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Money laundering scandals involving some of the world’s largest banks have grown this week. Switzerland’s largest bank, UBS, has been fined 3.7 billion euros (~$ 4.2 billion) for money laundering. Amid a $ 226 billion scandal, Estonian authorities have ordered Denmark’s largest bank to terminate its operations in the country. Danske Bank is also shutting down in three other countries including Russia.
UBS Convicted in France
On Wednesday, Reuters reported that a “French court finds UBS criminally responsible of money laundering.” The Associated Press elaborated:
The Paris court convicted Zurich-based UBS AG on Wednesday of aggravated money laundering of the proceeds of tax fraud and illegal bank soliciting, issuing what French media called a record fine.
The French prosecutors allege that the bank sent its bankers to sporting events and concerts to solicit clients and then laundered the proceeds. “The assets illegally concealed by French clients in Switzerland in 2004-2012 allegedly amounted to some 10 billion euros ($ 10.75 billion),” the news outlet wrote.
The publication added that the court “ordered exceptional criminal fines of 3.7 billion euros ($ 4.2 billion) for UBS’ Swiss head office and 15 million euros ($ 17 million) for its French subsidiary and civil damages of 800 million euros ($ 907 million). Five former UBS executives were also given fines and suspended prison sentences.” Overall, the bank has been ordered to pay fines totaling 4.5 billion euros.
Noting that UBS has contested any criminal wrongdoing and would appeal against the verdict, the BBC quoted the prosecutors telling the court:
UBS was ‘systematic’ in its support of tax-evading customers and that the laundering of proceeds from the tax fraud was done on an ‘industrial’ scale.
Danske Bank Kicked Out of Estonia
On Tuesday, Denmark’s largest bank, Danske Bank, was ordered by Estonian authorities to shut down its operations in the country within eight months, Reuters reported. Kilvar Kessler, the head of Estonia’s banking regulator Finantsinspektsioon, said that the bank could be fined up to 10 percent of its turnover if it does not comply with the ruling. Responding to the order, the bank announced:
The Estonian Financial Supervision Authority (the Estonian FSA) has ordered Danske Bank to cease banking operations in Estonia, which Danske Bank has agreed to do.
Danske Bank has been at the center of one of the largest money laundering scandals to date. Its investigation involves over 200 billion euros (~$ 226 billion) in suspicious payments that allegedly flowed through its Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015. The scandal led to the ousting of the bank’s CEO, Thomas F. Borgen, who resigned on Sept. 19. In December last year, Reuters reported that Estonia arrested 10 of the local branch’s employees in connection with the charges.
Furthermore, the bank announced that it is closing down all offices in Latvia, Lithuania and Russia, claiming that this decision is in line with the bank’s “strategy of focusing on its Nordic core markets.” The bank wrote:
Danske Bank has for some time considered the future of its remaining activities in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as the activities in Russia. Danske Bank has now decided to close down all of these activities.
In addition to being investigated in Denmark and Estonia, Danske Bank is also under investigation in Britain, France and the U.S. The bank explained that it was placed under formal investigation in France on Feb. 7 for alleged “money laundering related to certain transactions in the terminated portfolio of non-resident customers of Danske Bank’s branch in Estonia in the period from 2007 to 2014.”
Swedbank Also Being Investigated
One of Sweden’s largest banks, Swedbank, is the most recent bank to be investigated in connection with Danske Bank. Estonia’s state prosecutor confirmed on Wednesday that it is investigating allegations linking Swedbank to suspicious transactions in the country involving Danske Bank, Reuters detailed.
According to Swedish television SVT, the bank “may have been used for extensive, systematic money laundering for nearly a decade.” The media outlet claimed to have analyzed a large number of classified documents exposing Danske Bank’s dealings with Swedbank, its website details. “There were a large number of transactions between the banks’ clients between 2007 and 2015,” SVT wrote and further alleged:
50 of Swedbank’s customers that show several risk indicators of suspected money laundering have funneled a total of USD 5.8 billion through the bank … Of this, USD 26 million is linked to the Russian tax fraud.
Reuters then cited SVT claiming that “The investigation covers more than 1,000 of Swedbank’s clients in high-risk countries who are known from the money laundering scandal in Danske Bank.” The publication quoted Swedbank CEO Birgitte Bonnesen admitting that she could not guarantee that her bank had been able to pick up all suspicious transactions, conceding: “Was there any risk that a payment in 2007 slipped through? Yes, there is a risk.”
What do you think of these money laundering scandals involving some of the world’s largest banks? Let us know in the comments section below.
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The turnaround of General Electric depends on the revival of its core power business, a reversal that will require CEO Larry Culp to churn through a $ 92 billion sales backlog marred by low-margin projects.
WSJ.com: US Business
Johnson & Johnson has agreed to buy surgical robotics company Auris Health Inc. for about $ 3.4 billion in cash, in a deal that would give the drug giant a diagnostic and treatment tool for lung cancer.
Under the terms of the deal announced Wednesday, J&J could also make additional payments of up…
A new report alleges that just two groups of hackers dominate the majority of cybercrime directed against cryptocurrency exchanges. Together, these groups have responsible for stealing about $ 1 billion of cryptocurrency so far.
The Most Lucrative of All Crypto Crimes
Digital surveillance company Chainalysis has released its latest “crypto crime” report, claiming to identify two groups responsible for the majority of hacks in the field. Its findings were obtained in part by analyzing the different practices the thieves used for laundering their illicit gains.
On average, the incidents that the researchers traced from the two hacking groups involved $ 90 million per incident. They suspect that the first group is a “giant, tightly controlled organization” that may be partly driven by non-monetary goals. The second group is found to be smaller and less organized but absolutely focused on money and without much regard for evading detection.
“Hacking dwarfs all other forms of crypto crime, and it is dominated by two prominent, professional hacking groups,” the Chainalysis team wrote. “Together, these two groups are responsible for stealing around $ 1 billion to date, at least 60% of all publicly reported hacks. And given the potential rewards, there’s no question hacking will continue; it is the most lucrative of all crypto crimes.”
Most Stolen Crypto Laundered on Exchanges
According to the report, at least 50 percent of the stolen funds were cashed out through some type of conversion service within 112 days of the hacks. The researchers found that 64.3 percent of the funds were sent to centralized cryptocurrency exchanges, 11.9 percent to peer-to-peer exchanges and the remaining 23.8 percent went through other conversion services such as mixing services, bitcoin ATMs and gambling sites.
“Exchanges are regularly processing the stolen funds, allowing the hackers to convert the funds to traditional currencies or other cryptocurrencies,” the Chainalysis team explained. “This is in part because unless you’re the exchange that was hacked, these funds look like they have come from legitimate owners (that is, the original entities who were hacked); it is hard to tell which funds have been stolen and which haven’t without specialized investigation software.”
Chainalysis recently announced the launch of Know Your Transaction (KYT) for stablecoins, an anti-money laundering (AML) compliance solution for monitoring stablecoin transactions from issuance to redemption.
What do you think about the findings of this report? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Insurers are paying out $ 11.4 billion so far to cover losses caused by the wildfires that ravaged California in November — and that number is going to grow, state Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara announced Monday.
“These are massive numbers,” Lara said to reporters. Furthermore, people are expected…
The longest-ever government shutdown cost the federal government $ 11 billion in lost economic activity, although about $ 8 billion of that will be made up in additional economic activity as back pay goes out to federal workers, the Congressional Budget Office said in a report Monday.
A report recently published by Diar has estimated that nearly $ 15.42 billion of value was added to the market capitalization of the combined cryptocurrency markets in the form of newly created tokens and crypto asset inflation during 2018.
12 Percent of Current Crypto Market Cap Was Created During 2018
According to Diar’s report, new crypto asset value created during 2018 is estimated to comprise more than 12 percent of the current combined cryptocurrency market cap.
The largest contribution to newly created value during 2018 was new token additions, representing $ 4.96 billion, or 32 percent of the $ 15.42 billion that was added to the markets last year.
More than 700 new crypto assets entered into circulation during 2018, a more than 50 percent increase when compared with the start of 2018, and an addition of 110 percent of the number of circulating cryptocurrencies as of the start of 2017.
BTC and ETH Added 27 Percent of Newly Created Value Last Year
BTC added roughly $ 2.63 billion to the combined crypto asset market cap during 2018, with inflation and newly mined BTC comprising 17 percent of new value added to the cryptocurrency markets, forming the largest contribution made by a single virtual currency.
New value created in the form ETH comprised the second largest contribution from a single market to the combined cryptocurrency capitalization during 2018, adding $ 1.55 billion, or 10 percent of new value.
Inflation on all other cryptocurrency tokens that were circulating as of the start of 2018 added a further $ 4.17 billion to the combined market cap, comprising 27 percent of last year’s newly created crypto asset value.
Burned Tokens Removed $ 195 Million From Combined Market Cap in 2018
Newly issued stablecoins comprised a significant contribution to the cryptocurrency market cap, adding more than $ 1.26 billion in value. The BSV fork also comprised a notable source of new crypto asset value, adding $ 1.04 billion to the combined cryptocurrency market cap.
Finally, burned tokens comprised $ 195 million in value that was removed from the combined cryptocurrency market cap during 2018.
Are you surprised that $ 15.4 billion of last year’s newly created cryptocurrency value survived to see 2019? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Diar
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The post $ 15.4 Billion of New Cryptocurrency Value Was Created During 2018 appeared first on Bitcoin News.
Chinese authorities say they have busted an underground money-smuggling ring used to launder more than $ 4.4 billion through the Asian gambling hub of Macau.
CNN.com – RSS Channel – World
PG&E Corp. expects its looming bankruptcy to take about two years to resolve, and it has arranged $ 5.5 billion to fund its operations during the process. Its stock and bonds both rose on the news.
Four banks agreed to provide debtor-in-possession funding, including a $ 3.5-billion revolving credit…