The Irish Times
The story of a massive donation to the DUP is like a John le Carré novel – but voters need facts, not fiction
The Irish Times
The story of a massive donation to the DUP is like a John le Carré novel – but voters need facts, not fiction
Crime and Corruption do not merely constitute an intriguing holiday theme (and having common characteristics with the area of ͚Dark Tourism͛); but they also constitute a bitter reality counting many victims. Tourism is a globalised business sector impacting the livelihood of millions of people in all parts of the world. As any other ͚big business͛, where significant circuits of capital and information, and power imbalances exist, tourism is fertile ground for corruption and economic crime.Concurrently, the globalised scope of the tourism industry renders it into a very challenging field of action for national legislators and law enforcement agencies. Novel tourist experiences, interactions with unknown environments and places, and a sense of freedom from care, represent core elements of the holiday experience. For these very reasons, holidays inherently entail a number of dangers for tourists, rendering them vulnerable to crime. Conversely, the anonymity that is combined with the consumerist/hedonistic mindset of many tourists, may well lead to irresponsible and even criminal, behaviour towards locals and others. Although, the casualties of mainly politically-motivated terrorism are few worldwide, safety and security issues related to terror are extensively covered in tourism literature. In contrast, and despite of their quantitatively greater impact on the holiday experience, economic criminality and corruption have received relatively little attention in tourism scholarship. We seek to address this imbalance with this action.
The aim of this project “Yellow Tourism” is to place crime and corruption in the tourism-research agenda, expanding the interdisciplinary scope of tourism to include perspectives from law, business, economics, political science and the social and behavioural sciences. Contributing fields may include, but not be limited to the following:
Behavioural and social psychology,
Critical tourism studies,
Information systems / Data
The project “Yellow Crime” is carried out by a research consortium consisting of the Ionian University of Corfu, Greece, the University of Bremerhafen Germany, the Ovidious University of Constanta, Rumania and Bournemouth University, U.K.
The two kick-off events of “Yellow-Tourism” project are planned for October/November 2016 and April 2017 in Corfu, Greece
Cyprus is the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean. It is located south of Greece and east of Turkey. The country has been a member state of the European Union since 2004 and of the eurozone since 2008.
In recent years, and in particular following the financial crash and subsequent bailout, Cyprus has often been criticized for its alleged involvement in financial crime activities resulting from its offshore sector. Since the 1990s, Cyprus has regularly been mentioned in relation to financial crime activity investigations, specifically regarding funds coming from Eastern European countries. Recently, Cyprus featured in the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation into HSBC’s money laundering activities whereby the country appeared as a conduit and was used to set up shell companies through which to channel illegal funds.
By outlining the political background of the country’s current situation, the development of its financial center and the efforts which have been undertaken in recent years, we can better understand and ensure compliance, regulatory oversight and ultimately attain more overall stability for the islands’ financial system and make it less vulnerable to financial crime activity.
Rosfinmonitoring’s activities in the field of international cooperation are governed by the Constitution of the Russian Federation, federal laws, presidential decrees, as well as the Regulations on the Federal Financial Monitoring Service approved by the Presidential Decree No. 808 of June 13, 2012 “Matters concerning the Federal Financial Monitoring Service”.
Within the framework of multilateral cooperation, the Federal Financial Monitoring Service is involved in the work of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF), the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures (MONEYVAL), the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (EAG), the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), other international organizations, as well as in the events held under the auspices of the G8 Counter-Terrorism Experts Group (Roma Group) and the Senior Experts Group on Transnational Organized Crime (Lyon Group), and UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Action Group.
The Federal Financial Monitoring Service works closely with financial intelligence units of foreign states, primarily within the framework of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units.
Rosfinmonitoring is engaged in a fruitful two-way dialogue with countries representing different regions of the world, resulting in the drafting and signing of international cooperation agreements on combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
Martin Coyle, Compliance Complete
A crucial vote on the proposed Fourth Money Laundering Directive will take place in Brussels today with indications that a legislative change concerning the creation of mandatory public registers of beneficial ownership will be passed. A slight caveat is expected, however.
The Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) and the Committee on Civil Liberties and Home Affairs (LIBE) are due to vote in the European Parliament on amendments to the original proposals to replace the Third Money Laundering Directive.
The parliamentary process has been fraught with delays. A committee vote was initially expected in January, but deferred until early February, and then further postponed until today. Divisive issues such as the beneficial ownership registers, politically exposed persons (PEPs), and black and white lists, have been partly responsible for the hold-ups.
One source close to the parliament said the ECON and LIBE rapporteurs had managed to reach agreement on beneficial ownership. It is thought a procedural element will be added in that the registers will be public but people will have to register online to access them.
“Having the two rapporteurs reaching agreement means we are in a much more comfortable position on the issue of beneficial ownership. There was a concern that they would not find a compromise or the compromise would be less optimal. There was a concern that a ‘legitimate interest’ clause which would undermine the whole principle of having public access, might be added,” the source told Compliance Complete.
Another source with knowledge of the negotiations said the majority of MEPs appeared to be in favour of a public register detailing beneficial ownership. Some member states oppose the move, but decisions in the European Council (of member state governments) are taken by qualified majority voting so it is possible the council might support the measure, the source said. The UK has been at the forefront of moves to bring more light into the often murky world of company ownership but UK opposes moves to introduce a Europe-wide PEPs list as the government said it would undermine the risk-based regime, and could lead to a tick-box approach.
The committees will vote on whether to include trusts in the public register, a move opposed by the UK government and described as radical by some lawyers. Information about identity of the settler, trustee, protector and beneficiaries would need to be collected in public registers, while the trust deed and letter of wishes would only be shared with competent authorities and obliged entities.
Nienke Palstra, an EU policy officer at Transparency International (TI), supported the drive to shine light on trusts. “TI supports making beneficial ownership information for trusts transparent, through public registers. Given the fact that ownership is not a concept easily applied to trusts, this is a complicated exercise, but failing to include them in this way would risk leaving open a significant money laundering loophole,” she told Compliance Complete.
The new directive could see the creation of a register that would list domestic PEPs across member states, while firms would have to take account of domestic PEPs as well as foreign PEPs. There has been some discussion about the scope of who would be defined as a PEP and the ways that member states could share information about PEPs. Some MEPs have said the definition of PEPs was becoming too wide and therefore too unmanageable.
4MLD will also abolish white and black lists of countries with anti-money laundering deficiencies because it goes against the risk-based approach which forms the backbone of the new directive. There has been opposition to this and it is unclear whether the rapporteurs have reached agreement.
“At the moment, money laundering is still too easy in the EU and we see countless scandals coming up time and time again; it’s not just isolated incidents. It’s a systemic problem. We are seeing that banks are not fulfilling their due diligence obligations but part of the problem is not having the information on who is behind these companies, trusts and foundations in the EU,” Palstra said.
“We think making this information public according to studies will be more cost effective, but simply having more eyes on this data and being able to verify it for accuracy…[will help] uncover corruption and crime,” she said.
Once the two committees agree their position it will be put forward to the full parliament for endorsement, and if endorsed it will then serve as the parliament’s negotiation position with the commission and the council. Full agreement between the three parties is necessary for the directive to come into force.
Delays have made the start of trilogue negotiations between the European Council, the commission and the parliament all but impossible before the European Parliament elections on May 22. The new parliament, which will be formed after the elections, will have to consider whether or not it accepts the old parliament’s position. Italy, which takes over the presidency of the EU on July 1, is expected to re-launch the negotiations in the autumn.
The new directive is unlikely to become law in member states before 2016.
By Emine Bozkurt – 11th February 2014
Most criminal networks use obscure company constructions to avoid detection from the authoritiesEmine Bozkurt
As criminals find new ways of money laundering it’s up to the EU to update its rules on combatting it, explains Emine Bozkurt.
According to the serious and organised crime threat assessment, money laundering is currently one of the biggest crime threats to the European Union. The global amount of money that is being laundered each year is estimated to be about €600bn. Combatting this form of crime has always been high up on the European agenda, having resulted in three directives on this issue so far. As new ways of money laundering keep arising and effective measures remain essential, a 4th anti-money laundering directive has been drawn up.
In the 4th directive on combatting money laundering a focus is placed upon beneficial ownership. Most criminal networks use obscure company constructions to avoid detection from the authorities. Moreover, these networks operate on an increasingly international level, further complicating transparency of ownership. In order to tie criminal activity to the proper persons and allow for prosecution it is essential to uncover who owns a certain company. The 4th anti-money laundering directive therefore stipulates that anyone who owns 25 per cent or more of a company should be registered as a so called beneficial owner. In my proposals I call for public registers with information on beneficial owners. I leave it to the member states to choose a lower threshold than 25 per cent if they wish so.
The rapporteurs Judith Sargentini (Greens/EFA) and Karins Krišjanis (EPP) have mentioned creation of registers in their report but they do not call for them to be totally public. As S&D group we are very disappointed by this stance. Moreover, asking for a ‘legitimate interest’ in order to access a register is vague and it could lead to the opposite effect. I agree that anyone who asks information on a certain person should identify him or herself and mention the reason for the search. However, the notion of “legitimate interest” could be used to prevent rather than to share information from the registers and lead to less transparency. In this scenario members states could use “legitimate interest” to make restrictions, for example by making registers accessible only for law enforcement authorities. A register that is meant to be public should be easily accessible. Of course all the information should be treated in full compliance with EU data protection rules.
Moreover, the European commission proposal wants to broaden the scope of the directive to cover the whole gambling sector. There is an ongoing discussion as to whether certain forms of gambling which might be considered low-risk/no-risk should be exempted from the scope of the directive. As a leading person in the fight against fraud in sports in the European parliament I have seen how sports betting could be used in combination with fixed matches and often for the purposes of money laundering. As an unharmonised area, sports betting is vulnerable for criminal activities. I believe that exempting some forms of gambling from the oversight will certainly not help the current situation. All forms of gambling should first be assessed based on a risk base approach and only when it is proved, areas should be exempted, not beforehand.
Emine Bozkurt is parliament’s S&D group shadow rapporteur on Prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing