Posts Tagged ‘Switzerland’

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Bribes, waste, and abuse: suggested reading

February 18, 2016
  • The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps will cash in from sanctions relief on Iran… more>>
  • The Swiss may have paid the PLO in 1970 to prevent terrorist attacks in Switzerland… more>>
  • Question raised whether Sweden is still funding marksmanship training for Muslim refugees… more>>
  • Islamist preacher runs 140 tax-funded charter schools in U.S… more>>
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Money for terror: recommended news reading

March 26, 2015
  • Hamas was on the verge of bankruptcy until a Swiss offer to cover Hamas’s payroll… more>>
  • Bank compliance officers:  Do you know who your customers are in Latin America?  How about the customers of correspondent banks there?  It could include Hezbollahmore>>
  • The Obama administration appears to have violated long-standing U.S. policy in 2010 by having the CIA contribute $1 million toward a ransom payment to Al Qaeda for the release of a captive… more>>
  • Why effective organized crime groups inevitably seek international business relationships… more>>
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Dark money news: recommended reading

February 19, 2015
  • Names of three Golden Chain donors to Al Qaeda are said to have shown up on list of Swiss bank account holders… more>>
  • Billions are invested into the financial technologies of tomorrow while pennies are spent on security… more>>
  • Not persuaded that some diplomats launder money? The FBI says a former ambassador from Venezuela raised funds for Hezbollah while in office… more>>
  • Weapons smuggling is the target of recurring U.S. sanctions against small, obscure Iranian companies… more>>
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Terror finance news: recommended reading

July 10, 2014
  • Babar Ahmad to be sentenced for managing websites that raised money for Chechen jihadists, the Taliban and Al Qaeda… more>>
  • Victims of Iran-backed terrorism could seize Iranian Internet domain names to satisfy $1.2 billion in judgments they’ve won in court… more>>
  • Businesses engaged in commerce in Panama and Venezuela should take note of a bill before Congress to prevent the financing of Hezbollahmore>>
  • A Muslim Brotherhood figure accepts a $140,000 check from a Hamas-linked Kuwaiti charity to build a new mosque in Switzerland… more>>
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Swiss Nazi funded Palestinian terror

June 7, 2013

The documentary “Terror’s Advocate” about French lawyer Jacques Verges spends a few minutes examining the role of Francois Genoud, an unreformed Nazi from Switzerland, in sponsoring Palestinian terrorism and the legal defense funds of prominent Islamic terrorists from the 1950s to the 1970s:

Wikipedia, which calls Genoud “a noted Swiss financier and a principal benefactor of the Nazi diaspora,” also compiles additional details on Genoud’s support for “Arab liberation” (internal citations omitted):

Genoud became a passionate supporter of Arab liberation causes, funding many nationalist and left-wing organisations.

Algerian Liberation Front

While in Egypt in the 1950s, through contacts in Gamal Abdel Nasser’s government, he was introduced to the leaders of the Algerian Liberation Front, which he would eventually finance by 1954 after originally supplying weapons.  In 1958 he founded the Arab Commercial Bank, which would be active in lending to Arab nationalist groups and as the chief repository for the Algerian National Liberation Front.

Palestine

In the 1960s Genoud began supplying arms for Palestinian causes. The Lausanne-based New European Order organisation, met in Barcelona in April 1969 where Palestinian groups received financial support and Genoud placed them in contact with former Nazis who would assist their military training, including pledged support designated for the Palestinian Liberation Organisation. He was a close associate of Dr. George Habash and Jacques Verges, and in September 1969 he contributed finances for the legal expenses of three Palestinians from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine following their attack on an El Al flight in Zurich, where he personally sat at their defense table.

Genoud died in 1996.

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Habib Bank throws caution to the wind

May 30, 2012

Habib Bank and its former compliance officer Syed Itrat Hussain have been fined over a half million pounds by the British for downplaying the risks of dealing with customers in jurisdictions prone to money laundering and terror finance.

Banks, and especially their compliance divisions and officers, have a responsibility to adhere to anti-money laundering regulations and know-your-customer standards.  When opening an account or conducting business with citizens from corrupt, unstable, or rogue regimes, those customers represent a greater risk to the bank and to the international financial system.

But Syed Itrat Hussain saw things a little bit differently.  He and the Swiss-based (but Islamic-oriented) Habib Bank regarded customers from the notoriously corrupt and jihadi financial swamp of Pakistan as no different from bank clients in New Zealand or Norway.

From MoneyLaundering.com on May 22:

U.K.’s FSA Singles Out AML Officer for Fine, Penalizes Swiss Bank

By Brian Monroe

The United Kingdom’s banking regulator Tuesday penalized a Zurich-based financial institution and its former anti-money laundering officer a combined 540,000 pounds for broad failures in risk-ranking and enhanced due diligence procedures.

The U.K.’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) said that Habib Bank Zurich AG underestimated the risk of approximately 67 percent of the accounts the agency had reviewed. In doing so, the Swiss bank removed Pakistan and Kenya from its list of high-risk jurisdictions because it believed it had “specialist knowledge” of the countries that mitigated its vulnerabilities to financial crime, the agency said.

As a result, nationals of those countries “were treated as having the same risk profile as those from a country with a lower perceived risk of corruption, such as customers based in Norway or New Zealand,” said the FSA, which fined the bank 525,000 pounds. When regulatory officials properly adjusted the rankings for the jurisdictions, they found that Habib Bank officials had mistakenly rated 170 high-risk clients as posing “normal” risks.

As part of the enforcement action, which focused on violations between December 2007 and November 2010, the FSA also penalized former Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO) Syed Itrat Hussain 17,500 pounds for not ensuring that adequate anti-money laundering (AML) controls were in place at the institution.

“The failings were quite serious, particularly because so many of the bank’s customers are from high-risk countries,” said FSA spokeswoman Clare Murphy-McGreevey. “Part of the problem is that the bank relied on [Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index] in isolation,” without the context of data provided by the Financial Action Task Force and other organizations, she said.

The FSA singled out Hussain because, “in that role, you should really be responsible for ensuring everything is up-to-date and focusing on the ever evolving landscape of financial crime,” said Murphy-McGreevey. “It changes quite a bit and compliance officers have to keep on top of it.”

“AML is a big area of focus for us, particularly the responsibilities of the MLRO,” she said.

In Tuesday’s enforcement action, the regulator also cited inadequate AML audits, training and recordkeeping related to its employees and individual accounts. The bank did not properly assess whether the beneficial owners of its accounts were residents of high-risk jurisdictions, the FSA said.

The latter resulted in the bank risk-ranking corporate clients with operations in Zimbabwe or Sudan, for example, no differently from a British company with exclusively U.K. operations, the regulator said.

The compliance missteps overall reflect a basic misunderstanding of risk-ranking, said Simon Dilloway, a principal with Norfolk, England-based Lopham Consultancy.

“Just because a bank knows an area or has operations in a high-risk country doesn’t stop the area from being high-risk,” he said, adding that FSA examiners have more closely examined how financial institutions gauge risk in the past year.

In a thematic review of depository institutions published in June, the agency said that three out of four U.K. banks failed to properly manage accounts maintained for high-risk clients, including politically exposed persons (PEPs). The review found that some banks had no formal procedures for PEPs at all.

“The problem is that, for a lot of these higher risk customers, they also have a lot of money and banks don’t want to ask the difficult questions and put them off,” said Dilloway. “Even when the bank identified a higher risk customer, they didn’t follow their own policy and get the proper documentation,” he said, adding that the monetary penalty is “quite small for something so serious. The bank must have cooperated hugely.”

The bank had initially faced a penalty of 750,000 pounds, but agreed to settle at an early stage, earning itself a 30 percent discount, the FSA said in a statement.

The agency, which is scheduled to close its doors in April 2013 as part of a regulatory overhaul, has been increasingly willing to fine banks for AML violations.

In 2010, the FSA more than doubled the number of AML penalties it levied in 2009, with the total related fines rising from 7.7 million pounds in 2009 to 9.7 million pounds the next year. In August 2010, the agency fined RBS 5.6 million pounds for AML violations, an enforcement penalty exceeded by March’s 8.75 million pound fine against Coutts & Co. The FSA had no AML-related fines in 2011.

The FSA’s oversight duties will be assumed by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority next year.

Formed in 1967, Habib Bank Zurich AG has 25 branches in the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Isle of Man, South Africa and Canada.

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Officials deny paying Muslims to free a Christian

May 3, 2012

Beatrice Stockly, a Christian woman from Switzerland who worked in Timbuktu, was abducted earlier this month after an Islamist coup in the once democratic nation of Mali.  Reports indicate that Stockly may have been sold by her captives to the fundamentalist Muslim group Ansar Dine.

Ansar Dine then released Stockly on Apr. 24 after reportedly brokering a deal with the Swiss government.  Officials from Burkina Faso, whose special forces accepted the handover of Stockly by Ansar Dine, denied that any ransom was paid.

Naturally, Switzerland and Burkina Faso must deny the claim that a ransom was paid because:  1) paying such ransoms violates international law, 2) announcing ransom payments in public encourages further abductions by the jihadists, and 3) paying ransoms indicates the countries are not prepared to use force to free their kidnapped citizens.

But it is only logical to assume that a payment was in fact made.  There would have been no incentive for Ansar Dine to release the woman otherwise.  Moreover, Islamic law permits the collection of ransoms after abducting non-Muslims—a precept with which Ansar Dine is certainly familiar.  Ansar Dine probably has a little more spending money today than it had prior to the Stockly affair.

A photo was taken of Ansar Dine fighters as Stockly was handed over to Burkinabe forces:

 

Photo from Agence France Presse, Apr. 25

From News24.com last week:

Swiss hostage released in Mali

Timbuktu – A Swiss woman abducted last week in rebel-held Timbuktu in northern Mali was freed on Tuesday and handed over to the security services of Burkina Faso, an AFP journalist reported.

After arriving aboard a pick-up truck wearing a black dress and turban, Beatrice Stockly removed the garments before boarding a helicopter that had left Burkina Faso early on Tuesday.

Stockly was the last Westerner living in Timbuktu and refused to leave after the legendary desert city fell to the Islamist Ansar Dine rebels on April 1.

Ansar Dine’s assault on Timbuktu was backed by fighters from al-Qaeda’s north Africa branch, known as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

A source in Timbuktu previously said Stockly had originally been in the hands of a private militia that wanted to sell her to AQIM.

Perhaps AQIM wouldn’t pay as much for Stockly as Ansar Dine offered…