You might have heard the term “hawala” mentioned over the last few weeks. Maybe you saw it discussed while watching Amazon’s new Jack Ryan series, or maybe you’re more of a C-SPAN fan, and caught it a few times while watching the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance hearing on September 7th on terrorist groups and their means of financing.

Hawala is a trust-based informal value transfer system (sometimes called parallel banking) that is widely used for perfectly legitimate purposes across parts of South Asia, West Africa, and the Middle East, and for facilitating transactions between communities there and people in other parts of the world, like Europe and North America. Its attraction to money launderers and terrorist financers is driven in large part by the difficulty of tracing the transactions and the limited means of regulatory enforcement. Notably, hawala is generally unlawful in countries like Pakistan and India, and in some U.S. states.

Continue Reading Financing Terrorism Through the Hawala System

  • Interesting post from former FBI GC Jim Baker (“Mr. FISA, himself“) about the rarely used presidential power to make legal determinations that are binding on the entire executive branch and whether the current president’s twittering counts
  • More interesting would be this newly posted job at the DOJ — Deputy Pardon Attorney, who will “assist the President in the exercise of the executive clemency power conferred to him by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution”
  • Even more interesting was that I looked in vain on Tuesday for a press release on the DOJ website about the Manafort conviction — nothing — apparently tax fraud by owners of a floral company in Pennsylvania was a much bigger deal
  • Legal nerd fun — the Second Circuit, relying on legislative intent, ruled that a foreign person who does not reside in the United States cannot be liable for conspiracy under the FCPA if he is not in the category of persons covered by it
  • Aaron one upped me in nerdom with this one regarding the False Claims Act — the Ninth Circuit ruled that the Supreme Court’s decision in Escobar — holding that even when a requirement is expressly designated a condition of payment, not every violation of that requirement gives rise to liability — did not overrule Ninth Circuit precedent and the question remains whether the false certification was relevant to the government’s decision to confer a benefit
  • Finally, I love “experts say” articles — according to this one, “Getting defendants to ‘flip’ is key tool in going after the kingpin” — you don’t say?

Been a while — not sure “Roundup of White Collar News” is the catchy phrase we’re looking for after a month or so, but here we go:

  • Interesting explanation of the Carter Page FISA application over at Lawfare
  • The Attorney General announced the publication of the Cyber-Digital Task Force Report — Question: does anyone actually read a bureaucratic monstrosity like this?
  • Good for the DOJ — firing reservists because they’re performing military duty is awful, not just illegal
  • Good for the DOJ again — I can never get enough of health car fraudsters getting caught and being made to pay
  • Blows my mind that we’re even having a debate as to whether a president’s conduct amounts to treason
  • Very sad day for L.A. — Jonathan Gold, the man who informed me it was ok, even right, to put yellow mustard on my pastrami sandwich died today
  • Ron Rockwell Hansen, a former Defense Intelligence Agency case officer, was arrested in Seattle for spying on behalf of China — here’s the arrest warrant and complaint
  • So many ways to commit fraud — here’s gift card fraud complete with reverse engineering, algorithms, and other techy Seattle things that lawyers don’t understand, as exemplified by the indictment
  • Apparently, embezzling from a tribe is its own separate crime
  • I love the Washington Post but they get this story about civil asset forfeiture completely wrong and in the most lazy way by simply repeating an attorney’s allegations — a post to follow about how asset forfeiture really works
  • Another laugher from the Washington Post about the possible end of legalese — legalese will never die and we’ll have a future post on why
  • The SEC is going after a lawyer here in Seattle who specializes in sham IPOs

  • Disgusting — Seattle man charged with selling food that was supposed to be destroyed or recycled into agricultural feed to discount grocery stores
  • The Ninth Circuit said you don’t have to know you’re transporting ammo to be convicted of smuggling ammo
  • Panasonic Avionics Corporation agreed to pay a $137.4 million penalty for falsifying its books and concealing payments to third-party sales agents
  • VW’s board is thinking of going after its former CEO
  • The UK’s data protection watchdog has ordered Cambridge Analytica to release information on US professor David Carroll
  • Interesting interview from a a compliance chief regarding a “speak up culture”

  • Last Monday, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control authorized certain transactions winding down or maintaining business with Russian aluminum giant RUSAL through October, after sanctions against the company announced earlier this month hurt industry
  • Charges against two men alleged to have been conspiring to commit economic espionage on behalf of a Chinese company
  • New stats this week from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts on the 2017 activities of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
  • In Portland, a man is charged with conspiring to launder money in furtherance of his drug business
  • Charges in Anchorage for killing Steller sea lions in violation of the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, false statements, and obstructing the investigation
  • In Tacoma, Washington, a woman is charged with wire fraud and identity theft—after being convicted in 2014 of stealing almost $100,000 in an earlier identity theft scheme
  • In Chicago on Thursday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein provided appropriate context for Shakespeare’s joke about “kill[ing] all the lawyers” in a speech to the International Association of Defense Counsel’s “Corporate Counsel College”

Chaplin later regretted this satirization

 

  • Lots of pernicious activity in the PNW, beginning with sending a false distress message to the Coast Guard, a big no-no
  • An interesting conspiracy to get around sanctions against Iran involving Chinese, Turkish, and Portuguese companies — the indictment was handed down in Washington, DC, but the plea will be in Seattle where the defendant was arrested and has remained in custody
  • This case was transferred to Seattle from Florida — ransomware used to extort people into paying “fines” to phony law enforcement organizations
  • I’m seeing a spinoff of WAGSWWCCs
  • Even listenin’ to Slippin’ couldn’t convince the judge not to give DMX some prison time
  • Most disturbing of all this week: massive wine fraud in the Rhone Valley — life really does imitate The Simpsons…