyberGroupBD):

An official of Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka is alleged to have been associated with financing the militants, money laundering and supplying counterfeit currencies. The official named Mohammad Mazahar Khan was detained red-handed by police last month but later released from Banani thana at the intervention of the High Commission. The connection of this assistant visa officer of Pakistan High Commission with the militants and his other misdeeds alongside have been revealed in intelligence investigation. Consequently an intelligence report has recommended for expulsion of visa officer Mazahar from Bangladesh at the earliest. Side by side, the report has suggested for enhancing surveillance on Pakistani nationals in Dhaka.

Intelligence officials have informed, the matters are being reviewed with caution because of diplomatic relations. It is difficult to verify any suspicion about High Commission officials. Even questioning can not be done due to the intervention of diplomats of the county concerned. The report has been submitted to the government last month mentioning about the alarming situation. According to police and intelligence sources two people named Mohammad Mazhar Khan and Mojibur Rahman were detained in a drive in the Moytri Market area of Banani on January 12 evening. Just at the time of being detained Mazhar tore down some papers. Joining the pieces of paper together later police found that the papers contained some Bangladeshi passport numbers and names. Even before those papers could be scrutinized Pakisani High Commission first secretary Samina Mahtab came to Banani thana and took away Mazahar Khan under her custody. Subsequently the intelligence people came to know through investigation that three of the people who’s passport numbers were written in the paper are directly linked with Hizbut Tahrir. Mujibur Rahman detained with Mazahar disclosed during interrogation that he was acquainted with Mazahar Khan through his predecessor. During the one decade Mujibor travel 20 times to Pakistan, 11 times to India and 22 times to Thailand. On the latest occasion Mazahar had given Mujibor 1.80 lakh Indian fake rupees to circulate those at different places. Mujibor made a confession before the court that Mazahar has used Zahid, Imran and some others in this business of fake rupees. Intelligence officials feel that this Pakistan High Commission official has a direct role in destroying the Bangladesh money market. The officials stated that Mazahar has contact with retired army and police officials, university teachers, businessmen and various others people. Sources said customs intelligence department detained Pakistan citizen Mohammad Imran from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on 15 January. 80 thousand Indian rupees were also found from him. Information revealed that Imran entered into Bangladesh through fake passport and visa.

Information is available that some officials of the Pakistan High Commission are involved in money laundering and making counterfeit notes. They are reportedly patronizing Hizb-ut-Tahrir, Ansarullah Bangla Team, Jamaat and its student organisation Shibir. The members of various militant outfits are getting foreign trips at the behest of the above officials’ help. Roles of the officials are dubious. Sources at the intelligence agencies claimed to have found evidence of involvement of some officials in trading counterfeit Indian currency. The name of Mazhar Khan can be mentioned in this regard. This diplomat has been financing the militants and arranging training for them. He is implementing various agendas of Pakistani intelligence ISI here. He has reportedly created a network in the host country. Abusing the diplomatic identity, he has resorted to masterminding sabotage and criminal activities. The intelligence report recommended for expulsion of Mazhar from this country. It also underscored the need for keeping a close eye on the people coming from Pakistan.

Asked about the matter, several intelligence sources said the officials of Pakistan High Commission were found to be involved in the rise of JMB and other militant network during the BNP-Jamaat regime. Such investigation could not be proceeded perhaps for the interest of bilateral relations between two countries…

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Sharia bank caught circulating counterfeits

October 5, 2014

Islami Bank Bangladesh, Ltd. (IBBL) has distributed counterfeit currency to a garment manufacturer that made a withdrawal to pay its employees’ wages, according to local police.

IBBL, the biggest sharia-compliant bank in Bangladesh, has previously been implicated by the government for diverting profits to terrorist groups as a form of corporate zakat, and is currently under a national investigation for its expenditures. The counterfeit scheme raises the possibility of wider fraudulent activities by IBBL that even previously suspected.

From the Dhaka Tribune on Sep. 14 (h/t Munazir):

Fake notes distributed by Islami Bank

The incident is brewing anger and distrust among that bank’s subscribers

Garments company Lumbini Ltd withdrew Tk50 crores to pay its employee-salary from Bandarban Islami Bank on Thursday September 11 in which thousands of bank notes were found to be fakes.

The company paid employee salary to its 24 sections, out of which the Finishing Section received 500k sixty three thousand where the most number of notes were found to be fakes.

On Saturday, after joining work, the employees complained about the fake bank notes which prompted the company to recover 1,000 fake notes from its 26 employees. Later, those 26 employees were repaid with genuine notes.

The latest news is that police is seizing all the paid salary. They believe, more fakes may be recovered once the seizing process is completed. Police has tightened security around the garments.

The incident is brewing anger and distrust among that bank’s subscribers.

Islami Bank Bandarban branch Manager Nurul Hossain Kauser has denied any allegation of distributing fake bank notes. Among Bandarban Hill Tracts’ 7 upazillas,  there is only one of Islami Bank branch at Bandarban town’s Masjid building.

Many other Islami Bank subscribers are coming out saying they also received fake notes from the bank before…

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How Hamas skirts sanctions to fund terror ops

August 8, 2014

Since Western banks won’t work with Hamas, the terrorist organization has developed several methods of accessing cash: trade-based money laundering by getting foreign suppliers to under-invoice them for imports, bulk cash smuggling from Jordan, taking advantage of diplomatic pouch immunity to launder money through consulates, manufacturing counterfeit medicine, and crooked real estate deals.

Excerpts from a recent Worldcrunch article follow:

Financing Hamas: How Cash Gets In The Wrong Hands In Gaza

Tomer Ganon (2014-07-28)

…Smuggling of money by traders is a relatively simple example for the tactics the Hamas leadership has developed to funnel money to the organization in Gaza, the West Bank and inside Israel, as Israeli banks have refused to allow money transactions to and from Gaza fearing it will be used for funding terrorism.

These tactics have become increasingly sophisticated since 2010, a recent report from the Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority (IMPA) found…

Another method for financing terror that IMPA had identified in past years is international commerce. According to one of its studies, terrorist elements have been using various business owners and traders for illicit fund transfers to Gaza.

This tactic, uncovered in 2008, has led to the indictment of two Israeli firms that traded foodstuff and customs representation. This is how it worked: Hamas leadership buys different goods, mostly basic food items, abroad for very low prices or even for free. It then employs straw men to contract a private company to import the goods to Israeli ports and then transfer them to the Palestinian territories. A local distributor, who is in fact a Hamas operative, receives the shipment and later sells the goods. The high revenues, thanks to the large profit margins, then go to terrorists’ coffers.

An additional pattern the IMPA study discovered was the use of accounts owned by diplomatic missions. Financial statements of an unidentified embassy, received by the agency, revealed a large number of transfers from its account to various elements in the Palestinian Authority, including those in Gaza.

An analysis has shown that one beneficiary was an entity suspected in facilitating money transfers to Hamas. IMPA believes the embassy’s transactions were made innocently, in what looked to be legitimate payments, without it being aware it could be aiding terror.

These tactics were identified by IMPA in the course of a review of financial transactions reporting as required by standing regulations. However, authorities are also looking elsewhere, including an emerging source of funding for terrorism in criminal activity, such as drug trade and the manufacture of counterfeit pharmaceuticals — activities that obviously go unreported, and whose extent is unknown.

According to sources in the enforcement authorities, it’s a simple equation. Drugs and fake medicine sold in Israel are often distributed by elements related to terrorist organizations such as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad

The article doesn’t touch on state sponsorship and weapons supplied to Hamas by Iran and Qatar, which is of course the bigger factor behind Hamas’s operations.  But for spare change the above tactics work quite well for Gaza’s terrorists.

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India’s currency change combats counterfeiting, but backdoor still wide open for money laundering

February 28, 2014

An email from our old friend Puneet aprised us to a new initiative in India to replace old currency notes with new notes with enhanced security features.

The reason for the change is speculated by many, including the BBC, to reduce the flow of black money (including undeclared, untaxed, counterfeit, and laundered money) through India’s economy.

Indeed, counterfeiting is a national crisis in India, and the new security features on the bills should help reduce the ability of counterfeiters to replicate the notes.

But in terms of getting illegally acquired but genuine notes off the street, this program doesn’t do much to cleanse the economy from the scourage of black money.

Live Mint points out that anybody who wants to exchange their old bills for new ones will be able to do so, and they won’t have to divulge their identities:

…If one looks at the RBI announcement, it is clear that the old currency notes can be exchanged for new ones at any bank branch from April to June 2014 without any questions being asked as to the name of the person giving the notes, her Permanent Account Number (PAN), address, etc. One can exchange the notes even at branches where one does not have a bank account. It is only after 30 June that one would have to give the name and PAN to exchange high denomination currency notes. Therefore, any person having undisclosed cash in her possession can easily exchange the old currency notes till June 2014 without disclosing her identity…

Also, Money Jihad notes that there doesn’t seem to be any provision in the new currency roll-out for bank tellers to report unusual amounts of cash that are brought in for exchange, or for them to report exchanges that they suspect are being made on behalf of undisclosed third parties.  Officials should move to incorporate such safeguards.

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Two imams arrested in bust of organized counterfeit clothing ring

January 3, 2014

Counterfeiting isn’t just about fake currency, but a host of knockoff products either sold on the black market or fraudulently passed off as legitimate brands to unsuspecting customers.

Imams at mosques in Xinzo de Limia and Ourense in Spain have been detained in connection with a multi-million dollar counterfeit clothing operation involving 10 illegal factories, 99 people, and 235 tons of phony clothes.

As Bloomberg’s Hitha Prabhakar warned us, retail crime represents “a $38 billion black market business that funds not only organized crime, but also terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Al Qaeda as well as drug lords in Central America.”

Thanks to Gisele for sending this in:

Two imams held as Spain police smash counterfeit clothing ring

Madrid (AFP) – Police have smashed Spain’s largest counterfeit clothing ring, arresting 99 people, including two imams, over the sale of 235 tonnes of fake designer clothes and shoes, the government said Saturday.

The ring made the counterfeit items in illegal factories in northern Portugal and then shipped them across the border by van to Xinzo de Limia, a city of around 100,000 people in northwestern Spain, the interior ministry said in a statement.

“The network, of Moroccan origin, had ‘regional delegates’ across Spain who distributed over the past two years 235 tonnes of fake garments and footwear, generating revenues of 5.5 million euros ($7.5 million),” it said.

“Part of this black money was hidden along with bank cards and other financial documents belonging to the organisation in the mosques of Ourense and Xinzo de Limia,” it added.

Among those arrested was the imam of the mosque of Xinzo de Limia, whom police said was one of the leaders of the ring. The mosque received nearly 100,000 euros in donations from the ring.

The imam at the mosque in the nearby city of Ourense was also detained as part of the operation. His name appears on bank accounts used by the group and police suspect him of helping to launder money earned by the ring.

Police searched over 117 locations across the country, including the two mosques, as part of their investigation, which was launched in September 2012 and carried out in cooperation with Portuguese authorities.

Police seized just over one million items of counterfeit clothing, as well as bank cards, several weapons and software containing the logos of over 200 registered brands.

Police also closed 10 illegal factories in northern Portugal where the fake goods were made.

The operation “dismantled the main network which manufactured and distributed counterfeit clothes in the Iberian Peninsula”, the statement said.

The authorities detained 65 people in Spain and 34 in Portugal. The arrested include 37 Senegalese nationals, 34 Portuguese citizens, 19 Moroccans and nine Spaniards.

One commenter on the original article made the observation that this story “helps explain why so many in the ME [Middle East] wear designer clothes.”

Previous reports have indicated that Hezbollah operates clothing manufacturing businesses in Europe.

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Pakistan’s covert war on India’s currency

August 14, 2013

Counterfeiting in India isn’t just being perpetrated by small time crooks and gangsters motivated by greed.  It is methodical economic warfare being waged by the government of Pakistan and its spy agency, the ISI.  The Hindu has the details:

Fake currency smuggling: three held

Police say seized fake currency will be sent to Forensic Science Laboratory for examination

The city police found that some ISI agents were smuggling fake currency from Pakistan and Bangladesh into the country. The agents were making efforts to hit the economy of India, said the police.

The Central Zone police arrested Abdul Aleem, a native of Lalagola Town, Musheerabad District of West Bengal and a former journalist Ch. Nandalal Bose in the city recently. Police seized Rs.3 lakh fake currency and Rs.80,000 original cash from them.

IB alert

The arrests were made just a couple of days after the Intelligence Bureau (IB) alerted the police over likely infiltration of suspected terrorists from Bangladesh on trains. The IB also cautioned the police over increasing ISI activities in the country.

During investigation, it was revealed that Aleem was smuggling fake currency using agents from Bangladesh to India in trains.

Middlemen

He had arranged middlemen at different places for circulating the fake notes in the market. Bose, who has financial problems, agreed to exchange the counterfeit currency by taking some amount, said the police.

“The notes seized from the accused were printed in Pakistan or Bangladesh and were smuggled from Malda District (border district of India with Bangladesh). There is a lot of difference between the local fake currency and the ISI counterfeit notes, which almost resembles original currency,” said a police officer investigating the case…