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Financial Crime Matters
18 minutes | Jan 4, 2022
Understanding the Rise of DeFi and ‘DeCrime,’ with Tom Robinson
Kieran talks with Dr. Tom Robinson, chief scientist and founder of Elliptic, a blockchain forensics company, about the phenomenal growth of decentralized finance, or DeFi. Offering the promise of a wide array of financial services on an inexpensive and inclusive basis, DeFi also presents a significant fraud and money laundering threat, Tom says. Drawing on Elliptic’s recently released report, “DeFi: Risk, Regulation and the Rise of DeCrime, which he co-wrote, Tom covers the need for legislation and greater regulatory oversight to stem fraud and money laundering as well as ways in which blockchain forensics are being used to track illicit funds on DeFi platforms. “I think it is reasonable to describe this as the ‘Wild West’ in that there are fortunes to be made here and fortunes to be lost and that’s happening every day,” says Tom.
24 minutes | Dec 15, 2021
Exposing the American Kleptocracy, with Casey Michel
Kieran talks with Casey Michel about his just published book, “American Kleptocracy,” which details how the United States has become a favored destination for laundering money for corrupt politicians and other criminals. Competition among states such as Delaware, Wyoming and Nevada for fees for forming corporations and trusts as well as carveouts from oversight won by special interest groups are to blame, Casey says. Casey, an investigative journalist who has been published widely, including in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Washington Post, and The Guardian, talks about how financial intermediaries, including real estate agents and lawyers, have profited from aiding criminals by creating instruments to obscure the ownership of illicit funds. And, while optimistic that new legislation and regulation will curtail some of those practices, Casey says other industries used to launder money lack transparency and oversight, including hedge funds and private investment companies.
18 minutes | Nov 1, 2021
Facing a Humanitarian Crisis and Renewed Terror Threat in Afghanistan, with Alex Zerden
Kieran talks with Alex Zerden about his time as Treasury attaché at the United States Embassy in Kabul, the worsening humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the renewed terrorism threat related to the Taliban’s return to power. Alex, the principal and founder of Capital Peak Strategies, a financial technology and digital asset advisory firm, talks about how the United States presence in Afghanistan was marked by corruption connected to an inflow of money the Afghan economy was incapable of absorbing. He adds that it was nonetheless “seeing the work and sacrifices made by my Afghan counterparts” that got him through his worst days. “By my own research I have identified 17 terrorist organizations [now] operating in Afghanistan,” says Alex, in reflecting on the ongoing challenge the world faces to not reward the Taliban for “bad behavior” but to ease the humanitarian crisis now threatening Afghans.
26 minutes | Oct 15, 2021
Fighting Financial Crime in Canada, with Jacqueline Shinfield
Kieran talks with Jacqueline Shinfield, partner at Blakes, Cassels & Graydon about the latest legislative and regulatory requirements from Finance Canada and FINTRAC that are part of the nation’s renewed vigor to fight financial crime. Ahead of the ACAMS Annual Canada Conference on 3, 4 November, Jackie and Kieran discuss Canada’s new cost recovery plan’s impact on FINTRAC regulated entities, issues arising from ongoing regulatory examinations, technological gaps in implementing the new electronic fund transfer reporting requirements and lessons from the Cullen Commission. “If anyone is interested in learning about money laundering, ways to launder money, trade-based money laundering, there are so many incredible papers, affidavits online that make compelling reading if you are an AML geek,” Jackie says of the work of the Cullen Commission, which is set to end oral submission this month and due to release a final report by 15 December.
23 minutes | Oct 4, 2021
Understanding Terror Finance in the 21st Century, with Jessica Davis
Kieran talks with Jessica Davis, president of Insight Threat Intelligence and the author of the just released “Illicit Money: Financing Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century.” Jessica discusses her comprehensive book, which is based on her study of some 50 terrorist organizations and terror attacks, in the wake of the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan and the rise of ideologically motivated violent extremist throughout the world. “Attacks are often self-funded” and difficult to track whereas funding efforts to maintain terrorist organizations is generally done on a larger scale and often leaves a trail, says Jessica, who has served more than 20 years in various defense and intelligence roles in Canada, including four-and-a-half years as a senior strategic analyst with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). This episode is sponsored by NICE Actimize: https://www.niceactimize.com
23 minutes | Sep 15, 2021
Following the Money Even When Its Cryptocurrency, with Gurvais Grigg
Kieran talks with Gurvais Grigg, Chainalysis’ Global Public Sector Chief Technology Officer, about tracking cryptocurrency used in fraud, ransomware and other crimes. Whether exchange traded digital currencies or so-called privacy coins, companies like Chainalysis, in tandem with law enforcement, are increasingly identifying cybercriminals and seizing their illicit funds, says Gurvais, who served more than 23 years with the FBI prior to joining the blockchain forensics company earlier this year. “You see patterns and similarities. You may even see previously identified actors re-emerge,” Gurvais, who left the FBI as an assistant director and head of the crime lab, says of the fingerprints that cybercriminals leave. This episode is sponsored by NICE Actimize’s Let’s Talk FinCrime: https://info.nice.com/lets-talk-fincrime.html
26 minutes | Aug 18, 2021
Detecting and Preventing Cybercrime, with Elizabeth Roper
Kieran talks with Elizabeth “Liz” Roper, chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau within the New York County District Attorney’s office. As head of one of the most sophisticated anti-cybercrime labs in the world, Liz details what she sees as the most pressing emerging cybercrime threats and offers encouragement to prosecutors throughout the country who are challenged by spiraling incidents of cybercrime in their communities. “From the day we first open a case, we’re working together with investigators, detectives, analysts and forensics experts to strategize,” says the 15-year veteran of the Manhattan district attorney’s office about the advantages of having cybercrime and other expertise under one roof. “That’s the key to our success.”
23 minutes | Jul 30, 2021
Protecting the Elderly and Vulnerable from Financial Exploitation, with Liz Loewy
Kieran talks with former prosecutor Liz Loewy, who founded the elder abuse bureau in the New York District Attorney’s office in 1994 and is co-founder and current COO of EverSafe, a company that utilizes financial technology to protect elderly and vulnerable individuals from financial abuse. “Loved ones have a responsibility to look out for one another,” Liz tells Kieran in describing how families should adopt a strategy to protect all their members from financial crime. With the rise in digital banking, Liz argues for a “fight fire with fire” strategy that relies on fintech to prevent and detect fraud and other criminal threats. Along the way, Liz also addresses what’s real and what’s not with regard to the abuse of older people in the Netflix movie “I Care a Lot”
19 minutes | Jun 17, 2021
Shining Light on Right-Wing Extremism with Dr. Hans-Jakob Schindler
Kieran talks with Dr. Hans-Jakob Schindler, senior director of the Counter Extremism Project, about the rising threat from right-wing domestic terror groups. Rooted in varying myths of nationalist identity, right-wing extremist groups are increasingly cooperating with one another across nation state borders, embracing long-discredited tropes that glorify white-supremacy and antisemitism, Hans tells Kieran during their discussion. While identifying some of the self-funding individual violent actors, he also describes some of the interlinked extremist groups that are raising funds with merchandise and festival ticket sales as well as criminal actions with an eye to enabling financial institutions to identify funds associated with these extremists.
23 minutes | May 3, 2021
Ending “Snow Washing” and Fighting Financial Crime in Canada with James Cohen
Kieran talks with James Cohen, Executive Director at Transparency International Canada, about what’s wrong with Canada, including the rise in money laundering via “snow washing” and the corrupting influence of illicit foreign fund flows from transnational criminal groups. During their talk, James discusses the battle to establish a corporate ownership registry in Canada, which received initial funding in the nation’s budget released shortly after the interview, the need for a coordinated federal response to money laundering, and his optimism that Canada is addressing financial crime.
23 minutes | Apr 16, 2021
Making Common Cause Against Human Trafficking With Sara Crowe
Kieran talks with Sara Crowe, Strategic Initiatives Director for Financial Systems at Polaris, a not-for-profit dedicated to ending sex and human labor trafficking. During their talk, Sara touches on Polaris’ efforts to connect trafficked individuals to law enforcement and social services through its U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline and the use of data drawn from call-ins to the hotline to create frameworks to combat human trafficking. Financial institutions are uniquely positioned to address human trafficking, since it is a form of commerce, according to Sara, who shares some of the typologies that can help financial institutions identify the proceeds of trafficking. Finally, Sara calls on banks and other financial enterprises to join the fight against trafficking as invaluable partners with law enforcement and organizations like Polaris.
18 minutes | Mar 15, 2021
Focusing on Illicit Trade with Louise Shelley
Kieran talks with Louise Shelley, PhD, Director of the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC) at George Mason University, about how terrorist organizations are funding themselves by engaging in illicit trade finance, often in partnership with transnational criminal organization. During their discussion, Dr. Shelly, the author of numerous publications whose most recent book is “Dark Commerce: How a New Illicit Economy is Threatening our Future,” shares typologies and identifies some of the organizations, facilitators and financiers engaged in illicit trade. While crediting the financial services industry with taking steps to stem illicit trade, she calls on the industry and others to do more, not least by joining with law enforcement and others in effective public private partnerships focused on illicit trade.
25 minutes | Feb 22, 2021
Shifts in the Sanctions Landscape with Justine Walker
A special episode for everyone monitoring the critical and shifting sanctions landscape. Kieran interviews Dr Justine Walker (who has her own podcast series ‘The Sanctions Space’) about the recent unprecedented scale of change of sanctions, key emerging trends, and the Biden administration’s potential approach to China, Iran, North Korea and others. Next week we’re also hosting our first ACAMS Global Sanctions Summit, with speakers from White House, World Bank, UN, OFAC and European Commission. Find out more at: https://www.acams.org/en/events/conferences/sanctions-space-summit. And subscribe to Justine’s podcast at www.soundcloud.com/sanctionsspace to hear more of the stories behind sanctions.
20 minutes | Feb 15, 2021
The Challenges in Preventing Financial Crime with Matis Maeker
“It will happen to you: sooner or later, all financial institutions will be in the midst of a new scheme or scandal,” Matis Maeker, head of Estonia’s Financial Supervisory Authority warns. Drawing on his experience addressing the scandals involving money laundering out of the Russian Federation and as a leader in Estonia’s effort to build a tougher AML/CFT regime, Matis, talks with Kieran about the challenges faced by both supervisory authorities and the entities they oversee in preventing financial crime. A lawyer with Estonia’s FSA since 2012 and head of the authority’s AML/CFT department for the past two-years, Maeker also shares lessons from the “AML Compliance Book: 150 Golden Rules,” which he has just co-authored with his colleague Andre Nomm. A member of the MONEYVAL Bureau and also an alternate member of the European Banking Authority Anti-Money Laundering Standing Committee, Matis has been a speaker at a number of ACAMS conferences. His “AML Compliance Book: 150 Golden Rules”is available from a number of sources, including Amazon.com.
19 minutes | Jan 15, 2021
Project Shadow: Ending the Online Exploitation of Children
“we were able to identify a number of financial indicators that… really allowed us to identify potential perpetrators of this crime,” Barry MacKillop, Fintrac. “an area being under reported and investigated in Canada and globally,” Stuart Davis, Scotiabank. Kieran talks with Barry MacKillop, deputy director at The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (Fintrac) and Stuart Davis, Scotiabank’s global head of financial crimes risk management, about “Project Shadow,” a public-private partnership (PPP) that combats the online sexual exploitation of children in all it’s forms. Co-lead by Scotiabank and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, and with the support of Fintrac, Project Shadow seeks to raise awareness, identify red flags, and increase reporting of suspicious transactions associated with the exploitation of children. Formally launched this month, Project Shadow is the fifth Canadian PPP created since 2016, when “Project Protect” was launched to fight human trafficking.
21 minutes | Jan 4, 2021
The Biggest Thing Since the Patriot Act
Kieran talks with Daniel Stipano, a 30-year veteran of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, about the “Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020,” the most revolutionary piece of anti-financial crime legislation to emerge from Congress since the “USA Patriot Act.” Now a partner with the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, Dan details how the Act creates a national corporate ownership registry, new examination criteria for financial institutions and Bank Secrecy Act responsibilities for art and antiquities dealers as well what to expect from the regulation writing process necessary to flesh out the Act over the next several years.
18 minutes | Nov 30, 2020
Kleptopia: Tom Burgis on how dirty money is conquering the world
Kieran Beer interviews the award-winning Financial Times Investigations Correspondent, Tom Burgis about his new book, ‘Kleptopia: How Dirty Money is Conquering the World’. In this episode, Tom reveals how private bankers, law firms and intelligence groups help dictators, oligarchs and organised crime penetrate democracies, and flood the global economy with dirty money. During his career, Tom has exposed major corruption scandals, covered terrorist attacks, coups and forgotten conflicts, and traced illicit money flows from the Kremlin to Washington. Read Tom’s bio: https://tomburgis.com
22 minutes | Nov 16, 2020
“The FinCEN Files”: understanding the story behind the story
‘If you don’t understand who’s behind a shell company, you’re not going to understand what’s going on with a multi-million-dollar transaction moving across borders.’ Mike Hudson and Spencer Woodman, investigative journalists at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), talk with Kieran about the 16 months of reporting that went into making sense of the FinCEN files - more than 2000 leaked SARs linking the world’s biggest banks to Jho Low, Paul Manafort, Russian oligarchs, and international crime networks. Mike and Spencer detail their investigative methods and describe the systemic failures that led to billions of dollars of dirty money being funnelled through the global financial system. Read Mike’s bio: https://www.icij.org/journalists/michael-hudson Read Spencer’s bio: https://www.icij.org/journalists/spencer-woodman
23 minutes | Nov 2, 2020
Identifying the Financial Footprints of Human Trafficking
'Everybody has something they can do to begin to address [human trafficking] in their day-to-day business.' Dr. James Cockayne is Head of Secretariat of Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAST), a year-old United Nations initiative enlisting financial institutions in the fight against human trafficking. In this episode, James talks with Kieran about how financial institutions can help track and interdict the proceeds of human trafficking, shun investment in businesses that profit from trafficking, and help the victims of modern slavery re-enter the global financial system. FAST has partnered with ACAMS to provide the anti-human trafficking training and certification program “Fighting Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking.” For more about FAST and the free ACAMS training go here https://www.fastinitiative.org and here https://www.acams.org/en/training/certificates/fighting-modern-slavery-and-human-trafficking.
16 minutes | Oct 19, 2020
Crime in Plain Sight - 1MDB
'I could see in plain sight that there were dots to be joined' Clare Rewcastle Brown first broke the 1MDB scandal in 2015, and has followed and reported on all of the developments ever since, in the Sarawak Report. In this episode Clare talks with Kieran about the latest fallout from 1MDB, the scale and scope of the corruption, and how banks can do more to detect these crimes in the early stages. Find the Sarawak Report at: https://www.sarawakreport.org
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