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  • Editorial
  • Money-laundering risk and preventive measures in Pakistan

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the effectiveness of anti-money laundering/combating of financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) measures in Pakistan. Key variables of AML/CFT regulations of Pakistan are used. This study explores the impact of customer due diligence, record keeping, wire transfers, correspondent banking, reporting of transactions, new technology and internal controls/compliance/trainings on money-laundering risk. Design/methodology/approach: Data is collected with the help of questionnaires developed in light of Financial Actions Task Force (FATF) recommendations and the AML/CFT regulations of Pakistan. Findings: Results show that customer due diligence, correspondent banking and new technology may help control money-laundering risk in Pakistan, whereas impact of record keeping, wire transfers and reporting of transactions did not have an effect on money-laundering risk. This study suggests a better implementation of these measures. Research limitations/implications: The current study was limited to Pakistani banks. For more conclusive results, future studies should replicate similar studies in other countries. Practical implications: Findings of this study may help the State Bank of Pakistan in taking measures to simplify the process of implementing FATF rules and regulations regarding AML/CFT, regular monitoring and trainings to the staff of banks and development finance institutions in customer due diligence, correspondent banking and new technology. Further, it helps to take appropriate measures in resolving banks-specific issues related to AML/CFT. Social implications: Effective AML/CFT control measures would strengthen socio-economic growth in a country. Further, formalization, compliance and integrity would eliminate money laundering risk. It would create an economy that works with equity and promotes transparency. Originality/value: This research paper supports implementation of AML/CFT regulations, proper monitoring and novel supervision of banks.

  • Whistleblowing: protection or discouragement

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to survey UAE legislative initiatives affecting whistleblowing. Many studies claim that whistleblowing is one of the most effective mechanisms in fighting corruption. Either done merely to satisfy regulatory requirements or in genuine efforts to counter internal fraud, many organizations around the world incorporate whistleblowing programs. However, a lack of comprehensive whistleblower protection remains the main impediment for reporting misconduct or wrongdoing. A country’s legislative framework and its cultural and socio-economic specifics impact the effectiveness of such protective measures. Moreover, in the absence of comprehensive, stand-alone whistleblowing laws, whistleblowers can become victims not only of employers’ retaliatory actions but also of criminal and civil charges. Design/methodology/approach: This paper surveys the UAE law and regulations in regard to whistleblower protection. It also raises concerns regarding their effectiveness based on the county’s unique socio-economic and cultural environment and their interplay with other legislations, which can potentially make whistleblowing a criminal offense. Findings: In the absence of stand-alone whistleblowing legislation, cultural aspects and other laws can serve as deterrents for whistleblowers. It is crucial for a jurisdiction to set up an effective legal and regulatory framework to enable synergy across different laws and agencies involved. Implementation of comprehensive, stand-alone whistleblowing legislation might help provide legal certainty and clarity. Research limitations/implications: In the absence of empirical studies on UAE whistleblowing, the researcher primarily relied on English translations of the country’s laws and regulations, official press releases and English media sources. Practical implications: This study introduces relevant background to organizations establishing their own whistleblowing policies and employee training. Originality/value: This paper examines the effectiveness of whistleblowing legislative initiatives through the prism of the country’s cultural, socio-economic and legal environment.

  • Discerning payment patterns in Bitcoin from ransomware attacks

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate available forensic data on the Bitcoin blockchain to identify typical transaction patterns of ransomware attacks. Specifically, the authors explore how distinct these patterns are and their potential value for intelligence exploitation in support of countering ransomware attacks. Design/methodology/approach: The authors created an analytic framework – the Ransomware–Bitcoin Intelligence–Forensic Continuum framework – to search for transaction patterns in the blockchain records from actual ransomware attacks. Data of a number of different ransomware Bitcoin addresses was extracted to populate the framework, via the programming interface. This data was then assembled in a representation of the target network for pattern analysis on the input (cash-in) and output (cash-out) side of the ransomware seed addresses. Different graph algorithms were applied to these networks. The results were compared to a “control” network derived from a Bitcoin charity. Findings: The findings show discernible patterns in the network relating to the input and output side of the ransomware graphs. However, these patterns are not easily distinguishable from those associated with the charity Bitcoin address on the input side. Nonetheless, the collection profile over time is more volatile than with the charity Bitcoin address. On the other hand, ransomware output patterns differ from those associated charity addresses, as the attacker cash-out tactics are quite different from the way charities mobilise their donations. We further argue that an application of graph machine learning provides a basis for future analysis and data refinement possibilities. Research limitations/implications: Limitations are evident in the sample size of data taken on ransomware campaigns and the “control” subject. Further analysis of additional ransomware campaigns and “control” subjects over time would help refine and validate the preliminary observations in this paper. Future research will also benefit from the application of more powerful computing resources and analytics platforms that scale with the amount of data being collected. Originality/value: This research contributes to the maturity of the field by analysing ransomware-Bitcoin behaviour using the Ransomware–Bitcoin Intelligence–Forensic Continuum. By combining several different techniques to discerning patterns of ransomware activity on the Bitcoin network, it provides insight into whether a ransomware attack is occurring and could be used to trigger alerts to seek additional evidence of attack, or could corroborate other information in the system.

  • Terrorist organization “revolutionary organization November 17” and its links and relations with “Carlos the Jackal”

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to research for possible interconnection of the Greek terrorist organization “November 17” with the international terrorist Ilich Ramirez Sanchez or “Carlos the Jackal.” Design/methodology/approach: In this research are discussed documents, visits by Carlos and his team to Greece, operational support through training and supply of weapons to “ELA” and “November 17,” attacks on foreign service targets in Greek territory, reports of close people working with Greek terrorist organizations, terrorist proclamations and interrogation of Carlos. Findings: Available data indicate their cooperation and their terrorist murderous activity in Greece, which of course needs deeper investigation. “Carlos the Jackal” acted and cooperated in Greece with the two major terrorist organizations, “ELA” and “November 17,” causing material damages and murders. Practical implications: The research is useful for government authorities, law authorities and offices and the democratic society as a whole. Originality/value: To the best of the author’s knowledge, this is the first study examining the specific topic.

  • Combatting economic crimes in Nigeria through whistleblowing: a shift from policy to legal framework

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is a holistic assessment of the impact of whistleblowing policy adopted by the Nigerian Government in fighting corruption and an evaluation of the whistleblowing and witness protection bill. Design/methodology/approach: This paper is a critical analysis of the whistleblowing policy and the draft whistleblowing and witness protection bill. The paper combines both qualitative and quantitative methods. It is conducted through the study of the policy and the draft bill and the critical examination of the data released by the federal Ministry of Finance. Moreover, the personal experience of the authors in the civil service and in formulating and implementing the whistleblower policy account significantly. Findings: The whistleblowing policy adopted by the Federal Republic of Nigeria is promising in controlling corruption and other economically motivated crimes. However, while efforts to give whistleblowing a legal backing will strengthen the fight against corruption in Nigeria, the National Assembly must subject the bill to rigorous debate to avoid having many lacunas in would be act. Research limitations/implications: The use of whistleblowing in combatting corruption in Nigeria is still at its infancy. A policy document backs implementation of the policy – there is no legislation or case law to consider. Thus, analysis is based on the policy document, the bill, statistics from the FMF and personal experience of the authors. Originality/value: There is no comprehensive study on the adoption of and efforts to give legal backing to, the whistleblowing policy adopted in Nigeria. This paper is of value to the Nigerian Government and the National Assembly considering the latest efforts to institutionalise whistleblowing in Nigeria.

  • Tracing criminal proceeds through fungible mixtures in money laundering cases

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the problem of tracing criminal proceeds through fungible mixtures, in the context of money laundering prosecutions and with a specific focus on whether clean withdrawals can be made from tainted mixtures. Design/methodology/approach: The question of withdrawing clean funds from a tainted mixture is framed as a problem of proof rather than a problem of impossibility. The tracing rules are then engaged to overcome evidential difficulties, but the rules are shown to operate very differently in civil proceedings and criminal proceedings. The proper application of the tracing rules in criminal proceedings is then illustrated using the facts of William v R [2013] EWCA Crim 1262. Findings: Because evidential uncertainties must be resolved in favour of the accused person in criminal proceedings, the tracing rules – properly applied – limit the range of situations in which the Prosecution can successfully trace criminal proceeds through fungible mixtures. Originality/value: This paper may be useful to law enforcement, those involved in prosecuting or defending money laundering cases and regulated persons assessing their money laundering risks and disclosure obligations.

  • Mapping the contours and limits of “irresistible inference”

    Purpose: In R v Anwoir [2008] EWCA Crim 1354, the English Court of Appeal held that, in money laundering prosecutions, the criminal provenance of property can be proved by showing that the circumstances in which the property was handled give rise to the irresistible inference that it can only have been derived from crime. The purpose of this paper is to analyse subsequent developments that have revealed the contours, and some of the limits, of proof by “irresistible inference”. Design/methodology/approach: This paper reviews the reported cases in which an “irresistible inference” was drawn and identifies the features common to most of them. It then explores the limits of proof by “irresistible inference” by reference to the continuing relevance of predicate offences and the use of money laundering tools and techniques for non-laundering purposes. Findings: Most of the cases in which an “irresistible inference” was drawn fall within a narrow compass of five categories. The breadth of the principle is constrained by the characteristics of the predicate offence, and its usefulness is limited in cases where the typologies of the predicate offence and the money laundering offence overlap significantly. Originality/value: This paper may be useful to those involved in prosecuting or defending money laundering cases, as well as regulated persons assessing their money laundering risks and disclosure obligations.

  • Anti-money laundering systems: a systematic literature review

    Purpose: This paper aims to understand and document the state of the art in the anti-money laundering (AML) systems literature. Design/methodology/approach: A systematic literature review (SLR) is performed using the Saudi Digital Library. The outputs published as conference proceedings, workshop proceedings, journal articles and books were all considered. The final sample size after omitting out-of-scope selections was 27 documents, which mainly span from 2015 to 2020. Findings: The sample is discussed based on a categorization, which demarcates solutions, machine learning, data sources, evaluation methods, implementation tools, sampling techniques and regions of study. Originality/value: This SLR could serve as a useful basis for researchers and salient decision-makers, who are seeking to understand the nature and extent of the currently available research into AML systems.

  • Canada’s financial intelligence unit: FINTRAC

    Purpose: International bodies, such as the Financial Action Task Force , have mandated the use of financial intelligence units (FIU) to address organized crime and money laundering. The purpose of this paper is to examine Canada’s FIU, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), and explore its current effectiveness and future challenges. Design/methodology/approach: This paper examines FIUs in general and then looks more specifically at Canada’s FIU, its policy and legislative basis as well as future challenges for the FIU. Findings: The challenge money laundering poses to society is a mirror of the challenge that organized crime poses: a test of the values and the importance of rule of law. The FIU is an important mechanism to address this challenge generally, and there are important changes in the environment that must be addressed if the future policy objectives of the FIU are to be met. Research limitations/implications: Some of the policy nostrums that are baked into the anti-money laundering system, such as placement, layering and integration, need to be revisited and researched to incorporate changes in the licit and illicit marketplaces. Practical implications: Financial institutions and other intermediaries must comply with domestic anti-money laundering laws. Compliance is always contextual, and this paper will outline the role of the regulator and the environmental challenges that need to be met. Social implications: Effectively addressing money laundering and organized crime is critical to the maintenance of rule of law and the protection of the financial system. Originality/value: This is a brief but very fulsome review of Canada’s FIU, FINTRAC, which captures broader challenges in addressing money laundering, economic crime and regulatory systems designed to protect rule of law and the integrity of the financial system. The paper not only examines the current state of the FIU but also explores challenges on the horizon.

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