The bottom of p. 5 of this Wolfsberg Group Statement says money laundering risks include financial “[a]ccounts for ‘gatekeepers’ such as accountants, lawyers, or other professionals for their clients where the identity of the underlying client is not disclosed to the financial institution.

It is therefore no surprise that assets hidden through laundering or otherwise, can end up in a gatekeeper’s account across the globe.  For example, a 2007 forfeiture complaint filed in United States, v. Proceeds of Crime Transferred to Certain Domestic Financial Accounts, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Index # 07-CV-21791, implicated gatekeeper / accountant Mr. Pierfrancesco Munari in an alleged conspiracy to launder hundreds of millions of dollars.

Although the hundreds of millions of dollars had reportedly originated from a judicial bribery scheme in Italy, these monies were allegedly washed by way of business entities and / or financial accounts in the United States; the British Virgin Islands; the Cayman Islands; Guernsey; Jersey; Switzerland; Luxembourg; Liechtenstein; Singapore; the Cook Islands and Costa Rica.

A November 16, 2007 settlement agreement indicated that Mr. Munari consented to the forfeiture of four of these financial accounts which were respectively maintained at Merrill Lynch and Citibank.  Blog posts which additionally mention gatekeepers are:

  1.  A Doctor, A Lawyer & Bricks Of Cash In Switzerland
  2. An Ex-Watch Manufacturer & His Nominee Bank Accounts
  3. Concealing Assets In More Than 150 Trusts?
  4. Asset Search News Roundup: February 6, 2012
  5. Asset Search News Roundup: February 19, 2012
  6. Red Flags In One Of Washington State’s Largest Bankruptcies
  7. Seattle’s Ubiquitous Asset Protection Lawyer, Ms. Mary Simon

Copyright 2012 Fred L. Abrams

Copyright 2012 Fred L. Abrams

An October 25th press release describes a forfeiture effort pursued by the U.S. Government against Teodorin Nguema Obiang, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Forestry and Agriculture and the first son of Equatorial Guinea’s head of state.  For me, this press release raises another issue:  Could Equatorial Guinea nationals commence a lawsuit in the U.S. against Nguema and Equatorial Guinea?

Such a lawsuit might claim that Nguema collected vast sums of monies during an alleged public corruption scheme originating in Equatorial Guinea.  It could also allege that Nguema had possibly used the supposed corruption proceeds to help fund his lavish lifestyle which included the purchase of this palatial Malibu, California mansion at 3620 Sweetwater Mesa Road:

Among the many questions this prospective lawsuit raises, are: Would the claimants who are Equatorial Guinea nationals, possess a cognizable claim in a lawsuit filed in the U.S.?;  and Could Equatorial Guineas’ immunity from lawsuits, (as contemplated by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act), be avoided because of the “commercial activity” or “takings” exceptions at 28 U.S.C. §§ 1605(a) (2) or (a) (3)?

Continue Reading Suing Teodorin Nguema Obiang For His Malibu Mansion, Gulfstream Jet, Etc.

Using Divorce To Dissipate Assets & Delay Creditors” described allegations from 2008, that ex-Tyco chief executive Dennis Kozlowski might have fraudulently conveyed assets via an excessive divorce settlement.  Stated differently, the ex-Tyco chief was thought to have possibly used his divorce settlement as an asset protection tool.

An August 10th civil complaint filed in federal court by the United States Attorney, similarly accuses former Kansas University official Ben Kirtland of fraudulently conveying assets to his wife at the time of their divorce.  The complaint essentially claims that in anticipation of a $2 million dollar forfeiture judgment against him, Mr. Kirtland supposedly used this divorce settlement to wrongfully transfer assets:

(To Enlarge, Click On The Divorce Settlement)

Copyright 2011 Fred L. Abrams

The Premier And The Hip-Hop Magazine” published by Forbes on March 3, 2010, observed that special prosecutor Helen Garlick had so far not filed public corruption or other charges against former Turks & Caicos Islands premier Michael Misick.  The March 3rd article also pointed out that the former premier and his ex-wife U.S. actress LisaRaye McCoy, were alleged to have invested monies in the US-based Hip Hop Weekly magazine.

$300,000 dollars for example, might have been transferred in 2007 to Hip Hop Weekly through companies known as My Way Productions 2 and the Windsor Investment Group.  The former premier and Ms. McCoy seemed deeply involved in My Way Productions 2, as more fully set forth at “The Former Premier’s Nexus To Hip Hop Weekly Magazine” and “The Actress, An Ex-Premier & Hip Hop Weekly Magazine“.  Windsor Investment Group meanwhile, was apparently partially owned by the former premier and his brother, Chal Misick.

The former premier, Ms. McCoy, Chal Misick and the Windsor Group are now thought to possibly be subject to a June 23, 2011 restraining order which allegedly froze the former premier’s assets worldwide.  The Turks & Caicos Sun has reported that the alleged June 23rd order “was made” by special prosecutor Garlick and that it lists the former premier, Ms. McCoy, Chal Misick, the Windsor Group and others.

Continue Reading Former Premier Misick Reportedly Subject To Worldwide Asset Freeze

Today’s “Asset Search News Roundup” is about politically exposed persons and a suspected laundering scheme.

  1. “FAQ” webpage focuses on the legal tools for freezing illicit assets dictators or other politically exposed persons might hide in Switzerland.  Via such tools, Swiss authorities recently froze $1 billion in assets believed to be connected to either Muhammad Hosni Mubarak, Muammar Gaddafi, or Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.  Articles referring to this asset freeze are at Reuters and the BBC.
  2. A press release and / or restraining order suggest that 76 bank accounts across the globe were allegedly used in a scheme to launder illicit gambling proceeds.  A civil complaint related to the case and an indictment are chasing at least $3 billion through asset forfeiture or from money laundering penalties.  The indictment claims that the principals of three Internet poker companies, (i.e. PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker), participated in the suspected laundering scheme.  An April 15, 2011 video from FNN Online also describes the indictment.

 

(Last Edited January 22, 2012)

Copyright 2011-2012 Fred L. Abrams

Money mules and the former Tunisian president’s assets are covered by this “Asset Search News Roundup”:

  1. The Washington Post and FDIC previously outlined how some money launderers pretended to be employers to basically induce their so-called “employees” to wire transfer illicit funds as straw men.  These straw men commonly called money mules, were also just mentioned at a February 3rd article.  The February 3rd article reveals that the financial accounts of the money mule “employees” were used by the launderers to transfer illicit funds from phishing or other frauds.
  2. As a suspected kleptocrat, Tunisia’s Former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali could be the target of global asset forfeiture.  A Reuters’ video reports that Mr. Ben Ali’s family is thought to have possibly diverted $66 million in gold from Tunisia to Switzerland.  These corruption allegations may have caused the Swiss freeze of Mr. Ben Ali’s assets via a January 19th “Ordinance on Measures Against Certain Individuals from Tunisia“.  The January 19th ordinance is characterized at one press release as a “rapid precautionary freeze of funds” in anticipation of possible criminal proceedings.  The BBC meanwhile says that the European Union has implemented its own measure to freeze the assets of 46 allies and relatives of Mr. Ben Ali.  According to Bloomberg.com, the European Union measure could have already led to a freeze of Ben Ali’s financial accounts and other assets in Frankfurt, Germany.

Copyright 2011 Fred L. Abrams

Since a wide variety of persons conceal assets by money laundering, it is the topic of today’s "Asset Search News Roundup".

  1. Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom Delay was convicted of state money laundering violations on November 24th.

    As described by "DeLay Is Convicted in Texas Donation Case", Mr. Delay was indicted on money laundering charges five years earlier.

    Said indictment asserted that Mr. Delay helped to illicitly transfer $190,000 in corporate donations through the Republican National Committee.

  2. Reuters says that six officers from a now defunct Missouri-based funeral business have been indicted for alleged money laundering and numerous suspected crimes.

    The superseding indictment returned against the six seeks to forfeit property such as the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

    Hollywood Forever is the 62-acre burial ground for stars like Cecil B. DeMille, Jayne Mansfield, Rudolph Valentino and Douglas Fairbanks.

  3. A November 22nd news release described this month’s meeting of experts from the Financial Action Task Force and the Egmont Group.

    The Egmont Group’s "Cases" webpage featuring money laundering typologies, is especially informative.

    One of these typologies outlines the transfer of funds without "economic justification", which can be a laundering red flag:

Typology / Case# 08008: Courtesy of The Egmont Group

Copyright 2010 Fred L. Abrams

The October 27th “Asset Search News Roundup” covers Former Premier Michael Misick and tax fraudster Erwin Mayer:

One such land grant concerned 18 acres located in the North West Point area of the Turks and Caicos Islands, highlighted on the map below.  Regarding this land grant, the final report to the Commission of Inquiry claimed Michael Misick:  “…was the beneficiary of a number of land grants, including one of 18 acres in the North West Point area in April 2007, for which he did not pay.  His partners, overseas developers, paid the entire purchase price of over $1.9 million, but he received 50% ownership in the project.


(For Hi-Res Click On The Map)

Copyright 2010 Fred L. Abrams

Detecting crimes during a marital asset search and Mexico’s ubiquitous drug cartel violence, are examined by the September 26th "Asset Search News Roundup".

  1. Any crimes committed by a divorcing spouse hiding assets would conceivably be detected during a marital asset search. As the following articles reveal, a divorcing spouse hiding assets might possibly face a prosecution for tax fraud, money laundering, etc.:

Copyright 2010 Fred L. Abrams