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News Round Up

1 September 2014

Israel is set to become a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the inter-governmental body that aims to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing. While Israel has been invited to join FATF, its membership will only be confirmed after an international audit on its own financial procedures.

FATF has 34 member nations and sets the international standards required by countries to fight money laundering. It was founded by the G7 group of countries 25 years ago. 

Israel has been seeking FATF membership for a number of years and formally applied to join in May 2012.

A spokesman for the Israeli government said: “Joining the organisation will help improve cooperation with many countries on the intelligence level and legal assistance and it will allow Israel to set international standards and policies in the struggle against money laundering and terrorist financing."

 

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Myanmar is looking to sign agreements with the UK, Japan and other nations in a bid to combat transnational money laundering cases.

While Myanmar has already initiated memorandums of understanding (MoU) with seven nations to exchange information on money laundering, it is also seeking advice and assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank in an attempt to improve its intelligence levels.

Experts from some of the major international monetary organisations are due in Myanmar in September to give its senior officials advice on money laundering. Myanmar is also creating governmental bodies and devising procedures to determine the extent of money laundering within its borders.

More than 70 money laundering cases have been initiated in Myanmar since 2003; involving almost $200 million. In 2006, Myanmar became a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG).

 

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Standard Chartered will pay a $300 million fine for failing to correct anti-money laundering deficiencies identified in its 2012 settlement with the regulators.

The UK-based bank also faces a number of restrictions relating to its activities in New York and its “high-risk’’ clients in Hong Kong and UAE.

Two years ago, Standard Chartered agreed to pay $340 million to settle claims that it had broken US money-laundering laws by handling transactions for Iranian clients.

The settlement was the largest fine ever collected by a single US regulator in a money-laundering case. It included a provision that Standard Chartered had to put in place a more robust anti-money laundering regime.

But, according to the New York regulators, Standard Chartered has failed to meet this requirement.

Standard Chartered will now have to request more detailed information about the originators and beneficiaries of any transactions going through its dollar clearing operations.

 

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International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde has been charged with ‘negligence’ over a multi-million-euro case she was involved in while French finance minister.

The accusations relate to her role in a €400 million state payout to French tycoon Bernard Tapie in 2008. Investigating judges suspect that the payment may have been made to secure Tapie’s support for former president Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2007 election.

This payment was made due to a dispute between Tapie and the French bank Credit Lyonnais over his 1993 sale of sportswear group Adidas. Tapie had argued that the bank undervalued Adidas at the time of its sale and claimed that the state should compensate him, as it is the bank’s main shareholder.

Lagarde has already declared that she will not be resigning her IMF position. Five other people, including Lagarde’s former chief of staff, have been charged in relation to the case.


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