financial crime

  • Russian National Indicted by U.S. for Allegedly Laundering $65 Million in Gold

    The U.S. indicted a Russian national for his alleged role in a US$150 million money laundering case, $65 million of which was used to illicitly purchase overseas gold bullion.

  • U.S. Treasury Outlines How DeFi Services Facilitate Money Laundering

    Cyberware criminals, drug traffickers, and even hostile state actors can abuse decentralized finance services (DeFi) to transfer and launder their ill-gotten gains through the U.S. without allerting financial authorities, the U.S. Department of the Treasury warned in its latestassessment.

  • Biden Proposes Almost $500 Million to Combat Financial Crime in U.S.

    As part of President Joe Biden’s2024 fiscal budget proposal, roughly half a billion dollars is set to be dedicated towards deterring criminal actors from laundering their ill-gotten gains through the U.S. financial system.

  • German, Ukrainian Police Take Down Cybercrime Group

    Despite being under attack by Russia, Ukrainian police took part in an international operation that targeted a criminal group responsible for large-scale cyberattacks worldwide.

  • In Nationwide Sweep Against Financial Crime over 200 Arrested in Turkey

    Turkish Authorities arrested this week more than 200 people suspected of financial and smuggling related crimes, Turkey’s interior ministry said in a statement.

  • U.S. Banks Processed Nearly $1.2 Billion in Ransomware Payments in 2021

    U.S. financial institutions reported over $1 billion in ransomware-related payments last year, majority of which were accounted for by Russian hackers, found a new analysis by the U.S. Treasury Department.

  • Transparency UK Warns of Widespread Use of LLPs for Financial Crime

    The U.K. branch of the global anti-graft watchdog Transparency International warned on Monday that more than one in ten of all Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) ever registered in Britain bear the “hallmarks of shell companies used for serious financial crimes.”

  • TerraForm Labs CEO Denies Being On the Run, Jokes He Could Use the Exercise

    The South Korean founder of a collapsed cryptocurrency firm, credited with causing the recent crypto-market crash that cost investors US$500 billion, has denied being on the run from accusations of fraud and financial crime probes in multiple jurisdictions.

  • Ex CIA Analyst: Crypto-Gaming Vulnerable to Financial Crime

    Online games that incentivize players by rewarding them with virtual assets are wide open to money laundering, scams and other forms of financial crime, according to a former CIA analyst.

  • Kazakhstan Investigates Another Relative of Former Ruler Nazarbayev

    Authorities in Kazakhstan confirmed on Monday that they are investigating claims made by a local businessman who accused the brother of ex-President Nursultan Nazarbayev and one of his unofficial wives of having illegally taken over his share in a mining company.

  • Report: Canada Ill-Equipped In Fight Against Money Laundering

    A three-years-long investigation into money laundering within Canada’s British Columbia revealed that provincial and federal authorities are ill-equipped to prevent the proceeds of crime from infiltrating the province’s economy.

  • US Authorities Charge 16 in $194 Million “Pump & Dump” Plots

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) uncovered on Monday a multi-year penny stock scheme that generated US$194 million in illicit proceeds, leading to charges against 15 individuals and one corporate consulting firm spanning three continents.

  • INTERPOL Introduces New Center to Fight Financial Crimes

    INTERPOL said that it has launched a Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Center (IFCACC) in order to fight the exponential growth in sophisticated transnational financial crime.

  • Czech Republic Passes PM Andrej Babiš’s Fraud Case to EU Prosecutors

    Czech authorities announced last week possible charges against Prime Minister Andrej Babiš for fraud involving EU tax subsidies, but they later reportedly passed the case to the new European Public Prosecutor's Office, launched last week to handle financial crimes against the EU.

  • Pope Introduces Another Anti-Corruption Law in the Vatican

    Pope Francis introduced on Thursday a new anti-corruption law that requires all Vatican cardinals and workers in managing positions to disclose whether they have been convicted of financial crimes in the past.

  • FinCEN Begins Making Rules For Corporate Transparency Act

    The U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) asked last week for the public to comment on a series of questions about the new beneficial ownership reporting requirements of the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA), according to an Advance Notice of Public Rulemaking (ANPR).

  • Europol Joins Forces with New EU Prosecutor’s Office

    The European Union’s agency for law enforcement cooperation between member states has determined a ‘working relationship’ with a new, independent body set up to investigate and prosecute sophisticated cross-border financial crime.

  • AML: EU FinCrime Chief Eager to Crack Down on Money Laundering

    The EU plans to close the legislative and technical loopholes that allow money laundering to remain rampant in many EU states, Raluca Pruna, the head of the European Commission’s Financial Crime Unit, said in an interview with AML intelligence last week.

  • US Sentences Canadian Citizen for Financial Fraud Ring

    A Federal Court in Boston sent on Wednesday a Canadian citizen behind bars for artificially inflating stocks owned by him and his co-conspirators with the intention to generate US$15 million in fraudulent proceeds.

  • US: SEC Suspends Former KPMG Partner

    The US financial regulatory agencysuspended an accountant on Wednesday following a year-long prison sentence he received for having illicitly acquired confidential information about when and how KPMG, the accounting firm he worked for, would be inspected in order improve results. 

    KPMG Headquarters Photo Credit: Line Ørstavik (CC BY 2.0)KPMG Headquarters Photo Credit: Line Ørstavik (CC BY 2.0)The US Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, barred David Middendorf from practicing accounting in the three states he previously was certified in -- Georgia, New York, and Ohio. 

     Middendorf served as a former national managing partner for audit quality at the “Big Four” accounting firm, KPMG, at the time the firm fared poorly in inspections conducted by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, PCAOB, a nonprofit corporation overseen by the SEC that inspects the audit work performed by registered accounting firms.

     Under the leadership of Middendorf, several employees worked to improve the firm’s performance by recruiting and hiring former PCAOB employees and obtaining information on which KPMG audits would be inspected, according to the Department of Justice

    Jeffery Wada, an inspection leader at the PCAOB provided Cynthia Holder, a former PCAOB employee who was hired by KPMG, with confidential information about future audits on the company’s findings. 

     “I have the grocery list… All the things you’ll need for the year,” Wada texted Holder, in reference to the entire 2017 final confidential  inspection selections. Holder shared this information to Brian Sweet, another former PCAOB employee who had joined KPMG, who then passed the information on to Middendorf. 

     Authorities arrested the group in 2018 and charged them with conspiracy and wire fraud.

     A US$50 million fine was also issued to KPMG by the SEC last summer for altering past audit work. The firm was also ordered to hire an independent consultant “to review and assess the firm’s ethics and integrity controls and its compliance with various undertakings,” a press release by the agency stated. 

    “The breadth and seriousness of the misconduct at issue here is, frankly, astonishing,” Steven Peikin, Co-Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, said in the same press release. “This settlement reflects the need to severely punish this sort of wrongdoing while putting in place measures designed to prevent its recurrence.”

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