Trump’s 2021 Budget Proposal Seeks to Optimize Crypto Policing

U.S. President Donald Trump’s $4.8 trillion budget proposal for FY 2021, released Monday, seeks to expand the Treasury Department’s cryptocurrency oversight by returning the United States Secret Service, now a division of the Department of Homeland Security, to its jurisdiction.

The reshuffling would “create new efficiencies” in the Secret Service’s investigation of criminal acts involving cryptocurrencies and the financial marketplace, the executive report reads. It will also give Treasury more fire power to, as the budget reads, “disrupt terrorist financing, hold rogue states and human rights abusers accountable, and detect and deter financial crimes.”

The Secret Service is better known for protecting U.S. presidents and their families, but it is also responsible for investigating a wide range of financial crimes including fraud and counterfeiting, among others.

“Technological advancements in recent decades, such as cryptocurrencies and the increasing interconnectedness of the international financial marketplace, have resulted in more complex criminal organizations and revealed stronger links between financial and electronic crimes and the financing of terrorists and rogue state actors,” according to the document.

That may be why the people behind the budget think the Secret Service, the sole office charged with the protection of U.S. currency, could give a major boost to Treasury’s cyber crime-fighting efforts.

At Treasury, the Secret Service’s cryptocurrency investigations could dovetail with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a money-laundering watchdog that monitors cryptocurrency-related violations of the Banking Secrecy Act.

DHS, the Secret Service and branches within the Treasury Department have already spent millions of dollars on blockchain analytics, tapping Chainalysis to provide software tools and services.

Trump’s budget is a long way from becoming law, though. Presidential budget proposals have little to no legal bearing on the budget process, which the Constitution stipulates must begin in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rather, it is a political document outlining Trump’s priorities.

https://www.coindesk.com/trumps-2021-budget-proposal-seeks-to-optimize-crypto-policing

A new money-laundering rule is forcing crypto exchanges to scramble

Global financial institutions use their own secure messaging system called SWIFT to exchange information about financial transactions and comply with money-laundering rules. Now cryptocurrency exchanges are under pressure from regulators to create a similar system, but it’s not at all clear how.

The Travel Rule: In June, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the influential money-laundering watchdog, sent shockwaves through the industry when it advised its 37 member jurisdictions around the world to impose a controversial new rule on what it called “virtual asset service providers.” The rule, which requires exchanges to share information about the identities of the sender and receiver of transfers over a certain threshold, resembles a US bank regulation called the “travel rule.”

SWIFT, but for crypto? Critics have argued that the new rule is onerous because it calls on the industry to build a completely new technical infrastructure for sharing information. Because of the pseudonymous nature of cryptocurrency, it’s not necessarily obvious to exchanges, for instance, when a customer is sending money to another exchange. All they can see is a string of letters and numbers, so the sender could just as well be transferring money to another wallet the same person controls. Now exchanges will somehow have to identify themselves. Others have argued that the rule will drive would-be money launderers to use services and tools that are harder to police. Nonetheless, the industry has been left with no choice but to come up with something like the SWIFT network, but for crypto. And they’ve got to come up with something fast; FATF plans to review its progress in June.

A complicated mess: According to a new, detailed look inside the process by CoinDesk, thorny questions remain about how exactly exchanges should transmit information to each other. Should that process use a blockchain, or rely on a more traditional, centralized design? Should it be a commercial product or based on open-source software? Should exchanges deploy multiple products or should they all try to agree on one? According to CoinDesk, there are more than 20 different products under development at the moment.

Legal headaches, too: The problem is not purely a technological one. If exchanges have to exchange information that identifies their customers, they will also need to navigate data privacy laws like the European Union’s GDPR.

https://www.technologyreview.com/f/615151/crypto-fatf-travel-rule/

Court convicts Belgian gold refinery Tony Goetz of money laundering

BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) – Two brothers from a Belgian gold refinery have been found guilty by a court in Antwerp of money laundering and fraud and given 18-month suspended jail sentences, a court ruling showed.

The judgment comes as investigators and states increase pressure on refineries to make sure illegally mined or traded gold does not enter the market.

It also increases the focus on Alain Goetz, one of the brothers sentenced, who established a refinery in Uganda that officials there say they are investigating for accepting gold from Venezuela that may have been smuggled. The refinery denies wrongdoing.

The court ruling said Alain and Sylvain Goetz set up a fraudulent system in 2010 and 2011 for customers to sell gold anonymously to the Tony Goetz refinery in Antwerp for cash, creating the basis for black-market trade.

The refinery registered gold traders as private customers and split large purchases to circumvent limits on cash transactions, and accepted metal taken by armed robbers in the Antwerp gold quarter, it said.

Tony Goetz paid more than 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in cash for gold during 2010 and 2011 and created around 9.2 million euros in illegal capital gains, the ruling, issued on Jan. 30, said.

The court fined the refinery 99,000 euros.

Both the jail terms and the fine were suspended, meaning they will not take effect unless the refinery or brothers re-offend.

Sylvain Goetz runs the refinery and is the eldest son of its founder.

“Tony Goetz contests these facts and upholds that the company did not violate any law,” the refinery said in a statement, adding that it was considering whether to appeal.

Tony Goetz “does not cooperate in any way in the illegal trade of gold or other precious metals and conducts its activities in accordance with all applicable rules and regulations,” it said, adding that since 2012 it has not accepted any cash payments.

It also said Alain Goetz was no longer connected with the company and it does not accept gold from Venezuela or Uganda.

Alain Goetz said he had resigned as a director and sold his shares around 2014. He also said he had stepped down from management and sold his shares in the Ugandan refinery.

Alain Goetz said the ruling was “erroneous” and paying for gold in cash was common and legal during 2010 and 2011.

“Neither Alain Goetz nor Tony Goetz NV breached any anti-money laundering regulations or other legislation in force at that time,” he said in a statement to Reuters.

Around 25 customers of Tony Goetz were also found guilty by the court for participation in the system, with some given suspended jail sentences of up to nine months.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-gold-refining-tony-goetz/court-convicts-belgian-gold-refinery-tony-goetz-of-money-laundering-idUSKBN1ZZ2JW

U.S. class actions pile up against Australia’s Westpac amid money-laundering scandal

(Reuters) – Australia’s No.2 lender Westpac Banking Corp was hit with another U.S. class-action lawsuit in less than a week on Monday, over issues with its financial crime monitoring amid a recent money-laundering scandal.

Westpac was sued by Australia’s financial crime watchdog AUSTRAC in November for 23 million alleged breaches of anti-money laundering laws, including payments between known child exploiters.

The latest suit, filed by investor rights law firm Bernstein Liebhard in a U.S. court, comes just days after six U.S.-based law firms announced similar class-action lawsuits against the lender.

Bernstein said in a statement the class action was filed on behalf of investors who bought Westpac’s securities between Nov. 11, 2015, and Nov. 19, 2019.

The law firm accused the lender of not carrying out appropriate due diligence on transactions in Southeast Asia and the Philippines and failing to monitor terrorist financing risks with movement of money into and out of Australia among others.

Last month, the lender appointed a former Barclays boss as its chairman to steer it through the money-laundering scandal.

Westpac media representatives did not immediately respond to an email and a call seeking comment

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-westpac-lawsuits/u-s-class-actions-pile-up-against-australias-westpac-amid-money-laundering-scandal-idUSKBN1ZX0G6

Human Trafficking Helps Terrorists Earn Money and Strategic Advantage

Twenty years ago, global leaders from nearly 120 countries joined forces through a new U.N. convention to agree on a universal definition of human trafficking and recommit themselves to ridding the world of it. That same year, the U.S. government enacted the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to close gaps in U.S. law. Yet, despite near-universal pledges to eradicate the crime, human trafficking, and modern slavery continue unabated, affecting more than 40 million people worldwide.

This failure poses a global threat: While human trafficking is rightfully condemned as a grave affront to human rights and dignity, it persists unchecked. As the United States renews its commitment to protecting freedom and ending slavery—with its annual observation of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention this month, culminating on National Freedom Day on Feb. 1—it should address the many ways that human trafficking imperils global security. Indeed, this practice supports terrorist and armed groups, bankrolls criminal organizations, enables abusive regimes, and undermines stability, according to a recent Council on Foreign Relations report written with my colleague, Rachel Vogelstein.

Part of the problem is that armed and violent extremist groups use trafficking as a direct tactic of war, generating profits and advancing their strategic aims. Insurgent groups—from central Africa’s Lord’s Resistance Army to Libyan militias—have used captives to expand military capabilities and support operations, with victims, forced to serve as combatants, messengers, cooks, porters, and spies. Other terrorist organizations—including the Islamic State and Boko Haram—engage in sex trafficking. They use enslaved women to attract and mobilize male fighters and generate significant revenue as well. In 2014 alone, ransom payments extracted by the Islamic State amounted to between $35 million and $45 million. In other words, such groups use trafficking to expand their power and capabilities, thereby prolonging conflict.

Refugees and migrants are at a particularly high risk of both labor and sex trafficking, and their numbers are increasing.

The scale of the problem is only growing, exacerbated by global challenges including forced migration. Refugees and migrants are at particularly high risk of both labor and sex trafficking, and their numbers are increasing—by the end of 2018, more than 70 million people had been forcibly displaced by violence, conflict, and persecution, close to double the figure a decade ago. Their lack of legal status leaves refugees and migrants vulnerable to exploitation; traffickers deliberately deceive workers about their country of final destination and their living and working conditions.

Transnational criminal groups in Southeast Asia, for example, prey on Rohingya refugees fleeing persecution in Myanmar, promising them lucrative employment in Malaysia only to hold them captive at sea in fishing vessels or in trafficking camps along the Malaysia-Thailand border. Traffickers earn an estimated $60,000 per ship by selling victims into further exploitation or demanding ransom from captives’ families, generating between $50 million and $100 million annually. In Central America, smugglers, criminals, and traffickers—emboldened by restrictive and punitive U.S. immigration policies—capitalize on migrants’ desperation to reach safety in the United States: Smugglers charge migrants exorbitant fees, and some leverage debt into forced labor or sexual exploitation. In that way, human trafficking bankrolls operations for transnational crime syndicates and extremist groups; forced labor produces an estimated $150 billion annually for perpetrators, making it one of the world’s most profitable crimes.

Beyond emboldening terrorist groups and bankrolling criminal activity, human trafficking also supports abusive regimes. Some repressive governments traffic their own citizens and compel them to labor in harsh conditions in order to bolster the economy or suppress dissent. The U.S. State Department estimates that the North Korean government, for example, has close to 100,000 forced laborers working abroad, mainly in China and Russia, often in harsh conditions. By taxing those overseas workers, the regime has generated more than $500 million annually, thereby helping it mitigate the effects of economic sanctions.

Even peacekeeping missions and military installations have contributed to an increase in human trafficking from the Balkans to Haiti to South Korea.

Between 2001 and 2011, one study found that the presence of peacekeeping forces was positively correlated with forced prostitution, damaging public perceptions of the United Nations. Last year, U.S. government inspectors uncovered abuses by Defense Department contractors participating in labor trafficking. The contractors were allegedly hiring workers from third-party countries to work in a variety of support jobs—including food services—on U.S. bases in Kuwait (an issue previously documented on U.S. bases in Iraq); investigators found that the contractors had illegally charged recruitment fees to the victims, housed them in substandard conditions, and withheld their passports. Perpetrating sex and labor trafficking diminishes U.S. influence in tackling the very same crime.The human cost that trafficking exacts on communities is detrimental and long-lasting: the associated stigma—particularly in instances of sexual exploitation and children being used by armed groups—marginalizes survivors, creating a cycle of poverty that is difficult to break and impeding the recovery efforts in post-conflict societies

Despite the security implications of human trafficking, convictions for trafficking offenses are rare, programs focused on prevention and protection are underresourced, and most efforts to address human trafficking are detached from broader conflict prevention, security, and counterterrorism initiatives. The issue of trafficking has been seen as a concern primarily of human rights activists, not of the national security community. However, a growing body of research and evidence suggests that as security threats converge, human trafficking becomes a threat multiplier, since it finances other criminal activities and foments greater insecurity.

To prevent human trafficking and advance global security, governments should do more to disrupt the criminal networks and terrorist groups that exploit conflict-related human trafficking while prioritizing the prevention and prosecution of human trafficking in conflicts. They should apply travel bans and asset freezes on human traffickers; pursue trafficking and sexual slavery charges against Islamic State affiliates; collect intelligence on human trafficking in locations where they already track drug and arms trafficking and lead by example by ensuring that their own practices don’t lead to more victimization.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/01/31/human-trafficking-helps-terrorists-earn-money-and-strategic-advantage/

 

Why money laundering thrives on Canada’s West Coast

People have long been drawn to Vancouver’s idyllic coastal mountain setting. The region’s strong civil liberties and stable economy convince many of them to stay, and Vancouver has thrived with its diverse set of residents.

But the city has also become a haven for illicit capital flight and money laundering, drawing a host of criminal organizations with links to China, Mexico and Iran.

Buyers from high-risk laundering jurisdictions continue to pour tens of millions of dollars into Vancouver real estate under laws that make it easy to conceal sources of cash and the identity of true owners.

Casinos and luxury car dealers still receive large amounts of cash in small denominations. And a host of other players, from money lenders to builders, abet laundering by dealing in large cash sums.

Money laundering poses real threats. It destabilizes the real estate market and helps to fuel the drug trade, gang warfare, gun violence, and car theft.

The 2018 B.C. money laundering reports were authored by laundering expert Peter German, a former RCMP deputy commissioner, and others. They offer a detailed picture of dirty money flowing through B.C. casinosreal estate, the luxury vehicle trade, and horse racing.

A report on developments in British Columbia’s money-laundering inquiries by the Vancouver Sun.

A public inquiry is currently underway in the province, headed by Superior Court justice Austin Cullen and aimed at probing the matter further.

The Cullen Commission will do important work, but will likely make similar recommendations to those set out in the 2018 reports — tighter reporting by casinos, car dealers and home buyers, more funding for police and prosecutors.

Yet as the reports make clear, B.C.’s problems with money laundering run so deep, they’ll be hard to resolve in the short term.

Many of the challenges involve areas of law that I watch closely as a lawyer and legal scholar.

Why B.C. is a magnet for money laundering

If you’re in the Pacific Rim and you’ve got a pile of money to launder, Vancouver is your destination. As German has noted, the city has a large international airport with flights from several Asian cities and a big international port for container shipping across the Pacific Rim.

Vancouver is also close to the Canada-U.S. border and has easy access to Mexico and a host of international banks. The city also has a bustling tech industry with expertise on encryption and cryptocurrency.

If you run into trouble along the way, Canada’s criminal justice system is more lenient, with strong constitutional protections. Our extensive pre-trial disclosure requirements tend to bring complex laundering cases to a grinding halt.

Who’s doing what

Money laundering in B.C. involves a complex interplay of money flowing among crime groups with links to China, Iran and Mexico, involving drugs, cars and real estate.

In what has become known among experts as the “Vancouver Model,” underground bankers, receiving funds in far-flung places, work with trusted contacts in B.C. who release funds locally without cash having to be transferred over borders. Players settle accounts here and abroad by exchanging drugs, cars, land or other favors for cash.

Criminal organizations don’t have to go to extremes to launder their money here. Many use private mortgages, builders’ liens or renovations to move cash through multiple hands and accounts. Construction suppliers, money lenders and some workers accept the cash willingly and without much oversight.

Fast cars and big houses

German’s reports note that the rate of auto theft in Canada had dropped for a period but began to rise again in 2016. Roughly 18 percent of vehicles stolen in 2017 were not recovered. A disproportionate number of these were luxury vehicles, suggesting that organized crime is exporting them.

Cash is then concealed through luxury car and home purchases in B.C., avoiding currency controls or potential corruption charges abroad.

Many high-end car dealers accept large cash sums, then deposit the funds in conventional banks without needing to identify the buyers.

British Columbia’s land title system and rules around lawyers’ trust accounts helped foreigners buy some $16 billion worth of property in recent years, often remaining anonymous. Cash from what are considered high-risk buyers — foreign companies and trusts — makes up for 20 to 60 percent of purchases. Some three percent of B.C. titles (roughly 33,000) list owners with occupations like student, homemaker or unemployed — with roughly a quarter of them holding a clear title.

The whack-a-mole problem

German expressed fears in his reports that as banks, casinos and other agencies tighten oversight of the flow of cash into B.C.’s economy, criminals will migrate to other industries.

Among the oldest tricks he said he doubts will disappear — and one prevalent in Vancouver — involves “paying debts of legitimate businesses and receiving a cheque or other negotiable instrument in return.” Other possible avenues include luxury boats, auction houses, private colleges, crypto-currencies and the cultivation of marijuana.

At present, German’s research indicates a “noticeable decline” in laundering investigations and prosecutions. The challenges involve more than money.

Money-laundering cases often involve millions of documents, overwhelming the time and staff that police and prosecutors can devote. The Supreme Court of Canada has recently imposed strict time limits on trials. And reporting requirements in casinos, the land title office, and luxury retail still have a long way to go to effectively track sources of cash.

British Columbia should therefore tighten rules around the flow of cash in many of these hot spots. But some things that make the Vancouver area ideal for laundering — geography, civil liberties, global connections — can’t easily change.

The Cullen Commission has a noble cause, but in the short term, money laundering in Vancouver is here to stay.

https://www.salon.com/2020/01/31/why-money-laundering-thrives-on-canadas-west-coast_partner/

Bank of China Settles Money Laundering Case for $4 Million

Bank of China Ltd. agreed to pay 3.9 million euros ($4.2 million) to settle a French probe into allegations it turned a blind eye as customers moved millions to their Asian accounts without paying European taxes.

The lender will pay a 3 million-euro fine and 900,000 euros in damages to French tax authorities to put the criminal allegations behind it, Paris prosecutor Remi Heitz said. The case will continue against 28 business owners and intermediaries involved in transferring the funds to China, Heitz said Tuesday in a statement.

The Beijing-based bank had been charged with aggravated money laundering over the transfer of suspect funds worth nearly 40 million euros to 168 accounts mostly in the Zhejiang province — south of Shanghai — between 2012 and 2014. Those charges are dropped as part of the settlement, which was approved by a Paris judge on Jan. 15 and is now final.

Bank of China follows in the footsteps of Google and Societe Generale SA in reaching a settlement in France thanks to a U.S.-style tool inaugurated by HSBC Holdings Plc in 2017. While the fine is modest, the Bank of China deal is the first negotiated by Paris prosecutors. The Parquet National Financier had extracted penalties between a 250 million euros and 500 million euros a piece from the search-engine giant and the two banks.

Under the terms of the Bank of China deal, the lender acknowledged the underlying facts as well as the corresponding legal qualification used by investigators but didn’t plead guilty.

Bank of China said in a statement that it always strives to comply with anti-money laundering laws and is constantly reinforcing measures to do so. The Chinese lender added that the case concerns mostly the transfer business of a subsidiary in China and has nothing to do with its Paris unit.

As part of the investigation, French authorities accused the Beijing-based bank of standing idly — failing to request any proof of earnings — as account holders with no particular business activity in China received money from commercial firms.

The funds first passed through companies in France and other European countries such as Spain, Lithuania and Poland before landing in the Asian accounts. French investigators suspected the funds initially came from undeclared sales of Chinese businesses based north of Paris.

The probe began after a routine check following a red flag. Criminal authorities began investigations in 2013 after the French anti-money laundering body, known as Tracfin, noticed a very unusual increase over a few months in the revenue of a Paris-based shop that specialized in urgent locksmith and plumbing repairs.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-28/bank-of-china-settles-paris-money-laundering-case-for-4-million

New money laundering regulations cause confusion at London Art Fair

Mid-market galleries take a mixed approach to new law, with some pricing works below the €10,000 threshold to avoid dealing with new client ID requirements

If dealers at this year’s London Art Fair (22-26 January) are anything to go by, the art market is perplexed as to what the new money laundering regulations will mean for day-to-day business. Under the new laws, galleries have to conform to a much higher standard of due diligence in confirming the identity of the client when making a sale of €10,000 or more, including requesting to see documents such as a passport before doing a deal—not, perhaps, easily done in the context of a busy art fair.

The 32nd edition of the fair, at Islington’s Business Design Centre, presented more than 100 mid-market dealers, weighted towards Modern British and contemporary art. Whilst the trade seemed more confident in its approach to the implications of Brexit this year (or at least, less worried), there was confusion as to how the EU’s fifth Anti-Money Laundering Regulations, introduced on 10 January, should be applied.

“We’ve been told to be compliant with regulations that we still don’t have guidelines for,” said one dealer who wished to remain anonymous but admitted to lowering the price of works to sit under the €10,000 value threshold (where the regulations start to apply), to avoid the challenge of deciphering the situation. There were also rumors of an early fair “panic” as to whether scanners were needed to capture buyers’ identification details.

“At this early stage, the lack of guidance is frustrating, and I feel there should be more support to explain the necessary processes,” says Nathan Barker of Jenna Burlingham gallery, which specializes in 20th-century British art. “It makes quite an impact on us smaller businesses and shifting the responsibilities on to us without assistance seems a little unreasonable.”

Larger galleries working in higher value items seemed less concerned. “Our clients are attuned to the situation and are happy to work with us in ensuring we have all the information we need for the ‘know your customer’ requirements,” says Lucinda Dalton, the head of sales at Messum’s London, which sold Antony Williams’s portrait Emma [2016] for £28,500 on the opening night.

“[The anti-money Laundering Regulations] might well increase admin and make it harder in some instances to strike deals, but it exists to protect us as dealers as well,” says Jamie Anderson, a director in Modern British art at Waterhouse & Dodd, which sold works by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and Martyn Brewster. “When working in third-party deals it can be hard to know who individuals are representing, so this may bring some clarity”

Elsewhere, the regulations had seemingly passed dealers by. More than one was unaware of the new regulations and others felt that it did not apply to their transactions as they had “known their customers for years.”

Certainly, trade did not appear to be impacted, indeed those buying around the €10,000 mark may have bagged themselves a bargain. Strong sales were reported in the fair’s Platform section which, this year, focused on textiles and featured the notably popular work of UK-based Alice Kettle, whose 11 works were all sold (prices ranging between £3,000 and £25,000). The James Freeman Gallery also appeared to hit the right note, with multiple sales of Dutch photographer Helen van Meene’s portrait of the climate activist Greta Thunberg (priced at £5,500), originally taken for Time Magazine.

Outside the London Art Fair, the statistics on those who listened in to HMRC’s webinar in January shed further light on the trade’s engagement with the new anti-money laundering regulations. Polls taken throughout the online session revealed that 49% of the audience were employed by an art market business, more than 50% had a nominated officer or deputy in the organization and 71% had not noticed any suspicious activity in the past three months.

 

European police bust human trafficking ring worth $77M, accused of smuggling 10,000 migrants

European police busted a human trafficking ring worth more than $77 million, accused of moving as many as 10,000 migrants from France into Britain.

The European police agency Europol announced Thursday that 23 suspected members of a criminal network were arrested for facilitating the transportation of thousands of Afghan, Iranian, Iraqi-Kurdish and Syrian migrants into the United Kingdom.

The migrants traveled to Le Mans and Poitiers in France, where they paid as much as $7,760 each to travel across the English Channel by ferry in “life-threatening conditions,” some in refrigerated trucks. The network was estimated to have made $77.6 million in total.

Police forensic officers attend the scene after a truck was found to contain a large number of dead bodies, in Thurrock, South England, Wednesday Oct. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Police forensic officers attend the scene after a truck was found to contain a large number of dead bodies, in Thurrock, South England, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

A suspect in the Netherlands collected those payments via an underground banking system, Europol said.

The French Border Guard, the French National Police and the Dutch Royal Marechaussee conducted five separate searches where they seized firearms and vehicles. Europol said they also came across an undisclosed number of migrants who were then “brought to safety.”

The operation came amid renewed attention to migrants risking their lives after 39 Vietnamese trying to enter Britain died in October in a refrigerated truck container.

An aerial view as police forensic officers attend the scene after a truck was found to contain a large number of dead bodies, in Thurock, South England, Wednesday Oct. 23, 2019. (UK Pool via AP)

An aerial view as police forensic officers attend the scene after a truck was found to contain a large number of dead bodies, in Thurock, South England, Wednesday Oct. 23, 2019. (UK Pool via AP)

The bodies of the 31 men and eight women were found inside a truck container at the Waterglade Industrial Park, about 25 miles east of London, on Oct. 23. Investigators said the truck’s container – which was registered in Bulgaria – entered the U.K. via ferry after leaving the Belgian port of Zeebrugge.

https://www.foxnews.com/world/european-police-bust-human-trafficking-ring-worth-77m-accused-of-smuggling-10000-migrants

Banker in Angola money laundering scandal kills himself, say police

A key suspect in the “Luanda Leaks” investigation has died in an apparent suicide. The death comes as Angolan authorities investigate the business dealings of billionaire Isabel dos Santos.

A Portuguese banker named in the Angola corruption scandal was found dead in his Lisbon apartment, police said Thursday.

Nuno Ribeiro da Cunha appeared to have hanged himself in the garage of his home late Wednesday, a police statement said. Authorities had previously linked the banker to an investigation targeting Isabel dos Santos, the billionaire daughter of Angola’s former President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

Ribeiro da Cunha, who according to police had tried to kill himself earlier this month, was the head of private banking at Lisbon-based EuroBic, where Isabel dos Santos, reputedly Africa’s richest woman, has a majority 42.5% stake. The bank says she now plans to sell that portion.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published a trove of files last week allegedly showing how dos Santos siphoned hundreds of millions of dollars of public money into offshore accounts.

Dos Santos denial

In excess of 715,000 documents — dubbed “Luanda Leaks” — have been investigated by 120 reporters in 20 countries, including Germany.

Meanwhile, dos Santos refuted the allegations against her and promised “to fight through the international courts to defend my good name.”

“The allegations which have been made against me over the last few days are extremely misleading and untrue,” she said in a statement.

If you are suffering from serious emotional strain or suicidal thoughts, do not hesitate to seek professional help. You can find information on where to find such help, no matter where you live in the world, at this website: https://www.befrienders.org/.

https://www.dw.com/en/banker-in-angola-money-laundering-scandal-kills-himself-say-police/a-52127545