The end of Nominees is delighting criminals
Sponsored by Accoplus
17 March, 2020
When a new era of transparency is empowered
The fight against money laundering, bribery and corruption, tax fraud and any other illicit activities justified the setup of new rules and regulations to identify individuals, to follow the money and to promote aggressively the transparency of corporate vehicles.
Global spending on compliance and regulatory is closely around $270 billion and 10 - 15% of workforce in the financial firms are dedicated to Regulatory Compliances.
Less than 1 per cent of global illicit financial flows is currently being seized and frozen, according to the report Estimating illicit financial flows resulting from drug trafficking and other transnational organized crime.
With a total absence of tangible results, we will likely see an increase of measures, including few to worried and discourage professionals to offers services shielding individuals from transparency.
Public transparency versus access to information
Nobody would challenge the need for law enforcement agencies to access easily and faster to information, the need is similar for Financial Institutions.
As a matter of fact laws and regulations are targeting multiples professionals such as the Trust and Corporate Services Providers, Legal Professionals, CPA's etc... to shares AML responsibilities and to avoid the misuse of their services, this is unchallengeable.
Properties, high values goods and services, casinos, money changers and lenders the list of concerned parties will only and continuously increase, it shouldn't be easy for criminals to enjoy the profits of their illicit activities, again this is unchallengeable.
But what about the rights of your neighbour, your ex-wife, a journalist or any or all persons and institutions not involved in your dealings, enterprises, activities?
In an era of Technologies HOW is it possible to justify that an information is not protected? WHY law enforcements and Financial Institutions couldn't benefit from secured and protected access instead of surfing on publicly available information?
Because its now abnormal to seek for privacy, because the perception of privacy is changing as fast as the social media is developing.
When the fight against criminals is in fact empowering them
We should first agree that criminals are smart, otherwise more than 1% of global illicit financial flows would be seized/frozen.
The business world is identifying prospects, monitoring the market, studying opportunities and guess what... The criminal world is doing the same! Believing that criminals are acting randomly is foolish and when they do, they are in jail.
To fight efficiently money laundering you should at minimum recognise the quality of the criminal organizations, their patterns and habits, their potential interests and the fact that they use computers with dishonest intend.
To fight efficiently money laundering you should NOT expose individuals to unwanted curiosity, to disclose their activities and business ownerships.
The new laws and regulations to combat money laundering were very well conceived, despite the absence of results, their implementation lacks of technology and respect for privacy.
At a time when the GDPR (internet protection of privacy - General Data Protection Regulation) is enforced an oblige companies to erase and/or not to collect personal identifiers, we are offering on a sliver plate to criminals' substantive information.
The right to privacy
The right to privacy refers to the concept that one's personal information is protected from public scrutiny it's "the right to be left alone."
The notion of privacy differs from one culture, one country to another so we could refer to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 12:
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
The directors and shareholders of a company not offering shares to the public should we believe be protected by their right to privacy OR the notion of Private Company should be aligned with the new laws and regulations and the word Private should be erased from the description.
Misconception of criminal's activities
The general public tends to categorize as criminal activities the drug trade, arms trade, women and child's exploitation, counterfeits, robberies etc. because all these illicit activities are prominent in medias.
Nevertheless, white collar crime is very present and other (less visible) forms of criminality could harm individuals publicly exposed.
Unreported kidnappings, hostage situations and extortions targeting wealthy (or supposed wealthy) entrepreneurs are a common fact. In the pursuit of these activities identifying an individual with multiples enterprises is part of the job.
Less to say, the use of nominees to shield privacy of concerned individuals should not be only considered as a red flag, understanding the environment and reasoning of the persons requesting such service should be the norm.
The Gate keepers
The misuse of Trust and Corporate Services Providers, lawyers, financial advisors and any profession which could enable the proceed and concealing of illicit gains is factual, also is the willingness for very few of these professionals to turn a blind eye on money laundering clients and operations.
But being realistic, you should be an idiotic optimistic to engage in wilful blindness!
A vast majority of the professionals being honest, or realistic, the exigence of an enhanced compliance process will consume enormous amounts of time and energy.
The compliance costs are transferred to the client, the premium is high so are the risks of the individual whom need to be shielded from unwanted public scrutiny.
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