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Dirty Money!

Updated on August 29, 2010

The Murky World of Illicit Finance

My novice perception of the "macro" view of money laundering is broad just as the term "macro" dictates. From ruthless Mexican and South American drug cartels to powerful multi-national corporations, the illusion of presenting "dirty money"in a pristine, above reproach manner has become a dark "art form".

I have discovered the list of who utilizes money laundering as part of their organization's modus operandi is endless. In my opinion some of the more infamous examples of who has perfected money laundering would be Iran, a nation that funds terrorist operations while producing "legitimate" revenue via the oil trade.

In my opinion the oil business allows the Islamic Republic of Iran the perfect financial outlet for the laundering of funds gained via illicit finance. I recognize that my previous statement may be considered inflammatory, fact less, and accusatory; however after class mandated research throughout my two years as an AMU student as well my own private research and I am compelled to draw that conclusion.

Moving forward the why for Iran is clear, and has potentially lethal ramifications for all of humanity. Iran WMD aspirations are real and their goals are becoming dangerously close to coming into fruition.

In effort to locate an expert opinion on Iran's money laundering activities; I was led to a clear and concise article in the New York Daily News entitled: "Money laundering system lets Iran bankroll terror groups, Feds say:"by William Sherman

Please find a excerpt of the article as follows: "A government task force is probing how Iran launders money through the international banking system to finance terror groups buying arms ranging from mortars to weapons of mass destruction.The probe is focusing on the millions of dollars Iranian banks funnel through mainstream banks for the groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban, the Daily News has learned. Iranian-controlled banks use wire transfers, letters of credit and bank accounts to fund terrorism, the Treasury Department has said. Iranian banks typically hide their presence by using false names and omitting or altering special codes that reveal the origin of funds in wire transfers, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control said. The code is typically a nine-digit number assigned to every bank. By changing or altering the numbers, the source of the money is obscured. The money flows from Iran's banks to accounts maintained by that country's Islamic Revolutionary Guards and a special army unit to other bank accounts maintained by terrorist groups."

The above information is disturbing, however this is the reality that must be combated in the war against international illicit finance activities at its most globally threatening level.  

Although I would like to claim credit for creating the following scenario; however the FBI has inspired me to elaborate on a recent "operation" that was run with a powerful Russian oligarch as the "target" in question.

Just to reiterate the following hypothetical scenario is FBI inspired:

The United States Intelligence Community would create a joint task force that would focus on formulating and maintaining relationships via overt "diplomacy type" activities, while collecting high level information from the "target".

Information would then be utilized to infiltrate the target's organization via effective covert activities that would be implemented to follow the money and lead to the arrest of a high value target.
Moving forward please find below an excerpt of the FBI article that highlights in my opinion a brilliant "operation" that is based on the principal of "keeping your friends close, and your enemies closer!"

"Mr. Deripaska's recent visits were arranged outside of regular State Department visa procedures because the U.S. continues to have concerns about Mr. Deripaska's business associations, according to administration officials. Instead, FBI officials arranged for a limited-entry permit from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as allowed in special cases related to sensitive matters, officials said. Another person familiar with the case said there was some opposition from other U.S. agencies to Mr. Deripaska's visits, but that the FBI prevailed. The FBI had previously been at loggerheads with the State Department over Mr. Deripaska; FBI officials have said they were getting interesting information from him, this person said."

"FBI officials have said they were getting interesting information from him, this person said." To this amateur, that is absolutely brilliant intelligence gathering!  

In closing those changes would revolve around genuine international cooperation that would include the intelligence community, military, and federal law enforcement agencies. The best and brightest operators would be recruited and cross-trained in multiple disciplines that would include the mastering of multiple foreign languages, international finance, and cyber warfare.

In essence I still find myself advocating the implementation of some sort of "global police force" that is equipped for and mandated to eradicate illicit finance from the face of the Earth!

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