The Unbelievable, Unknowable Wealth of the World’s Super-Rich
Back in May, when the Financial Times published an attempted takedown of the data on wealth inequality underpinning Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, the newspaper managed to prove pretty much one thing. It wasn’t that Piketty had misled readers or botched his math, as the paper claimed—by almost all accounts, his response put those criticisms to rest. Rather, it was that measuring the riches of the global elite is a complicated, inexact science that economists are only beginning to grapple with. Even Piketty says that the data set he used in Capital to illustrate the American wealth gap is probably outdated. He prefers a new set that shows an even greater disparity.
That’s why we probably need to get to used to headlines like this one from Bloomberg: “The 1% May Be Richer Than You Think, Research Shows.” The piece is a roundup of some recent and provocative papers arguing that wealth inequality is probably worse than we know. But precisely how much worse is tough to say.
StanChart executive – banks treated like ‘criminals’ for anti-money laundering lapses
Banks are being penalised too harshly for lapses in anti-money laundering efforts, Standard Chartered Plc’s (STAN.L) head of Asia operations said – the second senior bank executive this week to voice frustration over what many in the industry see as overzealous regulation.
StanChart said on Wednesday that a computer error in a surveillance system which forms part of its anti-money laundering controls was likely to lead to a fine and remedial action.
Insufficient Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Methods Uncovered in Cyprus
The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) sent a letter earlier this week to Cyprus Investment Firms (CIFs), Administrative Services Providers (ASPs) and all other regulated entities warning them of compliance issues.
According to the letter, during the years 2013 and 2014, the commission visited a number of firms for the purpose of conducting on-site inspections assessing the compliance with their obligations deriving from the country’s Prevention and Suppression of money laundering and Terrorist Financing Law. In carrying out the said inspections, CySEC said that it found the measures and procedures adopted by a number of regulated entities for compliance with their obligations under the law to be insufficient.
Romanian media mogul, others get prison sentences for fraud, money laundering
A Romanian court has handed a media mogul a 10-year prison sentence for money laundering and fraudulently privatizing an agricultural institute. Six other people were also given prison sentences in the 2003 sale.
The Bucharest Appeals Court on Friday sentenced Dan Voiculescu for using his political influence to buy the Food Research Institute for 100,000 euros ($135,000) — a fraction of its estimated value of 7.7 million euros ($10.3 million). The court also ordered the confiscation of property, television studios and land belonging to his Antena media group to cover damages.
Transnational Crime and Terrorist Financing
U.S. Treasury Sanctions 3 Kuwait-Based Financiers for Alleged Terrorism Funding
The Treasury Department sanctioned three Kuwait-based financiers on Wednesday for allegedly funding extremist groups in Syria and Iraq, underscoring the Obama administration’s growing concern about Kuwaitis’ links to al Qaeda and other terror groups.
The Treasury Department’s counterterrorism arm has grown increasingly vocal in recent months about Kuwaitis’ alleged role in raising funds for such groups, specifically those known as the Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State, through social media and other financing channels.
US Seizes $480 Million in Abacha Assets
The U.S. Justice Department said Thursday it seized more than $480 million in assets hidden around the world by former Nigerian military dictator Sani Abacha and his associates.
U.S. officials called the haul, which represented proceeds of corruption stolen during Mr. Abacha’s rule, the largest forfeiture ever obtained through a kleptocracy action. A judgement entered Wednesday by U.S. District Judge John Bates in Washington, D.C. federal court follows a civil asset forfeiture complaint filed in November 2013 by the Justice Department alleging that Mr. Abacha, his son, an associate and others embezzled, misappropriated and extorted billions of dollars from the Nigerian government, and then laundered it through U.S. financial institutions and the purchase of U.S.-backed bonds.
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