Today’s Top Stories from GFI – IRS Nets Offshore Data From 77,000 Banks, 70 Countries In FATCA Push

Jay Owen Reforming Global Finance, SRI/ESG News

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Tax Evasion

IRS Nets Offshore Data From 77,000 Banks, 70 Countries In FATCA Push
Forbes, June 3, 2014

By Robert W. Wood

An astounding 77,000 banks and financial institutions—even some in Russia—have registered under FATCA—the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. America’s global tax law requires foreign banks to reveal American accounts holding over $50,000. Non-compliant institutions could be frozen out of U.S. markets, so everyone is complying. The fact that 77,000 banks have registered and some 70 countries are providing government help to the irs means almost no foreign account is secret.

And as the scramble of U.S. persons with accounts gets into high gear, the irs has published a searchable list of financial institutions. See FFI List Search and Download Tool; plus a User Guide. Countries on board are at FATCA – Archive. With Swiss bank deals, prosecutions, summonses, and now FATCA, the IRS has quicker, better and more complete information than ever

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Arraignment on tax evasion case vs Corona postponed anew, June 4, 2014

By Tetch Torres-Tupas

MANILA, Philippines—The Court of Tax Appeals has rescheduled anew the arraignment on the tax evasion case against former Chief Justice Renato Corona to Aug. 27.

Corona’s counsel Atty. Reody Anthony Balisi told reporters that the tax court has yet to rule on the motion to quash they filed last May 28

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John Visconti, former head of Hollywood payroll company, arrested in tax fraud
LA Times, June 3, 2014

By Kim Christensen

The former chief executive of a Hollywood payroll services company that imploded in 2008, costing hundreds of employees their jobs and sticking thousands of entertainment industry workers with worthless paychecks, has been indicted on federal tax charges.

John Visconti, 71, was arrested Monday by agents with the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigations unit, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles.

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Money Laundering

Brussels Judge Opens Inquiry Into UBS
The Financial Times, May 30, 2014

By James Shotter

A Brussels judge has opened an investigation into UBS on “suspicion of money laundering and criminal organisation”, making Belgium the latest European country to probe the foreign activities of the Swiss bank.

A spokeswoman for the prosecutors department in Brussels said that the investigation was being run by Michel Claise, a specialist in white collar crime, but declined to give any further details of the case.

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Divorce Lawyers Worry About Assets Being Hidden in Bitcoins
Vox, June 4, 2014

By Danielle Kurtzleben

The financial times reports that lawyers fear parties in divorce settlements may start hiding money in bitcoins. This isn’t an idle concern: The question of how to hide assets in bitcoin has been popping up in bitcoin discussion forums, the FT writes. In a December thread on forum Bitcoin Talk, for example, users debated how difficult it would be for one man’s wife to get half of his bitcoins in a divorce.

“Her lawyer is arguing he must have much more money than he claims to,” wrote the commenter who started the thread. “Does the court have right of access to his bitcoin wallet?”

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Money Laundering Law Could Extend to Non-Financial Firms
South China Morning Post, May 28, 2014

By Toh Han Shih

The Hong Kong government is expected to extend the law against money laundering – now applicable only to the financial sector – to lawyers, accountants, property agencies and jewellery shops, industry observers say.

If the Anti-money laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) Ordinance (Amlo) is extended to these sectors, the number of suspicious transactions they report is likely to increase, said Simon Deane, a partner at Deacons, one of Hong Kong’s oldest law firms.

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Pele Son Edinho Sentenced to 33 Years in Brazil for Money Laundering
BBC News, May 31, 2014

The son of the Brazilian football legend Pele has been sentenced to 33 years in jail for laundering money raised from drug trafficking.

Edinho is a retired footballer who played goalkeeper for Pele’s old club, Santos, in the 1990s.He was first arrested in 2005 and has served a sentence for drug trafficking offences and links with a notorious drug dealer in the city of Santos.

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Illicit Financial Flows

Russian Central Bank Says Shadowy Cash Exports Falling
Reuters, June 4, 2014

Russia’s central bank said on Wednesday the amount of money being spirited abroad in shadowy transactions was falling, in a sign its campaign to clean up the banking sector may be yielding results.

The central bank launched a crackdown on money laundering and risky operations in the banking sector last year and has since revoked the licenses of dozens of banks.

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Guest post: the G7 must act on transparency and corruption
Financial Times, June 4, 2014

By Mo Ibrahim

As G7 leaders meet in Brussels, it’s worth reflecting for a moment on the changes that have occurred since last year’s summit. This year, the G8 will not meet against a backdrop of the Black Sea beaches of Sochi and Olympic glory, as planned. In fact, the G8 will not meet at all given international outrage over Russia’s action in Ukraine. Instead, the G7, sans Russia, will meet amid the medieval spires of Brussels.

The leaders’ agenda will doubtless focus on international crises. Tensions remain high in Ukraine following the Russian annexation of Crimea, and escalating terrorism impedes Nigeria’s path to development. In many ways, these crises are the by-products of corruption and the neglect of people’s fundamental rights, all of which have been allowed to fester in the global system.

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Terrorist Financing

Afghan Parliament Approves Anti-Terrorist Financing Law
Khaama Press, June 4, 2014

The parliament of Afghanistan for the first time approved the draft law to prevent financing terrorism.

The anti-terrorism financing law was codified based on article seventh of the Afghan constitution which authorizes the Afghan government to prevent all terrorist related activities, cultivation and smuggling of drugs along with production and use of intoxicants.

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