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Friday News Flip 27 May 2016

CORRUPTION

A SENIOR Vietnamese police officer suggested that printing lower denomination bank notes would help curb corruption- though his critics point to the impracticality of the suggestion given that the largest bank note in Vietnam is worth around $22.

500,000 Dong. Courtesy of banknoteworld.com

In a similar move, the EU recently announced that it was phasing out the €500 note because it made it easy to conceal large amounts of money and as a result was enthusiastically used by money launderers.

It is, however, worth noting that the largest bank note in Kenya- the 1,000 shilling note- is worth around $10. I’m not sure that the lesser denomination has in any way helped to reduce corruption or laundering in Kenya. Again, with new technology such as cryptocurrencies gaining wider acceptance, the debate about paper money denomination may soon be overtaken by the times.

ALTHOUGH Kenya’s Parliament is supposedly currently considering the Bribery Bill 2016 and the Witness Protection (amendment) Bill 2016, this commentator points out that there is little else to show from the Taskforce on the Review of Legal, Policy and Institutional Framework for Fighting Corruption and warns against adding ineffectual corruption laws to the Statute book.

CRIMINAL LAW

MANY-including myself- were critical of the fact that Nauru still criminalises attempted suicide. This was after an Iranian asylum seeker in the island nation was prosecuted and convicted of the crime a month ago. Now, in a wide-ranging reform of its criminal laws, Nauru has repealed this provision– and has gone further and decriminalised homosexuality, brought in new offences of slavery and torture, criminalised marital rape and bolstered its laws on unlawful assembly and rioting. If tiny Nauru can decriminalise attempted suicide, Kenya has no excuses for why this offence is still in the statute books.

MONEY LAUNDERING

A UK drug gang lieutenant spent £500,000 (around 75 million Kenya shillings) of drugs money on watches, cars and houses and has been sentenced to just over a year in prison for money laundering offences owing to this splurge with the proceeds of crime.

 

 

 

 

 

HEADS keep rolling in the 1MDB scandal as Singapore shut down BSI Bank after ‘repeated’ AML lapses connected with the now-infamous Malaysian development fund.

Apparently this is shaping up to be one of the biggest AML investigations in Singaporean history; this is the first time since 1984 (i.e. before I was born) that Singaporean authorities have ordered a merchant bank to shut down. It’s a big step in a nation with a heavy economic reliance on financial services- but it is precisely the importance of Singapore’s financial industry that requires high standards be maintained.

I WASN’T lying when I said the Bangladesh Bank heist is stuff of Hollywood movies- apparently the cyber-security firm Symantec believes that the malware used was the same as what North Korea is alleged to have used in the Sony hack.

A HACKER donated €10,000 in bitcoin to a Syrian Kurd rebel outfit fighting ISIL/Daesh. Just one problem: the money was stolen from an undisclosed bank. The Kurdish rebels may have more than enough on their plates fighting in a brutal civil war; and God knows they’ve received little enough help, but I hope they still think twice about accepting and using the proceeds of crime.

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