Tag Archives: money laundering

Money Laundering Scandals Bring Court Charges and Record Job Cuts to Euro Banks

The international financial establishment is known to express concern about the risks of money laundering when the crypto space is mentioned. A string of scandals indicates, however, that traditional banks are not only susceptible to the phenomenon but sometimes complicit, whether knowingly or inadvertently. New chapters have been added to the saga over the last few months that are hurting banks, bankers and their clients.

Deutsche Bank Prepares to Lay Off 20,000 Employees

Deutsche Bank, one of the biggest names associated with money laundering accusations, has been dogged by many problems during the past year. The leading German financial institution is now preparing for a major reorganization that may include the sacking of up to 20,000 employees, if the plan is approved at the end of this week.

The changes come after a failed merger with Germany’s Commerzbank a couple of months ago, which was eventually deemed too risky by the teams of both banks. It did not materialize, despite the support of the federal government in Berlin.

Many of the layoffs are expected to affect Deutsche Bank’s investment banking offices in London and New York. According to a BBC report, the German bank has 8,000 employees in the British capital. And the 20,000 jobs that are likely to be cut represent a fifth of the institution’s global staff.

Besides persistent problems with its investment business and unsatisfactory financial results, the banking giant has been suffering from its involvement in money laundering scandals. In November, 2018 its headquarters and other offices in Frankfurt were raided by law enforcement officers and representatives of the German tax authority.

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“By Securing The Border, Trump Is Threatening Money-Flow For Lots Of Connected Interests”

President Trump doubled-down on his plan for “immediate” deportation of illegal immigrants this morning, explaining in a tweet that “hiring many thousands of judges, and going through a long and complicated legal process, is not the way to go,” adding that this deterrence approach “is the way to go to stop illegal immigration in its tracks.”

But, as NBC News reports, that hasn’t stopped civil rights attorneys from flocking to the Texas border to ‘protect’ the rights of illegal immigrant parents not to be separated from their children – the exact same policy that is utilized on American parents when they commit a crime with children in tow.

Attorneys have become a lifeline for migrants in detention, responding as would clergy to a disaster or tragedy, as the legal labyrinth of immigration has become more complicated.

Although many are accustomed to the immigration system’s complexities, attorneys are finding the situation created by the Trump “zero-tolerance” prosecutions full of never-before-seen hurdles and restrictions that hamper their access to children and parents and are making their work to ensure those with valid asylum and other claims get to stay more difficult.

Ali Rahnama, an immigration attorney from Washington, D.C. who works on public policy and high impact litigation, said he woke up last Monday and felt he needed to be on the border. He found a private donor to pay for him and a few colleagues to fly to the border.

Another attorney, Sirine Sheboya, is choking back emotion over the lengths mothers and fathers are going to be reunited with their children.

“We have people in there who are considering not continuing on with really strong asylum claims,” she said stopping to catch her breath as the emotion breaks through, “because they think that maybe they will get reunified with their kids faster if they give up their claim. That’s just wrong.

“We have men and women saying, ‘My 5- and 6-year-old was holding my leg and was taken away,'” said Rahnama, who visited parents and guardians being held in the Port Isabel Detention Center. “They go to court and are told their child will be there when they come back and they come back and there is no child,” he said.

Of course, it’s not just attorneys, Democratic politicians are descending for their moment of social justice and never-Trump warrior glory.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., spent 2½ hours in the Port Isabel Detention Center on Sunday night. After the visit, she told reporters stationed outside the center that officials of Immigration and Customs Enforcement told her that the center isn’t where parents and children will come together as federal officials have said.

“The [immigration] officials made clear this is not a reunification center. There will be no children brought here. There will be no families brought together in this place,” Warren said. “All that’s happening here is the detention of mothers and fathers who lost their children.”

Warren said she spoke to nine mothers and none the whereabouts of their children or had spoken to them.

“They are crying they are weeping,” she said. “They have said they will do anything … just, please, let them have their babies back.”

One quick question to Ms.Warren – what would you do with the children of an American parent, who took his children along with him as he committed a crime? Do they deserve better or worse treatment under the law than an illegal immigrant – who crosses the border not at a port of entry and then proclaims they are seeking asylum?

NBC News reports that DHS said late Saturday that some of the more than 2,000 children – about 522 – have been reunited with parents. Officials said Port Isabel would be its reunification center.

Sometimes it’s not just children who attorneys have to locate, but some of the parents as well. Efrén Olivares of the Texas Civil Rights Project can no longer find three clients who were part of a group of five parents who complained in a petition filed with the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, part of the Organization of American States, about the child separations.

They were either released to the U.S. with notice to appear (at a court at a later date) or were deported. We are looking diligently to contact them. We gave them a number and asked them to contact us if they were released,” Olivares said.

“We have not heard from them.”

Surprise!

Here is immigration expert Steve Cortes corrected host Fredricka Whitfield on the reality of family separation at the U.S. southern border during CNN’s Newsroom Sunday (via The Daily Caller)…

The U.S. Border Patrol does not separate immigrant families who claim asylum if they appear at a legal point of entry to the U.S., Cortes, the former head of President Donald Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council, said.

Until recently, only the families that tried to come into the country outside a point of entry – making them illegal immigrants – were separated.

Trump issued an executive order Wednesday that directed the Border Patrol to detain illegal immigrant families together and to begin reuniting children with their detained parents.

Whitfield asked Cortes how he thought Trump’s plan to reunite “immigrant families” would work out.

“Look, it will be a difficult process, but here’s the thing. The best way for — when you say immigrant families, by the way, it’s important to say illegal immigrant families,” Cortes responded, pointing out the omission. “That’s a very, very important adjective to add in there. Immigrant families have never been separated.”

“Illegal immigrant families have been separated, and I would say separated for a very good reason,” Cotez continued. “Why? Because their parents, unfortunately, or guardians … decided to commit a crime with children in tow. Much like an American committing a crime with children in tow, you get separated from you children. And that’s a terrible consequence for the kids.”

Whitfield defended her characterization of immigrants crossing the border illegally, pointing out that many were crossing the border seeking asylum.

“If you show up to a port of entry in the United States with your children and request asylum lawfully, you are not separated from your family,” Cortes shot back, referring to the difference between applying for affirmative and defensive asylum.

Affirmative asylum applies to immigrants entering the U.S. at a port of entry, or immigrants who apply within a year of entering the U.S., whether or not their entry was legal. Immigrants entering the country illegally can apply for defensive asylum while they are being processed for deportation.

“It’s not [legal]. You have to come to a check point, raise your hand and say, ‘I’m here for asylum,’” Cortes said.

“You can’t sneak across the border and then say, once you’re caught, ‘Oh, I meant to apply for asylum. That’s just not correct.”

Finally, we note another of President Trump’s tweets this morning that sums the state of America and its media up very well…

And while we are well aware that comprehending the facts behind this sudden maelstrom of migrant misery headlines, here is the reality of how this all started courtesy of ‘The Last Refuge’ excellent twitter thread

1. Once you see the strings on the marionettes you can never watch the pantomime the same way you did before you noticed them.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DgfAj4PVMAAiSPS.jpg?itok=ZSYEMgF9

2. DATELINE – May 2011 – President Obama travels to the Rio Grande sector of the border to push for his immigration platform (ie. Amnesty). He proclaims the border is safe and secure and famously attacks his opposition for wanting an “alligator moat”.

3. November 2012 – Election year campaign(s). Using wedge issues like “War on Women”, and “Immigration / Amnesty”, candidate Obama promises to push congress for “amnesty”, under the guise of “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”, if elected. 

President Obama wins reelection.

4. December 2012 – Immediately following reelection President Barack Obama signs an Executive Order creating the “Deferred Action Program“, or DACA. Allowing millions of illegal aliens to avoid deportation.

5. According to White House own internal documents and research, this Deferred Action Program is what the Central American communities immediately began using as the reason for attempted immigration.

6. In both (A) Border Control Study; and (B) DHS intelligence report; the DACA program is mentioned by the people apprehended at the border in 2013 and 2014.

7. May 2013 – President Barack Obama visits South America. Following a speech for Mexican entrepreneurs, Obama then traveled to Costa Rica, his first visit as president.

8. cont.. In addition to meetings with Costa Rican President Laura Chincilla, President Obama attended a gathering of leaders from the Central American Integration System, (CAIS).

9. The regional network includes the leaders of Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. President Obama meets with the leaders of the Central American Countries.

10. Summer 2013Numbers of Illegal Unaccompanied Minors reaching the Southern U.S. border from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua doubles. 20,000+ reach U.S. Southern border by travelling through Mexico. Media primarily ignores. fpc.state.gov/documents/orga…

11. October 2013 – At the conclusion of the immigrant travel season. White House receives notification that tens of thousands of illegal Unaccompanied Minors should be anticipated to hit the Southern U.S. border the following Summer [2014].

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DgfEoDPU0AAm573.jpg?itok=djOhuZSM

12. An estimated 850% increase in the number of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC’s) were reported to the White House. fpc.state.gov/documents/orga…

[In 2012 less than 10,000 were projected]

13. January 2014 – In response to the projections, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posts a jobs notification seeking bids to facilitate 65,000 Unaccompanied Alien Children. fbo.gov/index?s=opport…

14. IMPORTANT. This job posting was January 2014. The Obama administration was *planning for* 65,000 childhood arrivals. In January 2014 they were taking contractor bids for services to be used later in year. Almost no-one noticed.

15. On January 29, 2014, the federal gov. posted an ad seeking bids for a vendor contract to handle “Unaccompanied Alien Children“. Not just any contract mind you, a very specific contract – for a very specific number of unaccompanied minors: “65,000.” fbo.gov/index?s=opport…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DgfGvRTU0AE_TAW.jpg?itok=ZG0I5KqE

16. [*Two Weeks Later*] February 2014 – President Obama visits Mexico for “bilateral talks”, in an unusual and unscheduled one day visit:

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/styles/inline_image_desktop/public/inline-images/DgfHRh0V4AA7aW1.jpg?itok=2h9B55vU

17. Spring 2014 – With a full year of DACA, successful transport and border crossing without deportation – DHS begins to notice a significant uptick in number of criminal elements from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua; which have joined with UAC’s to gain entry.

18. Additionally, 2014 internal administration DHS documents reveal the “refugee” status is now being used by both criminal cartels, and potentially by Central American government(s) to send prison inmates into the U.S.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DgfI_6KUwAAbR21.jpg?itok=G1L6B7tx

19. June 2014 – Tens-of-thousands of UAC’s from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua hit the border and the headlines. Despite the known planning, and prior internal notifications, the White House claims it did not see this coming.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DgfI7EhVAAAEc-l.jpg?itok=R7jkVlqY

20. Internal documents including a –DHS Border Security Alert– show that in March, 2014, fully three months earlier, the White House was aware of what was coming in June.

21. June 20th 2014 – Congressional leadership and key Latino Democrats from the Democrat Hispanic Caucus meet with representatives from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. kfgo.com/news/articles/…

22. June/July 2014 – By the end of June the media have picked up the story and it’s called “A Border Crisis”. However, the White House is desperate to avoid exposure to the known criminal elements within the story.

23. July 3rd, 2014 – President Obama requests $3,700,000,000 ($3.7 billion) in supplemental budget appropriations to deal with the border crisis. Only $109 million is for actual border security or efforts to stop the outflow from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DgfKaN4U8AAO-ug.jpg?itok=cBEKpmzZ

24. Hidden inside the massive budget request is Obama seeking legal authorization to spend taxpayer funds for lawyers and legal proceedings on behalf of UAC’s and their families. Congress is being asked to approve/fund executive branch’s violation of immigration law (DACA).

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DgfKfd9VMAAE20m.jpg?itok=4Fv49Bs8

25. Section 292 of Immigration and Nationality Act prohibits representation of aliens “in immigration proceedings at government expense“. President Obama was seeking authorization to use taxpayer funds to provide Illegal Aliens with government lawyers.

26. July 10th, 2014 – Facing pushback from congress as well as sticker shock at the amount he is requesting, President Obama sends his DHS team to Capitol Hill to ramp up anxiety, and threats of consequences: politico.com/story/2014/07/…

27. “We are preparing for a scenario in which the number of unaccompanied children apprehended at the border could reach up to 90,000 by the end of fiscal 2014,” Johnson’s testimony reads: politico.com/story/2014/07/…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DgfMjJrUwAUT170.jpg?itok=LNgF8qgb

28. Not only did the White House know what was going to happen (as far back as 2012), but White House actually constructed events to fall into a very specific pattern and intentionally did NOTHING to stop the consequences from the DACA executive order issued in December 2012.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DgfNMStVQAAJF6T.jpg?itok=ZHr2dZAt

29. This is the origin of the crisis. It all started with DACA. Having tracked this issue so closely through the years it often feels futile to discuss. It is an ongoing insufferable political game/scheme within the issue of illegal immigrants and “children”.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DgfOdKjX0AYs2GT.jpg?itok=B9jto1Nv

30. Massive illegal immigration is supported by both sides of the professional political machine. There are few issues more unifying for the K-Street purchased voices of DC politicians than keeping the borders open and the influx of illegal aliens as high as possible.

31. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce pays politicians to keep this system in place. All Democrats and most Republicans support mass immigration. Almost no DC politicians want to take action on any policy or legislation that stops the influx.

32. There are billions at stake. None of the GOP leadership want to actually stop illegal immigration; it’s a lucrative business. Almost all of the CONservative groups and politicians lie about it.

33. The religious right is also part of the problem. In the past 15 years illegal immigration and refugee settlement has been financially beneficial for them.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DgfPmztX0AAScdi.jpg?itok=BMEl7HKm

34. There is no greater disconnect from ordinary Americans on any singular issue than the policy positions of Democrats and Republicans in Washington DC surrounding immigration.

President Donald Trump is confronting their unified interests.

35. All political opposition to the Trump administration on this issue is structured, planned & coordinated. The issue is a valuable tool for the professional political class to sow chaos amid politicians. The resulting crisis is useful for them; therefore they fuel the crisis.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DgfQLg1WAAAVX7R.jpg?itok=eZsuGL3g

36. Washington DC and the activist media, are infested with illegal immigration supporters; the issue is at the heart of the UniParty. Follow the money. It’s the Acorn business model:

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DgfQX3mWAAEC_fU.jpg?itok=cSzFwZjY

37. Southwest Key has been given $310,000,000, in taxpayer funds so far in 2018. And that’s just one company, in one part of a year. Prior CTH research showed this specific “Private Company” nets 98.76% of earnings from government grants. taggs.hhs.gov/Detail/RecipDe…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DgfQryhW4AIEqr7.jpg?itok=ziRo33yd

38. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, which provides foster care and other child welfare services to migrant children. “Faith Based Immigration Services” is a code-speak for legalized human smuggling. taggs.hhs.gov/Detail/RecipDe…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DgfROYJWkAIl1RY.jpg?itok=SIo3cckF

39. The “faith-based” crew don’t want it to stop, because facilitating illegal alien import is now the financial bread and butter amid groups in their base of support. taggs.hhs.gov/Detail/RecipDe…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DgfRot2W4AMpqJi.jpg?itok=mIiXPmYz

40. The man/woman in the pew might not know; but the corporation minister, preacher or priest (inside the process) surely does. BIG BUSINESS !! taggs.hhs.gov/Detail/RecipDe…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DgfR-aMW4AIR6RF.jpg?itok=-c04PP92

41. These immigration groups, get *MASSIVE* HHS grants and then pay-off the DC politicians and human smugglers. Billions of dollars are spent, and the business end of immigration has exploded in the past six years.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DgfSkf3WkAAAzQP.jpg?itok=kmccb9_5

42. It’s a vicious cycle. Trafficked children are more valuable than adults because the organizations involved get more funding for a child than an adult. Each illegal alien child is worth about $56,000 in grant money. The system is full of fraud.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DgfTBZ6WkAIjUfQ.jpg?itok=a0x0Y48o

43. Approximately 65% of the money HHS provides is spent on executive pay and benefits, opaque administrative payrolls, bribes, kick-backs to DC politicians and payoffs to the South American smugglers who bring them more immigrants.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DgfTgq_WAAIp45G.jpg?itok=yV8wKz5V

44. As best it can be determined, approximately 35% ($19,000) of HHS funds are spent on the alien/immigrant child; maybe. It gets really sketchy deep in the accounting.

45. All of those advocates gnashing their teeth and crying on television have no idea just who is controlling this process; and immigration idiots like Ted Cruz are only adding more fuel, more money, to the bottom line:

46. By threatening to secure the border, President Trump is threatening a Washington DC-based business model that makes money for a lot of connected interests.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DgfUzgZWkAEMGyM_0.jpg?itok=EZrr88DQ

47. Beyond enrichment schemes, the entire process of immigration, and Washington-DC legalized human smuggling, has side benefits for all the participants; child sexploitation, child labor, and yes, much worse (you can imagine).

48. So the next time you see this type of terribly misplaced “crying girl” corporate propaganda:

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DgfV6X8XcAYSfl4.jpg?itok=rjd3DF55

49. Maybe, just maybe, we can remember the *real* consequences of actual legalized human smuggling that has been created -within the business- by U.S. political policy.  This “crying girl”:

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DgfWh9SXUAE_zmK.jpg?itok=_NJsSFDB

50. /END

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/DgfW6l8WsAA3X6J.jpg?itok=BVZYlmB0

Source: ZeroHedge

 

Global Banks Sabotage Uruguay’s Efforts to Legalize Marijuana

It’s hard to do business without banks.

The first country to fully legalize the recreational use of marijuana, Uruguay, has suddenly found itself facing an unexpected obstacle: the international banking industry.

It all began a few weeks ago when one of the 15 pharmacies that had agreed to sell the two varieties of cannabis distributed by the Uruguayan State announced that it was withdrawing from the scheme after its bank, Santander, had threatened to close its account unless it stopped providing services for the state-controlled sales. Shortly afterwards it was revealed that other banks, including Brazil’s Itaú, had canceled the accounts of the private companies that had been granted a license to produce marijuana as well as some cannabis clubs.

To fill the funding void, the state-owned lender Banco República (BROU) stepped up to provide financing to the 15 pharmacies involved in the scheme as well as producers and clubs. But within days it, too, was given a stark ultimatum, this time from two of Wall Street’s biggest hitters, Bank of America and Citi: Either it stops providing financing for Uruguay’s licensed marijuana producers and vendors or it’s dollar operations could be at risk — a very serious threat in a country where US dollars are used so widely that they can even be withdrawn from ATMs.

Under the US Patriot Act, handling money from marijuana is illegal and violates measures to control money laundering and terrorist acts. However, US regulators have made it clear that banks will not be prosecuted for providing services to businesses that are lawfully selling cannabis in states where pot has been legalized for recreational use. Some cannabis businesses have been able to set up accounts at credit unions, but major banks have shied away from the expanding industry, deciding that the burdens and risks of doing business with marijuana sellers are not worth the bother.

But that may not be their only motive. There are also the huge profits that can be reaped from laundering the proceeds of the global narcotics trade. According to Antonio María Costa, the former Under-Secretary of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, over $350 billion of funds from organized crime were processed by European and US banks in the wake of the global financial crisis.

“Inter-bank loans were funded by money that originated from the drugs trade and other illegal activities… There were signs that some banks were rescued that way,” Costa said. To date, no European government or bank has publicly denied Costa’s charges. Meanwhile, numerous big banks on both sides of the Atlantic have been caught and fined, some repeatedly, for laundering billions of dollars of illicit drugs money — in direct contravention of the US anti-drugs legislation.

Whatever the banks’ real motives in denying funds to the Uruguayan pharmacies, the perverse irony, as the NY Times points out, is that applying US regulations intended to crack down on banks laundering the proceeds from the illegal sale of drugs to the current context in Uruguay is likely to encourage, not prevent, illicit drug sales:

Fighting drug trafficking was one of the main reasons the Uruguayan government gave for legalizing recreational marijuana. Officials spent years developing a complex regulatory framework that permits people to grow a limited supply of cannabis themselves or buy it at pharmacies for less than the black market rate. Lawmakers hoped that these legal structures would undercut illicit marijuana cultivation and sales.

“There probably isn’t a trade in Uruguay today that is more controlled than cannabis sale,” said Pablo Durán (a legal expert at the Center of Pharmacies in Uruguay, a trade group).

Despite that fact, the pressure continues to be brought to bear on Uruguay’s legal cannabis businesses. Banco República has already announced that it will close the accounts of the pharmacies that sell cannabis in order to safeguard its much more valuable dollar operations.

In other words, a state-owned bank of a sovereign nation just decided to put draconian US legislation before a law adopted by the Uruguayan parliament authorizing the sale and production of marijuana. The law’s prime sponsor, Uruguay’s former president, José Mujica, is furious. During a session of the country’s Senate, he accused the banks of directly attacking democracy. His successor, President Tabaré Vázquez, is far less enthused about the plans to legalize pot.

The potential implications of this issue extend far beyond Uruguay’s borders. For years opposition to the US-backed war on drugs has been building across Latin America. At the 2013 UN General Assembly Latin American leaders of all political stripes rose to the podium to take a stand against the war. They included Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Costa Rica’s Laura Chinchilla, Guatemalan president Otto Perez Molina, Mexico’s then foreign minister (and now finance minister) José Antonio Meade.

Even Juan Manuel Santos, the president of Colombia, the United States’ staunchest ally in South America and third largest recipient of US military aid after Israel and Egypt, bemoaned that that his country, which received more than $3.5 billion in counter-narcotics aid between 2002 and 2011 and was frequently cited as a model by the Obama administration, “has suffered more deaths, more bloodshed, and more sacrifices in this war” than almost any other, with the obvious exception of Mexico.

By now it is painfully obvious, to all but those who financially benefit from it, that the US government’s heavily militarized War on Drugs has been a dismal failure. Despite the slaughter of over 150,000 people in Mexico in a war that no one is winning and just about everyone is losing, the drugs keep crossing the border, and in many cases in greater numbers than ever before.

Uruguay’s efforts to legalize marijuana could represent a sea change in drugs policy in a region that is being ripped asunder by the global narcotics trade. If successful, it could go viral as other countries, including Canada, set out to legalize marijuana. But if big global banks like Santander, Citi and Bank of America get their way, the scheme will be snuffed out before it even has a chance to make a difference.

By Don Quijones | Wolf Street

How Vancouver Is Being Sold To The Chinese: The Illegal Dark Side Behind The Real Estate Bubble

https://financialpostcom.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/vancouver.jpg?quality=60&strip=all&w=620

A recent poll found that two-thirds of metropolitan Vancouver residents believe “foreigners investing” is a main cause of high housing costs, and 70 per cent said the government should work to improve affordability.

One month ago, when describing the latest in an endless series of Vancouver real estate horror stories, in this case an abandoned, rotting home (which is currently listed for a modest $7.2 million), we explained the simple money-laundering dynamic involving Chinese “investors” as follows.

  • Chinese investors smuggle out millions in embezzled cash, hot money or perfectly legal funds, bypassing the $50,000/year limit in legal capital outflows.
  • They make “all cash” purchases, usually sight unseen, using third parties intermediaries to preserve their anonymity, or directly in person, in cities like Vancouver, New York, London or San Francisco.
  • The house becomes a new “Swiss bank account”, providing the promise of an anonymous store of value and retaining the cash equivalent value of the original capital outflow.

We also explained that hundreds if not thousands of Vancouver houses, have become a part of the new normal Swiss bank account: “a store of wealth to Chinese investors eager to park “hot money” outside of their native country, and bidding up any Canadian real estate they could get their hands on.”

This realization has now fully filtered down to the local population, and as the National Post writes in its latest troubling look at the “dark side” of Vancouver’s real estate market, it cites wholesaler Amanda who says that “Vancouver seems to be evolving from a residential city into almost like a lock box for money… but I have to live among the empty houses. I’m a resident, not just an investor.”

The Post article, however, is not about the use of Vancouver (or NYC, or SF, or London) real estate as the end target of China’s hot money outflows – by now most are aware what’s going on. It focuses, instead, on those who make the wholesale selling of Vancouver real estate to Chinese tycoons who are bidding up real estate in this western Canadian city to a point where virtually no domestic buyer can afford it, and specifically the job that unlicensed “wholesalers” do in spurring and accelerating what is currently the world’s biggest housing bubble.

A bubble which, the wholesalers themselves admit, will inevitably crash in spectacular fashion.

This is the of about Amanda, who was profiled yesterday in a National Post article showing how a Former ‘wholesaler’ reveals hidden dark side of Vancouver’s red-hot real estate market.” Amanda quit her job allegely for moral reasons; we are confident 10 people promptly filled her shoes.

* * *

Vancouver’s real estate market has been very good to Amanda. She’s not a licensed realtor, but buying and selling property is her full-time job.

She started about eight years ago as an unlicensed “wholesaler” in Vancouver.

She would approach homeowners and make unsolicited offers for private cash deals. Amanda made a 10-per-cent fee on each purchase by immediately assigning the contract to a background investor. It is seen as the lowest job in property investment, but it is low risk and very profitable. Amanda has done so well that she now owns two homes in Vancouver and develops property in the U.S.

Unlicensed wholesaling is an illicit and predatory business that is quickly growing in Metro Vancouver because enforcement is virtually non-existent.

It’s similar to a tactic currently being examined by B.C. real estate authorities known as “assignment flipping,” which involves legally but secretly trading homes on paper to enrich realtors and circles of investors.

However, unlicensed wholesaling is completely unregulated. Amanda estimates hundreds of wholesalers are scouring Metro Vancouver’s never-hotter speculative market — not including the realtors who are secretly wholesaling for themselves.

Amanda decided to step away from the easy money for moral reasons.

She’s most concerned that wholesalers are targeting B.C.’s vulnerable seniors who don’t understand the value of their old homes. She is also worried about offshore money being laundered, and the resulting vacant homes.

Because wholesalers are unlicensed, they have no obligation to identify their background investors or reveal the source of funds to Canadian authorities who fight money laundering.

“Vancouver seems to be evolving from a residential city into almost like a lock box for money,” Amanda said. “But I have to live among the empty houses. I’m a resident, not just an investor.”

Amanda said she believes that unethical and ignorant investors are driving B.C.’s housing market at full speed towards a crash. For these reasons, and with the condition that we not use her real name, she came forward to reveal how wholesalers operate.

The calling cards of wholesalers — hand-written flyers offering homeowners “confidential” and “discreet” cash sales — started flooding west side Vancouver homes over the past 18 months. With the dramatic surge in home prices, wholesalers now are spreading into neighborhoods across Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island.

In eight years Amanda has never seen the market hotter than it is right now, and her colleagues are urging her to start wholesaling again.

Notices offering cash for homes are the calling card of unlicensed wholesalers

“A lot of money is leaving China, so now every second day people are asking if I can go out and find places for them. They have tons of money,” Amanda said. “They are basically brokering business deals specifically for Chinese investors.”

She said the mechanics of wholesaling schemes work like this:

The investor behind the unlicensed broker targets a block, often with older homes, and gives the wholesaler cash in a legal trust.

The wholesaler persuades a homeowner to sell, offering immediate cash, no subjects, no home inspections, and savings on realtor fees.

While the wholesaler claims to represent one buyer, or in some cases to be the buyer, Amanda said three or four contract flippers are often already lined up, with an end-buyer from China who will eventually take title in most cases. These unlicensed broker deals appear to be illegal.

A veteran Vancouver realtor confirmed these types of deals. The realtors we spoke to have been asked by their brokerages not to comment to reporters, so we agreed to withhold their names.

“I work with some non-licensed flippers,” one said. “They walk on to the lawn of an older house, see the owner and yell, ‘We’re not realtors!’ The owner invites them in, thinks they’re saving a commission — which they are — and loses big-time on the actual sale. I’ve seen it first-hand.”

According to flyers obtained from across Metro Vancouver and interviews with homeowners who were solicited, wholesalers often say they have Chinese buyers willing to pay a premium for quick sales.

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Homeowners in Richmond, Vancouver’s east and west sides, Surrey, Langley, Coquitlam, Burnaby, White Rock, Delta and North Vancouver confirmed such offers in interviews.

One resident of Vancouver’s west side Dunbar area said she was annoyed by wholesalers constantly soliciting her, and a man in Surrey said his elderly mother was bothered by wholesalers.

“A guy walked up and he offered $700,000 cash within a day, and he said I would save on the realtor fees,” said Zack Flegel, who lives near 119th Street and Scott Road in Delta.

“He also says he will give me $100,000 cash and move me into a $600,000 house. He said he has a bunch of properties. He was talking about my house like it was a trading card. We don’t have abandoned homes yet like Vancouver, but this is how it happens, right?”

After the offer is accepted, the wholesaler assigns the purchase contract to the investor for a 10-per-cent markup, Amanda said. But some wholesalers aren’t content with making $100,000 or more per sale.

“People were going in and offering, for example, an 80-year-old widow, she bought the house for $70,000 and it is now worth $800,000 and they were offering her $200,000,” Amanda said. “So they are making $300,000 or $400,000 (after assigning the contract).

“And you are socializing with other wholesalers, and it is hard to hear them say, ‘Oh this whole street is filled with seniors whose partners are dropping off like flies.’ Or, ‘They just want to get rid of it, they have no clue what their house is worth, and it’s the whole street.’”

Amanda said her father died recently. She pictured her mother being targeted by wholesalers and resolved never to play that role again.

“There are elements of this that are elder abuse, absolutely.”

In a recent story that deals with implications of rising property taxes rather than predatory real estate practices, the Financial Post reported that, especially in Vancouver and Toronto’s scorching markets, “it’s not uncommon for some Canadian seniors to be unaware of the value of their location.”

B.C.’s Superintendent of Real Estate, Carolyn Rogers, conceded the potential for elder abuse as reported by Amanda.

“We would welcome an opportunity to speak to (Amanda) and assuming she gives us the same information, we would open a file,” Rogers said. “The conditions in the Vancouver market right now present risks … and seniors could be an example of that.”

It is illegal for wholesalers to privately buy and sell property for investors without a licence, Rogers said. She said her officers have approached some wholesalers recently and asked them to become licensed or cease their activities.

A review of the superintendent’s website shows no enforcement orders, fines or consumer alerts filed in connection to unlicensed wholesalers making cash deals and flipping contracts.

Amanda said that over the past year she learned of new levels of “layering and complexity that I didn’t see five years ago” in wholesaling and assignment-clause flipping.

“Five years ago I didn’t see realtors wholesaling, and I didn’t see people calling me so that I would get them a property and not assign the property to them, but work as a ‘partner’ and I would attach a 10-per-cent fee.

“And then they would assign it to their boss and attach 10 per cent, and then that person’s boss would attach 10 per cent. I’ve been watching over the last month, and it has got astounding.”

Amanda said some wholesale deals involve only unlicensed brokers and pools of offshore cash organized informally, and some appear to involve realtors and brokerages hiding behind unlicensed wholesalers.

“I’ve seen it from the back end. We have friends in the British Properties and the realtor said he will buy their property for $2 million. And then six months later it was sold for $3.5 million. When I’m looking at that, it is a pretty clear wholesale deal.”

Darren Gibb, spokesman for Canada’s anti-money-laundering agency, FINTRAC, confirmed that unlicensed property buyers have no obligation to report the identity or sources of funds of the buyers they represent.

However, Gibb said, if realtors are involved in “assignment flipping” it is mandatory that they and unlicensed assistants make efforts to identify every assignment-clause buyer and their sources of funds.

Vancouver realtors confirmed that money laundering is a big concern in assignment-flipping deals, whether organized by an unlicensed wholesaler or a realtor.

“When you are a non-realtor broker you no longer have to play by any rules,” one Vancouver realtor said.

“There is a role for assignments, but nobody is asking where the money came from. We are creating vehicles for money laundering.”

“No person in their right mind wants to buy your house once, and sell it three more times in a small window of opportunity, unless they have a whole pool of people lined up trying to get their money out of the country. The higher the prices go, these vehicles to get money out of the country get bigger and bigger.

NDP MLA David Eby and Green MLA Andrew Weaver commented that allegations of unlicensed brokers targeting seniors and participating in potential money-laundering schemes call for direct action from Victoria and independent investigation, because these concerns fall outside the jurisdiction of the B.C. Real Estate Council and its current ongoing review of real estate practices.

“It is very troubling to me,” Eby said, “that not only do we have a layer of real estate agents that are acting improperly and violating the rules, but there might be this additional layer who are not bound by any rule and have explicitly avoided becoming agents for that reason.

“This unscrupulous behavior is targeting seniors who need money for retirement. What kind of society is that?” Weaver said.

Source: ZeroHedge

London Is Now The Global Money-Laundering Center For The Drug Trade, Says Crime Expert

London’s financial center skyline

The City of London is the money-laundering center of the world’s drug trade, according to an internationally acclaimed crime expert.

UK banks and financial services have ignored so-called “know your customer” rules designed to curb criminals’ abilities to launder the proceeds of crime, Roberto Saviano warned. Mr Saviano, author of the international bestseller Gomorrah, which exposed the workings of the Neapolitan crime organization  Camorra, said: “The British treat it as not their problem because there aren’t corpses on the street.”


His warning follows a National Crime Agency (NCA) threat assessment which stated: “We assess that hundreds of billions of US dollars of criminal money almost certainly continue to be laundered through UK banks, including their subsidiaries, each year.”


Last month, the NCA warned that despite the UK’s role in developing international standards to tackle money laundering, the continued extent of it amounts to a “strategic threat to the UK’s economy and reputation”. It added that the same money-laundering networks used by organized crime were being used by terrorists as well.

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Roberto Saviano’s ‘Gomorrah’ has sold 10 million copies around the world (Teri Pengilley)

Interviewed by The Independent on Sunday, Mr Saviano said of the international drugs trade that “Mexico is its heart and London is its head”. He said the cheapness and the ease of laundering dirty money through UK-based banks gave London a key role in drugs trade. “Antonio Maria Costa of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime found that drug trafficking organizations were blatantly recycling dirty money through European and American banks, but no one takes any notice,” he said. “He found that banks were welcoming dirty money because they need cash, liquidity during the financial crisis. The figures are too big to be rejected …. Yet there was no reaction.”

Referring to HSBC’s record $1.9bn (£1.2bn) US fine for money laundering for the Mexican Sinaloa drugs cartel in 2012, Mr Saviano said: “The biggest UK bank! Yet it has scarcely been written about. The British treat it as not their problem, because there aren’t corpses on the streets.

“They think it’s all happening ‘over there somewhere’, so they needn’t worry about it. Sure, HSBC has been reported but there has been no debate. You need to fill the papers. The intellectuals have said nothing. [David] Cameron has said nothing. It’s his country. How can he say nothing on such a piece of news?”

US justice officials concluded HSBC was guilty of “stunning failures of oversight – and worse, that led the bank to permit narcotics traffickers and others to launder hundreds of millions of dollars through HSBC subsidiaries and facilitate hundreds of millions more in transactions with sanctioned countries”, including money banked for Middle East terror groups.

He accused the British Government, together with Austria, of consistently blocking anti-money-laundering moves by the European Union. “They will carry on like that until someone gets killed here by the Russians or the Italians. ” he said. Mr Saviano said he feared one reason was because banks are a key source of political funding.

“Every time there’s an election campaign, I wonder if someone will come forward and start a campaign on money laundering … but it never happens. The reason, I am convinced but I don’t have the proof, is that a good part of the money that comes from money laundering goes into the election campaign. Not illegally, legally, because it can come in because of a lack of regulation.”

Labour MP David Lammy is worried about London’s dirty money

Labour MP David Lammy is worried about London’s dirty money (Getty)

Twenty years ago, drug money was laundered offshore because the top international banks “were afraid of opening their doors to dirty money, they were afraid of losing control”, he said. “The more criminal capital comes in, the more criminals there are on the boards. The Mafia set up its own bank, Michele Sindona’s Banca Privata Finanziaria, and the other banks would have nothing to do with them,” he said. “Not any more. Now, because of the problem of cash, they can’t wait to get the Mafia organizations in.”

Labour MP David Lammy, who met Mr Saviano last week, said the UK needed to take “very seriously” his claims about its financial services’ role in the international drugs trade. Mr Lammy, who is seeking to become Mayor of London in 2016, said: “We are rightly proud of our financial services industry in this country, but we cannot afford to be complacent.

“I am particularly concerned that London’s inflated property prices are fuelled by dirty money and I will do everything in my power as mayor to ensure that money laundering and tax evasion are rooted out by the authorities.”

 by James Hanning

HSBC Bank: Secret Origins To Laundering The World’s Drug Money

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by GreatGameIndia

#SwissLeaks what the media has termed it is a trove of secret documents from HSBC’s Swiss private banking arm that reveals names of account holders and their balances for the year 2006-07. They come from over 200 countries, the total balance over $100 billion. But nowhere has the HSBC Swiss list touched off a more raging political debate than in India.

That’s why to obtain and investigate the Indian names, The Indian Express partnered in a three-month-long global project with the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and the Paris-based Le Monde newspaper. The investigation revealed 1,195 Indian HSBC clients, roughly double the 628 names that French authorities gave to the Government in 2011. The new revelation— published as part of a global agreement — is expected to significantly widen the scale and scope of the ongoing probe by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the Supreme Court.

For years, when banks have been caught laundering drug money, they have claimed that they did not know, that they were but victims of sneaky drug dealers and a few corrupt employees. Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is that a considerable portion of the global banking system is explicitly dedicated to handling the enormous volume of cash produced daily by dope traffickers.

Contrary to popular opinion, it is not “demand” from the world’s population which creates the mind destroying drug trade. Rather, it is the world financial oligarchy, looking for massive profits and the destruction of the minds of the population it is determined to dominate, which organized the drug trade. The case of HSBC underscores that point. Serving as the central bank of this global apparatus, is HSBC.

East India Company Origins

The opium trade began in the early 1700s as an official monopoly of the British East India Company, which conquered India, and ran it on behalf of the British Crown and the financiers operating through the City of London. Indian-grown opium became a key component in the trade for tea and silk in China.  The East India Company had a thriving business selling British textiles and other manufactured products in India, and selling Chinese silk and tea in Britain. But the Company ran into problems with the opium end of the trade. The influx of opium caused major problems for China, and led the Emperor to issue an edict in 1729 prohibiting opium consumption. Then, in 1757, the Emperor restricted all foreigners and foreign vessels to a trading area in the port city of Canton. A stronger edict in 1799 prohibited the importation and use of opium under penalty of death.

None of this stopped the British from continuing to flood China with opium, creating millions of addicts, but it did cause the East India Company to protect its tea and silk trade by shifting its Chinese opium operations to nominally independent drug runners who bought opium legally from the East India Company in Calcutta, and smuggled it into China. The most prominent of these drug-running firms was Jardine Matheson & Co. It was founded in 1832 by two Scotsmen, William Jardine and James Matheson.  Jardine had been a ship’s surgeon with the East India Company, while Matheson was the son of a Scottish baronet. The firm today is controlled by the Keswick family. In 1839, the Chinese Emperor launched an anti-opium offensive, which included the confiscation of all opium stocks in the hands of Chinese and foreign merchants. The merchants put up a fight, but were ultimately forced to concede, turning in their opium stocks after being indemnified against losses by British officials.

In response, however, the British launched a propaganda campaign against China, accusing it of violating Britain’s right to “free trade.” Britain sent its fleet to China, to force the Chinese to capitulate to the opium trade. The action, known as the First Opium War, resulted in the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, under which China not only capitulated to the opium trade, but also agreed to pay reparations to the opium runners and gave the British control of the island of Hong Kong. However, the treaty did not specifically legalize opium, so the British launched a second Opium War, which resulted in the 1856 Treaty of Tientsin, which legitimized the opium trade and opened China up to foreigners even more.

As the opium and other trade with China expanded, Britain’s new territory of Hong Kong became a major imperial commercial center. The opium dealers gathered together to form a bank, the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank, as the financial flagship of the British opium trade. Over time, the bank—now known as HSBC—would extend its reach into the drug fields of the Middle East and Ibero-America, as befitting its role as the financial kingpin of Dope, Inc.

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Role of Secret Societies

In 1783 Lord Shelbourne launched the Chinese opium trade with Scottish merchants from the East India Company and members of the House of Windsor-allied Knights of St. John Jerusalem.

Shelbourne’s chief propagandist was Adam Smith who worked for East India Company, which emerged from the slave-trading Levant Company and later became known as Chatham House, home to the powerful Royal Institute for International Affairs (RIIA). In 1776 the high seas pirate Adam Smith wrote Wealth of Nations, which became the bible of international capitalism.

In the Far East the British organized the Chinese Triad Society, also known as the Society of Heaven and Earth, to smuggle their opium.  Beginning in 1788 the Freemason Grand Lodge of England established lodges in China, one of which was the Triad Society.  Another was known as the Order of the Swastika.

In 1839 William Jardine- a Canton-based opium trafficker- steered Britain into the first Opium War after Chinese officials confiscated his stash. The second Opium War lasted from 1858-1860.  Lord Palmerston commanded both expeditions for the Brits.  He was also the High Priest of Scottish Rite Freemasonry in the British Empire.

Throughout the 19th century the British families of Matheson, Keswick, Swire, Dent, Inchcape, Baring and Rothschild controlled the Chinese heroin traffic.  The Inchcape’s and Baring’s Peninsular & Orient Steam Navigation Company (PONC) transported the dope around the world.

To the US West Coast, the families brought Chinese coolies to build JP Morgan’s railroads, slave laborers who were kidnapped (shanghaied) by the Triads.  The Triads came along too, setting up opium dens in San Francisco and Vancouver and using a network of Chinatowns as a channel for heroin.  This network exists today.  To the US East Coast the families brought African slaves and cotton.  These same families built plantations and became kings of southern cotton on the backs of shanghaied Africans.

The American families Perkins, Astor and Forbes made millions off the opium trade.  The Perkins’ founded Bank of Boston, which is today known as Credit Suisse First Boston.  The Perkins and Morgan families endowed Harvard University.  William Hathaway Forbes was a director at Hong Kong Shanghai Bank shortly after it was founded in 1866.  John Murray Forbes was the US agent for the Barings banking family, which financed most of the early drug trade.  The Forbes family heirs later launched Forbes magazine. Steve Forbes ran for President in 1996.  John Jacob Astor invested his opium proceeds in Manhattan real estate and worked for British intelligence.  The Astor family home in London sits opposite Chatham House.

These families launched the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank Corporation (HSBC) after the second Opium War as a repository for their opium proceeds.  HSBC, a subsidiary of the London-based HSBC Holdings, today prints 75% of Hong Kong’s currency, while the British Cecil Rhodes-founded Standard Chartered Bank prints the rest.  HSBC’s Hong Kong headquarters sits next to a massive Masonic Temple.

Freemasonry is a highly secretive society, making it an ideal vehicle for global drugs and arms trafficking.  According to 33rd Degree Mason Manly Hall, “Freemasonry is a fraternity within a fraternity – an outer organization concealing an inner brotherhood of the elect…the one visible and the other invisible.  The visible society is a splendid camaraderie of ‘free and accepted’ men enjoined to devote themselves to ethical, educational, fraternal, patriotic and humanitarian concerns.  The invisible society is a secret and most august fraternity whose members are dedicated to the service of an arcanum arcandrum (sacred secret).”

Wealth derived from selling this Chinese opium during British colonial rule, helped build many landmarks on India’s west coast. The Mahim Causeway, The Sir JJ School of Art, David Sassoon Library and Flora Fountain, landmarks in modern Mumbai, were built by prominent Parsi and Jewish traders from profits made by a flourishing opium and later cotton trade with China.

Prominent families from Mumbai’s past, names that adorn today’s famous institutions such as the Wadia’s, Tata’s, Jejeebhoy’s, Readymoney’s, Cama’s and Sassoon’s sold opium to China through the British. By the end of the nineteenth century, when the opium trade went bust, cotton from India’s western state of Gujarat, which had already developed strong trade links with Canton profited. The Paris’s ploughed profits from the trade with the Chinese back into India, setting up several schools, hospitals and banks. Historical records prove that some of India’s prominent Parsi traders at the time, were founders of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) founded in 1865. For a detailed report read Rothschild colonization of India.

It is this deadly opium empire that Gandhiji was very much conscious about and spoke out against for which he was jailed in 1921 by India’s British rulers for “undermining the revenue”. Having seen generations of Chinese youths rendered docile and passive Gandhijis was concerned over opium and its deadly effects on India which is clear from his letters. These opium production activities ran until 1924 in India and were stopped with the heroic efforts of Mahatma Gandhi who first agitated to remove opium production from India and destruction of China using Indian soil. Finally the British transferred the entire production to Afghanistan in 1924 handing the production to southern Afghani tribals which after 90 years became the golden crescent of opium production. Though the production is in the hands of Afghan tribals the distribution finance market control is still exercised by the same old British business houses or their proxies.

Afghan Opium for Bankers and Terrorists

There is a general impression that Afghanistan has always been the center of opium production. In fact, it has not. Prior to the Soviet invasion in 1979, opium production in Afghanistan was less than 1,000 tons; that grew to 8,200 tons (based on conservative UN Office on Drugs and Crime/UNODC figures) in 2008. Throughout this period, Afghanistan was in a state of war. Following the Soviet invasion, the anti-Soviet powers, particularly, the US, UK, and Saudi Arabia, began generating larger amounts of drug money to finance much of the war to defeat the Soviets. Since 1989, after the Soviet withdrawal, there has been an all-out civil war in Afghanistan, as the US-UK-Saudi-created mujahideen dipped further into the opium/heroin money.

What was happening in Afghanistan during this period that caused opium production to soar to those levels? History shows that the US invasion in 2001 came close to wiping out the Taliban forces; the Afghan people, at least at that point in time, because of the Pakistani-Saudi links to the Taliban and the oppressive nature of the Wahhabi-indoctrinated regime, supported the invading American and NATO forces. That began to change in 2005.

The year 2005 is important in this context, since one of the most damning parts of the US Senate report details HSBC’s relationship with the Saudi-based Al Rajhi Bank, a member of Osama bin Laden’s “Golden Chain” of important al-Qaeda financiers. The HSBC-Al Rajhi relationship has spanned decades; perhaps that is why, even when HSBC’s own internal compliance offices asked that it be terminated in 2005, and even when the US government discovered hard evidence of Al Rajhi’s relationship with terrorism, HSBC continued to do business with the bank until 2010.

In fact, the report said, Al Rajhi’s links to terrorism were confirmed in 2002, when US agents searched the offices of a Saudi non-profit US-designated terrorist organization, Benevolence International Foundation. In that raid, agents uncovered a CD-ROM listing the names of financiers in bin Laden’s Golden Chain. One of those names was Sulaiman bin Abdul Aziz Al Rajhi, a founder of Al Rajhi bank.

Recently an operation by German Customs official revealed that the British Queen financed Osama Bin Laden. German officials in an operation raided two containers passing through Hamburg Port and seized 14,000 documents establishing that Osama bin Laden was funded by UK Queen’s bank Coutts, which is part of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

HSBC & 26/11 Mumbai Attacks

Why did HSBC not terminate its links with the Al Rajhi in 2005? The answer lies in what was then put in place in Afghanistan to generate large amounts of cash. When it comes to opium/ heroin and offshore banks, Britain rules supreme. In 2005, poppy fields in southern Afghanistan began to bloom, and it became evident to the bankers and the geo-politicians of Britain and the US that cash to support the financial centers and the terrorists could be made right there.

It was announced on Jan. 27, 2006 in the British Parliament that a NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) would be replacing the US troops in Helmand province as part of Operation Herrick. The British 16 Air Assault Brigade would make up the core of the force. British bases were then located in the districts of Sangin, Lashkar Gah, and Gereshk.

As of Summer 2006, Helmand was one of the provinces involved in Operation Mountain Thrust, a combined NATO/Afghan mission targeted at Taliban fighters in the south of the country. In July 2006, the offensive essentially stalled in Helmand, as NATO (primarily British) and Afghan troops were forced to take increasingly defensive positions under heavy insurgent pressure. In response, British troop levels in the province were increased, and new encampments were established in Sangin and Gereshk. In Autumn 2006, some 8,000 British troops began to reach “cessation of hostilities” agreements with local Taliban forces around the district centers where they had been stationed earlier in the Summer, and it is then that drug-money laundering began in earnest.

This drug money, at least a good part of it, is generated in this area with the help of Dawood Ibrahim, who also played a role in helping the Mumbai attackers by giving them the use of his existing network in Mumbai. At the time, Ibrahim worked on behalf of the British, and ran his operation through the British-controlled emirate of Dubai. Drugs came into Dubai through Dawood’s “mules,” protected by the Pakistani ISI and British MI6; the dope was shipped in containers which carried equipment sent there for “repair” from Kandahar and elsewhere in southern Afghanistan. British troops controlled Helmand province, where 53% of Afghanistan’s gargantuan 8,200 tons of opium was produced in 2007.

The drugs were converted, and still are today, to cash in Dubai, where Dawood maintains a palatial mansion, similar to the one he maintains in Karachi. Dubai is a tax-free island-city, and a major offshore banking center. The most common reason for opening an offshore bank account is the flexibility that comes with it.

With the development of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), which is the latest free-trade zone to be set up there, flexible and unrestricted offshore banking has become big business. Many of the world’s largest banks already have significant presence in Dubai – big names such as Abbey National Offshore, HSBC Offshore, ABN Amro, ANZ Grindlays, Banque Paribas, Banque de Caire, Barclays, Dresdner, and Merrill Lynch, all have offices in the Emirate already.

In addition to Dubai, most of the offshore banks are located in former British colonies, and all of them are involved in money laundering. In other words, the legitimization of cash generated from drug sales and other smuggled illegitimate goods into the “respectable banks” is the modus operandi of these offshore banks. The drugs that Dawood’s mules carry are providing a necessary service for the global financial system, as well as for the terrorists who are killing innocents all over the world.

In December of 2007, this Britain-run drug-money-laundering and terrorist-networking operation was about to be exposed when Afghan President Hamid Karzai learned that two British MI6 agents were working under the cover of the United Nations and the European Union behind his back, to finance and negotiate with the Taliban. He expelled them from Afghanistan. One of them, a Briton, Michael Semple, was the acting head of the EU mission in Afghanistan and is widely known as a close confidant of Britain’s Ambassador, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles. Semple now masquerades as an academic analyst of Afghanistan, and was associated with the Harvard Kennedy School’s Carr Center. The second man, an Irishman, Mervin Patterson, was the third-ranking UN official in Afghanistan at the time that he was summarily expelled.

These MI6 agents were entrusted by London with the task of using Britain’s 7,700 troops in the opium-infested, Pushtun-dominated, southern province of Helmand to train 2,000 Afghan militants, ostensibly to “infiltrate” the enemy and “seek intelligence” about the lethal arms of the real Taliban. Karzai rightly saw it as Britain’s efforts to develop a lethal group within Afghanistan, a new crop of terrorists.

The drug money thus generated to fund the financial centers and terrorists through HSBC was also responsible for ongoing terrorist attacks that have destabilized most of South Asia. The most important of these was the massive attack on Mumbai.

The mode used to launder such drug money is through diamonds. A 2003 Report assessed various alternative financing mechanisms that could be used to facilitate money laundering and or terrorist financing. Trading in commodities, remittance systems, and currency were assessed on each of their abilities to earn, be moved, and store value. Diamonds were the only alternative financial device that fit into all of these assessment criteria.

Diamonds can be vulnerable for misuse for money laundering and terrorist financing purposes because they can transfer value and ownership quickly, often, with a minimal audit trail. They provide flexibility and an easy transportation of value.

Top diamond traders of the country, several of whom are now settled abroad, figure on what the media calls as the #SwissList, with mostly Mumbai addresses given. Many persons on the list are Gujarati diamond merchants with offices all over world having roots in Palanpur.

However their involvement in not just limited to money laundering. Almost 6 months before 26/11 2008 Mumbai Attacks the Financial Intelligence Unit of India (FIU-IND) (the central national agency responsible for receiving, processing, analyzing and disseminating information relating to suspect financial transactions) was already tracking the diamond industry for suspicious activities by terrorists.

“A year ago, some people from Mumbai began purchasing diamonds worth crores of rupees. When the industry tried to trace the traders, they turned out to be non-existent,” said Vanani.

The FIU traced all foreign transactions of Surat’s diamond industry, especially those emanating from Belgium. It found that a great deal of money was being invested by terrorist groups.

However in May 2014 eight of these Belgium based diamond dealers were given a clean chit by the Income Tax department in the black money case. The I-T department said a probe was initiated against the eight individuals, but there was no proof of tax evasion by them. Why is the Government reluctant in disclosing Black Money related data; be it NDA and even UPA before it ? For a detailed report on the issue read 26/11 – The Black Money Trail.

From the Far East to the Middle East to Ibero-America to India, everywhere the drug trade is flourishing, you will find HSBC. It may not handle the dope, but it does handle the money, making sure that the “citizens above suspicion” who run the empire get their cut of the proceeds.  Now HSBC has been caught red-handed laundering money in the U.S., India, China, Argentina almost everywhere the sun shined through the colonies. This is a bank which has abused us, assaulted our people, and violated the law with abandon. Isn’t it time we set an example and revoke its charter to do business here in India ?


HSBC Whistle Blower Spills Lynch Evidence To Senate

by Jerome Corsi | WMDcapitol

 

NEW YORK – The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday conducted a two-hour session with HSBC whistle blower John Cruz in its investigation of attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch’s role in the Obama administration’s decision not to prosecute the banking giant for laundering funds for Mexican drug cartels and Middle Eastern terrorists, WND sources have confirmed.

WND was first to report in a series of articles beginning in 2012 charges by Cruz, a former HSBC vice president and relationship manager, based on his more than 1,000 pages of evidence and secret audio recordings.

The staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee focused Wednesday on Cruz’s allegations, first reported by WND Feb. 6, that Lynch, acting then in her capacity as the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, engaged in a Department of Justice cover-up. Obama’s attorney general nominee allowed HSBC to enter into a “deferred prosecution” settlement in which the bank agreed to pay a $1.9 billion fine and admit “willful criminal conduct” in exchange for dropping criminal investigations and prosecutions of HSBC directors or employees.

On Feb. 12, the Senate Judiciary Committee announced Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, had decided to postpone the Senate vote on Lynch’s confirmation until the last week of February, when Congress returns from the Presidents Day recess. The decision is widely attributed to allowing Vitter and the Senate Judiciary Committee staff time to pursue the allegations concerning Lynch’s role in the HSBC scandal.

Read the explosive backstory inside the HSBC scandal – how WND first exposed the massive money-laundering scheme, the fallout from the eye-popping discovery and the role Loretta Lynch played in “Launder-gate.”

Cruz called the $1.9 billion HSBC fine “a joke,” explaining to WND that HSBC bank auditors had told him in 2009 that senior managers and compliance officers in New York were fully aware the London-headquartered bank was engaged in a criminal scheme to launder money internationally for Mexican drug cartels and Middle Eastern terrorists.

“The auditors warned me investigating the money laundering could cost me my job,” Cruz said. “The auditors told me in 2009 that nobody in the bank was going to go to jail and that HSBC had already put aside $2 billion in reserves to pay the fine they somehow had reason to suspect back then that the Department of Justice would demand to settle the case.”

Cruz argued that a $1.9 billion fine of an international bank the size of Hong Kong Shanghai Bank, the official name of HSBC, amounted to no more than “a few days operating profit.” He described it as “a cost of doing business” once HSBC had decided to launder money for international criminals.

Senate investigators to hear HSBC recordings

Confidential sources in Washington confirmed to WND that Jason Foster, the chief investigative counsel at the Senate Judiciary Committee, was directing the investigation into Cruz’s allegations against Lynch.

Cruz’s charges and documentation were brought to Sen. David Vitter, R-La., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, before the senator announced Feb. 11 that he was opening his own investigation of Lynch.

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Foster is considered on Capitol Hill to be one of the Senate’s best, most experienced investigators. A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, he had more than 15 years experience directing fact-finding inquiries for the Senate Committee on Finance, Senate Homeland Security Committee and the House Committee on Government Reform, before becoming chief investigative counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee in January 2011.

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s staff questioning of Cruz and his attorney focused on approximately 1,000 pages of HSBC customer account records that Cruz turned over to WND early in 2012. The records were pulled from the HSBC computer system before he was fired by HSBC senior management who didn’t want to investigate his claim to have discovered illegal money-laundering activity at the bank.

As WND reported in a series of articles beginning Feb. 1, 2012, Cruz was able to document a complex criminal scheme that involved wiring billions of dollars of money for Mexican drug cartels and Middle Eastern terrorists thorough thousands of bogus accounts created through identity theft. The scheme used the names and Social Security numbers of hundreds of unsuspecting current and former customers. It allegedly had the active participation of regional bank managers, branch managers and employees, as well as bank compliance officials at hundreds of HSBC locations throughout the nation. The money ultimately was wired by the bank to undisclosed bank accounts internationally.

Foster, on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has requested that Cruz to submit some 70 hours of conversations Cruz secretly recorded of bank management and compliance officers in New York. He also recorded his conversations with law-enforcement authorities, including the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, the Department of Homeland Security and the IRS.

Cruz played for WND an audio recording he made of a phone call he placed to Jeremy Scileppi, the bureau chief at the office of the Suffolk County district attorney June 25, 2012. Scileppi told Cruz Suffolk County did not want to duplicate other investigations of HSBC money-laundering allegations.

Scileppi explained the Suffolk district attorney had turned over Cruz’s documentation to HSBC security personnel, “so the bank could conduct their own internal investigation,” as well as to the Brooklyn district attorney’s office and to the FBI, a division of the Department of Justice, as is the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York.

“We generally back off the investigation if the FBI or another federal agency is involved,” Scileppi explained. The way it works is that we don’t want two different agencies to chase the same squirrel up the same tree from two different sides, because, then, nobody gets the squirrel. The FBI told us to back off because they were working the HSBC money-laundering investigation.”

Cruz: ‘DHS stonewalled’

One day after WND’s first article on the HSBC money-laundering scandal was published in February 2012, WND received an email from Sgt. Frank J. DiGregorio, a DHS employee in New York.

“I have read your article in WND pertaining to the allegations by John Cruz against HSBC Bank. As a supervisor for Homeland Securities Investigators, I would very much like the opportunity to meet with Mr. Cruz and speak with him,” DiGregario said.

On Feb. 7, 2012, WND attended a meeting with DiGregorio and Graham R. Klein, special agent for the Department of Homeland Security, in an office building on Manhattan’s lower east side that bore no DHS designation, with Cruz attending by telephone.

With Cruz’s approval, WND handed over to DHS all the written documentation and audio recordings Cruz had provided, offering with Cruz’s permission to assist in the investigation in any way possible.

In a meeting lasting over an hour that Cruz audio-recorded without WND’s knowledge, DiGregorio and Klein promised to investigate the evidence and allegations Cruz had presented.

“This is an ongoing investigation,” DiGregorio told WND at the conclusion of the meeting. “Cruz made very serious allegations, and it takes time for us to do our work. But we have not forgotten about Cruz, and we will get back to him just as soon as we can.”

DiGregorio explained that as a detective sergeant in the office of the Queens County district attorney, he is currently assigned to Homeland Security Investigations, where he supervises Special Agent Klein.

Subsequent to the meeting, Cruz told WND he was shocked DHS claimed it was their first contact with him.

“Back in 2010, my attorney turned over information regarding HSBC to DiGregorio,” Cruz said, as reported by WND in an article published May 13, 2012. “Then, on Feb 7, 2012, Homeland Security said my attorneys never spoke to them, that they didn’t know who I am.”

Cruz was shocked.

“DiGregorio called me; he was belittling me,” Cruz recounted. “DiGregorio said I was a disgruntled employee, that I was just here for the money. They said, ‘Why did it take you two years to come forward?’”

IRS continues to stonewall Cruz

WND reported May 13, 2012, Cruz explained he had also presented his allegations and evidence to Internal Revenue Service Special Agent David Wagner and Supervisory Special Agent Kevin B. Sophia. Both were of the U.S. Department of Treasury, IRS, Criminal Investigation Division.

“I met with them in Denver, Colorado, on April 12, 2012, at the IRS office,” Cruz said. “I gave them a computer disc with all the HSBC documents on it. Agent Sophia asked, ‘What would make us believe HSBC employees would acknowledge illegal activity?’ I told them I recorded everything.”

Cruz also handed over to the IRS two discs with approximately 19 to 20 hours he had recorded of his discussions with HSBC employees concerning his allegations.

Cruz told WND the IRS agents were overwhelmed with the volume and detail of the information he handed over.

“The IRS agents said, ‘This is mind-boggling,’” Cruz recounted. “They told me that if the information on the computer disk and in the audio files was as I represented, the IRS agents were talking about arresting HSBC bank employees.”

Cruz noted the IRS was stunned at the dollar magnitude of the suspicious bank transactions he had documented, noting that billions of dollars in tax revenue was being lost, with bank employees transferring money into and out of bogus accounts set up for illegal gain.

The IRS explained to Cruz that the individuals whose identities may have been stolen to set up the apparently fraudulent accounts would also have to be investigated, to see if they were part of the suspicious activity or merely victims.

Either way, the Social Security numbers associated with the suspicious HSBC accounts turned out to be authentic numbers identified in many cases with present or former customers of the bank. And the billions of dollars traveling through the accounts had never been reported for income tax purposes.

“The IRS denied my request to be a whistle blower in the HSBC case,” Cruz told WND. “The IRS said the information I provided did not result in the collection of any fines, so I was not owed any fee by the federal government.”

Cruz: ‘I no longer trust DHS or the IRS’

As WND also reported May 13, 2012, Cruz handed over to WND audio recordings he made of his meetings with DHS and IRS officials – recordings he made without disclosing to the DHS and IRS.

Cruz explained that he no longer trusts even federal law enforcement to do their job investigating and prosecuting HSBC employees who may be involved in illegal bank transactions, as he alleges.

“It’s a circle,” Cruz explained. “I turn over the information to law enforcement, and law enforcement turns around and gives the information right back to the bank for the bank to conduct their own internal investigation.”

Cruz says he was fired by HSBC for bringing forth his charges.

“This is how the bank and employees in the bank make money,” he argued, explaining why he was fired instead of being given awards for meritorious service disclosing the suspicious activities. “It’s a lot easier to make money off fraudulent transactions than it is to make money off legal transactions.”

He indicated he was not concerned HSBC and/or its employees might sue him for libel or defamation.

“Sue me,” he said defiantly, “sue me all you want. Then bring out the proof. I will ask for every document. I will ask for a lot of documents. I will show that I am right, and I will give every tape recording to the public on air, so they can listen to these individuals talking.”

Cruz explained he taped the conversations with federal law enforcement authorities “to cover myself.”

“You never know what’s going to happen,” he explained. “Somebody could say, ‘Oh, you’re involved.’ I need to explain that I’m not involved, but that I reported it. Then, if they deny I reported it, I have the tapes to prove I reported it.”

Cruz affirmed to WND he was accusing by name federal officials in DHS and IRS, as well as officials in the district attorneys offices in Suffolk County and Queens County, New York, of not taking steps to stop immediately what he alleges is money laundering billions of dollars in the United States around the world.

He noted his contact with the IRS was relatively recent, and he has reason to believe the IRS has opened an investigation.

IRS agents Wagner and Sophia did not return WND calls for comment.

HSBC ‘a criminal organization’

Cruz began working at HSBC Jan. 14, 2008, as a commercial bank accounts relationship manager and was terminated for “poor job performance” on Feb. 17, 2010, after he refused to stop investigating the HSBC criminal money-laundering scheme from within the bank.

In his position as a vice president and a senior account relationship manager, Cruz worked in the HSBC southern New York region, a which accounts for approximately 50 percent of HSBC’s North American revenue. He was assigned to work with several branch managers to identify accounts to which HSBC might introduce additional banking services.

Cruz told WND he recorded hundreds of hours of meetings he conducted with HSBC management and bank security personnel in which he charged that various bank managers were engaging in criminal acts.

“I have hours of hours of recordings, ranging from bank tellers, to business representatives, to branch managers, to executives,” he said. “The whole system is designed to be a culture of fraud to make it look like it’s a legal system. But it’s not.”

Cruz explained that after many repeated efforts, he gave up on the idea that HSBC senior management or bank security would pursue his allegations to investigate and stop the wrongdoing.

“My conclusion was that HSBC wasn’t going to do anything about this account, because HSBC management from the branch level, to senior bank security, to executive senior management was involved in the illegal activity I found,” he said.

After repeated attempts to bring the information to the attention of law enforcement officers, Cruz hit a brick wall until WND examined his documentation and determined his shocking allegations were sufficiently substantiated.

“HSBC is a criminal organization,” he stressed. “It is a culture of crime.”

In 2011, Cruz published a book about his experience with HSBC, titled “World Banking World Fraud: Using Your Identity.”

China’s “Secret Money Laundering”; Pouring Into US Luxury Real Estate

By Tyler Durden

Last week, Zero Hedge first reported on this side of the Pacific, some very troubling news: the biggest offshore buyer of luxury US real estate, that would be Chinese money laundering oligarchs and other member of the upper class, may be locked out of any future US housing purchases for a long, long time. The reason: an unexpected revelation by the power state CCTV channel revealed that contrary to popular disinformation, some of the largest Chinese banks – the PBOC included – were not only permitting but actively encouraging Chinese “money laundering” far above the $50,000/year statutory limit, the immediate result of which was soaring prices of the luxury segment of the US housing market.

We summarized the next steps last Thursday:

“So what happens next? Assuming there is the anticipated resulting backlash and crackdown on Chinese banks, which will finally enforce the $50K/year outflow limitation, this could well be the worst possible news not only for Chinese inflation, which suddenly – no longer having a convenient outlet for the unprecedented liquidity formed in the country every month – is set to soar, but also for the ultra-luxury housing in the US.

Because without the Chinese bid in a market in which the Chinese are the biggest marginal buyer scooping up real estate across the land, sight unseen, and paid for in laundered cash (which the NAR blissfully does not need to know about due to its AML exemptions), watch as suddenly the 4th dead cat bounce in US housing since the Lehman failure rediscovers just how painful gravity really is.”

We forgot to mention one other thing that would promptly happen: the rest of the US mainstream media would quickly catch to this critical story which is still woefully unreported.

First, the WSJ, from earlier today, which basically provides a recap of what we wrote before:

China’s major banks have halted an experimental program, sanctioned by the country’s central bank, that helped citizens transfer large sums overseas despite government capital controls, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The halt, which the people said was likely to be temporary, comes after the program was criticized by China’s powerful state television broadcaster, underscoring the political sensitivity of the issue of wealthy Chinese moving money abroad. Experts said the criticism could set back China’s efforts to ease its grip on the country’s financial system.

* * *

The controversy comes at a politically sensitive time. China’s top leadership is deepening a nationwide effort to fight corruption, with a focus on officials suspected of trying to move abroad assets they might have gotten through bribes or other illegal means. Earlier this month, Liu Yunshan —a member of the Communist Party’s top decision-making body who is in charge of the country’s propaganda apparatus—called on the government to address the problem of what are known in the country as naked officials, or those whose families have moved overseas.

Analysts and economists have widely acknowledged that China’s closed capital-account system has become more porous and that the rules are routinely circumvented. A 2008 report by the PBOC said that up to 18,000 corrupt officials and employees of state-owned enterprises had fled abroad or gone into hiding since the mid-1990s, and that they were suspected of having taken $123 billion with them. A favored method, according to the PBOC report, involved squirreling cash away with the help of loved ones emigrating abroad.

The CCTV report brought to light a trial program the PBOC launched about two years ago that allowed a few approved banks, including Bank of China, ICBC and China Citic, to start offering cross-border yuan remittance services for Chinese individuals through their branches in the southern province of Guangdong. The PBOC never publicly announced the program because it intended to carry out the trial quietly, the people familiar with the matter said.

The program itself is neither illegal nor improper as it’s been approved by the central bank, but the question is if any particular bank has gone too far by offering clients services they are not supposed to,” said a senior executive at a big state-owned bank in Beijing. “We all had to put a brake on it before the central bank draws a conclusion from its investigation.”

Of course the program was legal and proper: it served a key purpose – to keep Chinese hot money inflation under control, by which we mean, exporting it to the US housing market. This is what we said last week:

Why would the PBOC agree to quietly bless this activity which it has, at least openly, blasted vocally in the past?

Simple – to keep inflation in check.

Recall that China is a country which creates nearly $4 trillion in bank deposits every year. Also recall that back in 2011 China nearly chocked when inflation briefly soared out of control, leading to sporadic “Arab Spring” type riots in various cities. And since China simply can not reduce the pace of its loan creation at the macro level without crushing the economy, what it needs is to find outlets – legal or otherwise – that permit the outflow of funds.

Which is why it is not at all surprising that as SCMP reports, the scheme was launched in 2011, just as China’s scary encounter with soaring inflation was unfolding and Beijing needed a fast way to solve the overabundance of domestic liquidity. Basically at that point the central bank agreed to keep its eyes shut as wealthy oligarchs transferred funds to developed world nations, something the US government and NAR were delighted by as it kept real estate prices (if only at the very top) soaring, dragging the entire housing market higher with them. Furthermore recall: the one thing the Fed has wanted more than anything for the past several years is inflation. And since the US economy is nowhere near strong enough to create the kind of inflation needed, with the bulk of the Fed’s reserves ending up in the capital markets and the latest and greatest credit bubble, the Fed would be more than happy to import some of China’s inflation from it, even if that means a housing market which at the upper end is no longer accessible to anyone but the 0.0001%.

This explains the following qualifier from the WSJ:

Officials close to the PBOC said on Monday that it isn’t likely that the central bank will withdraw the trial program altogether, as it is in keeping with Beijing’s broader effort to make it easier for funds to move in and out of the mainland and to promote the yuan’s use overseas. In its latest announcements aimed at gradually freeing up the flow of money, China’s foreign-exchange regulator on Monday issued revised rules that would make it easier for Chinese companies to keep overseas profits and dividends earned in other countries.

Some analysts say the halting of the business amounts to a setback to the government’s reform efforts, at least for now. “This action highlights the tension between the benefits of easing restrictions on capital flows and the risks of allowing freer movement of capital in the absence of effective regulation of financial institutions,” said Eswar Prasad, a China scholar at Cornell University.

Worse, should the hot money flow into ultra luxury US real estate stop, watch as New York City double (and triple) digit million duplex and triplex condo plummet in value as the dumb, marginal money is locked out for good.

Which brings us to the next account of the same story: that of Bloomberg, and its specifics of just how it took place. According to Bloomberg the endorsed money laundering program was introduced in 2011 for overseas property purchases and emigration and, drumroll, doesn’t constitute money laundering, Bank of China said in a July 9 statement. The transfers were allowed by regulators and reported to them, the bank said.

“What it shows is the government has been trying to internationalize the renminbi for a lot longer than we thought,” Jim Antos, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Mizuho Securities Ltd., said by phone, using the official name for China’s currency and referring to policy makers’ long-stated goal of allowing the yuan to become freely convertible with other currencies. “I’m rather encouraged by this news because this is the way they need to go.”

China’s foreign-exchange rules cap the maximum amount of yuan that individuals are allowed to convert at $50,000 each year and ban them from transferring the currency abroad directly. Policy makers have taken steps in recent years, including allowing freer movements of capital in and out of China, as they seek to boost the global stature of the not-yet-fully convertible yuan.

There’s a silver lining in this incident as it may force the regulators to address the issue in a more open and transparent way,” Zhou Hao, a Shanghai-based economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., said by phone. “This is an irreversible trend.”

The issue came to light after CCTV said Bank of China helped customers transfer unlimited amounts of yuan abroad through a product called Youhuitong, which means “superior foreign-exchange channel.”

Of course, this being China, it is far more likely that the “incident” will force the regulators to step aside and keep this all too critical overflow valve of China’s epic hot money, amounting to over nearly $4 trillion in credit money created out of thin air every year, perfectly function for future needs. Especially considering the original report has now been permanently “suicided.” That’s right: any reference to this story in China no longer exists!

The Guangdong branch of China’s currency regulator, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, picked Bank of China, China Citic Bank Corp. (998) and a foreign lender to let individuals transfer yuan abroad in a trial the banks were told not to promote, Time Weekly reported in April 2013. A Beijing-based Citic Bank press officer declined to comment on the program.

While Bank of China didn’t provide figures, the 21st Century Business Herald estimated the lender has moved about 20 billion yuan ($3.2 billion) abroad through Youhuitong, citing people with knowledge of the trial program. “Many commercial banks” in Guangdong offer a similar service, Bank of China said in its statement, without naming them.

On CCTV’s website, the report on Bank of China hasn’t been viewable since at least July 12. Today, the story link led only to a series of advertisements. A spokeswoman for CCTV’s international relations department, which handles foreign media inquiries, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment on why the story wasn’t available.

And the details:

 Youhuitong customers would typically deposit yuan with Bank of China at least two weeks before the transfer, the person said. Once approved, the customer and the bank agree on an exchange rate before the funds are moved to an overseas account designated by the customer, he said. Money destined for real estate would go directly to the property seller’s account to ensure the cash won’t be misused, he said.

Remember: the program is endorsed not only by the PBOC but certainly by the Fed which is delighted in importing tens of billions in offshore money spurring inflation in the US, even if it is very localized, asset-price inflation:

A Beijing-based press officer for Bank of China declined to comment. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and China Construction Bank Corp. (939), the nation’s two largest banks, declined to comment on whether they offer similar products.

HSBC Holdings Plc (5), which runs the largest branch network among foreign banks in China, offers its Chinese clients another way to access offshore mortgages while avoiding the cap on foreign-exchange conversion, according to a person familiar with the mechanism, who asked not to be identified without having authorization to speak publicly.

Customers deposit yuan with HSBC’s mainland unit or purchase its wealth-management products, and the bank’s overseas branch then issues a foreign-currency denominated mortgage using the China deposits as collateral, the person said.

“We seek to abide by the rules and laws of the jurisdictions and geographies in which we operate,” said Gareth Hewett, a Hong Kong-based HSBC spokesman.

Translation: unlike money laundering originating at BNP or elsewhere in continental Europe, this particular instance of offshore funds parking in US real estate has been blessed by Janet Yellen. Why? “Clearly the property market wouldn’t nearly be so robust as it is today without mainland money,” Mizuho’s Antos said. “How did they do it? With Bank of China’s help. There has been a tremendous amount of mainland money flowing offshore and it couldn’t have happened without” official approval.

And it’s not just the US:

Chinese have become the biggest investors in Australia’s commercial and residential property, with purchases surging 42 percent to A$5.9 billion ($5.6 billion) in the year to June 2013, according to the country’s Foreign Investment Review Board.

Vancouver’s real estate market has also seen the impact, having been “fueled tremendously in the last couple of years by high-end wealthy Chinese and Hong Kong buyers,” according to real estate agent Malcolm Hasman.

But it’s the US that would be crushed should Chinese money laundering into ultra luxury real estate – something we said is happening in 2012 – cease. From Bloomberg:

While Chinese buyers’ $22b in spending on U.S. homes in yr through March is “small fraction” of total existing-home sales, a halt in spending would “make a big impact” in cities with the most Chinese buyers, including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, NYC, San Francisco, Nela Richardson, Redfin chief economist, says in note to Bloomberg First Word. She notes Redfin agents have told her Chinese buyers will sometimes have several family, friends transfer $50k at closing, in keeping with yuan cap

Chinese parents also buy high-end properties where kids are going to college, use them as vacation homes or rentals after graduation

Raymond James also piggybacked on our conclusion adding that on the West Coast, Chinese, Taiwanese, Filipino buyers have been scouring parts of Orange County, and Las Vegas; and clearly it may hurt Lennar, SPF if travel/capital flows are suddenly restricted.

Because remember: there is good illegal money laundering, such as this one, and then there is bad illegal laundering, that which does not end up being invested in the massively overvalued luxury segment of the US housing market.

And that is all you need to know on a topic which will hardly receive much more coverage in any media outlets in the US, and certainly not China.

* * *

There is much more on this fascinating topic: those eager for a glimpse of the next steps are urged to read: “Bank of China-CCTV drama may reveal power struggle in Beijing Money laundering accusation may be sign of a power struggle within mainland banking system.” Because when the laundering of trillions of dollars is at stake, a power struggle is certainly assured.