[Dave Birch] I was twittering the other day about the tedious, annoying and pointless anti-money laundering (AML) procedures that I had to go through at the Post Office to get two hundred US dollar for a visit to the States. These wasted everyone’s time and money. Incidentally, not everyone is subject to the same stringent AML provisions as mere peasants such as you and me.

Guarantee 5, of eight areas of demands that Fifa has detailed for governments, relates to Bank & Foreign Exchange Operations. Section 5.B is entitled “Foreign Exchange Undertakings” and states that the government must provide for “the unrestricted import and export of all foreign currencies to and from the UK, as well as the unrestricted exchange and conversion of these currencies into US dollars, euros or Swiss francs”.

[From Fifa’s demand to be exempt of UK money-laundering legislation | Football | The Guardian]

I hate to say WTF, but seriously WTF? Why on earth should they even want to import and export unrestricted amounts of currency? Churlish observers might see this as a provision relating to tax evasion which, given the amount of money that footballers and their agents earn, looks like an unnecessary perk. Unless I’ve misjudged things, and tax evasion is considered a standard perk for the rich, which is why I don’t have access to it.

These AML procedures for such trivial sums (when 500 euro notes are allowed to circulate freely) have a potentially damaging impact on new services designed for low-value payments because they impose pointless costs. It’s almost a knee-jerk reaction to a new technology for payments to inside that it presents a unique opportunity for money launderers and to demand regulation.

U.S. mobile payments services providers should be required to establish programs to mitigate the risk of money laundering

[From Portals and Rails]

That’s a good idea. If I were a US mobile payments service, I’d start by pressing the Federal Reserve to abolish the €500 and $100 bills, which are the favourite tools of money launderers everywhere.

The UK’s border police were patting themselves on the back today after seizing over half a million quid in cash from the hand luggage of two Nigerian men at Heathrow Airport. The men said the money – a mix of €500 and $100 bills…

[From UK border police seize £500k from Nigerians’ hand luggage • The Register]

Note again: not prepaid cards, mobile phone vouchers, gold or Marks & Spencer gift certificates but cash. As an aside, this report led me to wonder if this is what they are really scanning for at the airport!!

Consider Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab—the Nigerian “Jockstrap Jihadist” who boarded a Detroit-bound jet in Amsterdam with a suicidal plan in his head and some explosives in his underwear… He was, after all, traveling without luggage, on a one-way ticket that he purchased with cash. All of this while being on a U.S. government watch list.

[From The Case for Calling Them Nitwits – Magazine – The Atlantic]

And, more recently,

The US Transport and Security Administration is likely to face questions about why he was allowed to board even though his luggage was allegedly found to contain a mobile phone taped to a Pepto-Bismol bottle, three other mobile phones taped together and several watches taped together.

[From Dutch police arrest terror suspects on US flight – Telegraph]

They were keeping their eyes peeled for cash, presumably. I’m not surprised that he wasn’t stopped, to be honest. I went through security on to a US flight last year with a carry-on bag containing six Nokia phones, a Samsung phone, an iPhone, a Vivotech POS terminal, a box of credit cards, an iPad, a MacBook Pro plus all of the assorted chargers and cables, a digital MP3 recorder, a digital camera and a Flip video camera together with spare batteries and a bunch of RFID stickers. I was sure that I would be stopped and asked to open the bag up—which would have been fair enough—but nothing. Had I packed some spending money, I presumably still be in the cells.

These are personal opinions and should not be misunderstood as representing the opinions of
Consult Hyperion or any of its clients or suppliers

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