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Johan Landström

Weekly Round-Up, 28 Feb – 4 March -22

In the “Weekly Round-Up” we summarise and give extra reading suggestions for some of the past weeks financial crime news headlines, powered by Acuminor’s crime universe ThreatView® .

It’s March, and spring is around the corner here in Sweden. However, the latest development in the world takes the focus away from it. Usually, I would bring up the latest news in money laundering and terror financing related news and share them with you. Still, the latest week has almost exclusively been focused on following the ramifications of the Russian invasion of its neighbours in Ukraine. The situation is horrific for all the people who suffer from the conflict, but it also questions what will happen next. The situation is very fluent, and things change almost hourly. All generate information in masses that needs to be verified due to its connection to large disinformation campaigns. However, I have added a small aggregation of articles that reflects the past week’s news.

Reuters did a summary of sanction packages up till last weekend that grabbed key points at that time:

Reuters – Explainer: How Western sanctions target Russia

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalism released an article with more context into sanctioned entities

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalism – How a network of enablers have helped Russia’s oligarchs hide their wealth abroad

These sanctions led to a collapse of the Russian ruble and the stock market. There is also some question on what retaliatory sanctions will come out of Russia:

CNN – Russian stocks crash 33% and ruble plunges to record low

The USA, EU, and individual countries have extended the sanctions and equally started acting on them. From the UK, they are fast-tracking legislation to target money-laundering by foreign oligarchs:

BBC News – UK fast-tracks law to tackle Russian ‘dirty money

Malta suspends their Golden Passport schemes for Russian and Belarusian Citizens:

Euronews – Malta suspends ‘golden passport’ scheme for Russian and Belarusian citizens

France has started to seize vessels connected to sanctioned entities:

BBC News – Ukraine: France seizes Russian ship over sanctions

The Guardian – France seizes yacht linked to Russian oligarch at Mediterranean port

The USA extends sanctions ongoingly, and the latest press release for the U:S Department of the treasury has extensive information on its suites of sanctions.

U:S Department of the treasury – Treasury Sanctions Russians Bankrolling Putin and Russia-Backed Influence Actors

The USA also has launched a new task force, “Task Force KleptoCapture”, that targets possible ways of sanction violations and equally can seize assets belonging to sanctioned entities:

U:S Department of justice – Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Announces Launch of Task Force KleptoCapture

The sanctions will lead to both known and unknown ways to evade sanctions, and a few questions and examples have already been seen. In the realm of virtual assets, the cryptoanalysis firm Elliptic is discussing ways it may materialise:

Elliptic – What the Russia Sanctions Mean for Crypto Compliance

OCCRP reports on ownership transfers of the Russian state-owned bank VTB bank to Cyprus shareholders:

OCCRP – Sanctioned Russian Bank Transferred Ownership to Cyprus Shareholders

And from Switzerland. As if Credit Suisse was not already under fire due to the leak “Suisse Secrets”, the Swiss newspaper Swissinfo reports that Credit Suisse asks investors to destroy documentation that can link the bank to oligarch yacht loans.

Swissinfo – Credit Suisse asks investors to destroy documents linked to oligarch yacht loans

I wish I could end this summary a bit cheerful, but it wouldn’t suit the situation, but I wish you the best of weekends. We at Acuminor will bring you more updates on how the situation progresses.