Archive for February, 2019

Estonia investigates alleged Swedbank link to money laundering scandal

Estonia is investigating allegations linking Swedbank to suspicious transactions in the country involving Danske Bank, Estonia’s state prosecutor said on Wednesday.

Danske is being investigated in its home market of Denmark, Estonia, Britain, France and the United States over some 200 billion euros ($226 billion) in payments from Russia, ex-Soviet states and elsewhere that were found to have flowed through its Estonian branch.

A Swedish television program said it had uncovered documents indicating at least 40 billion Swedish crowns ($4.30 billion) had been transferred between accounts at Swedbank and Danske in the Baltics between 2007 and 2015.

“We can confirm that, as the published information relates to Danske Bank, we are checking out the claims as part of our Danske investigation,” a spokeswoman at Estonia’s state prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday.

The Estonian Financial Supervisory Authority said Danske had not operated in isolation in the financial system and that its transactions necessarily involved banks in other EU countries, not all of which were suspect.

“This does not automatically mean (or exclude) that a bank receiving payments in a possible money laundering operation has committed a crime or has breached the bank’s requirement to know its client and identify suspicious circumstances,” it said in the statement.

Swedbank CEO Birgitte Bonnesen said during a telephone conference that she was comfortable with the safeguarding systems that had been in place throughout the years and that it had reported everything it had discovered.

“We do everything we can and we do it constantly,” she said. “We are a big retail bank. We are not a bank that focuses on a small number of non-resident customers that have a specific business model.”

However, she said she could not guarantee that the bank had been able to pick up everything.

“Was there any risk that a payment in 2007 slipped through? Yes, there is a risk,” she said.

Swedbank shares were down 13.6 percent when the Stockholm Stock Exchange closed at 1630 GMT, the biggest daily drop for the share since the financial crisis.

Shares in Swedish peer SEB, which also has a big operation in the Baltics, fell 4.2 percent and Nordea shed 1.8 percent. Handelsbanken shares were unchanged.

REPUTATIONAL RISK

Swedish Financial Markets Minister Per Bolund the allegations could damage the reputation of the Swedish banking sector.

He said banks that could not guarantee compliance with money laundering and financing of terrorism rules in high risk countries “should really question whether you should be in that kind of market”.

In a brief statement the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority said it took money-laundering very seriously but that it could not comment on individual cases.

Swedish mutual insurance group Folksam, Swedbank’s second biggest shareholder with a 7 percent stake, said in a statement it took reports of money laundering “very seriously”.

“Swedbank has made assurances that it has taken strong measures and has reported suspicious transactions to the relevant authorities,” it said.

Bonnesen has repeatedly said that the bank, the biggest lender in the Baltic countries, has found no ties in external or internal investigations to Danske Bank or other money-laundering operations in the region.

UBS faces $5.1bln fine for tax fraud

The Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority said it had no comment on the report at present.

The TV program said that transactions by 50 of Swedbank’s clients should have raised red flags as they were companies with no visible operations, had unknown beneficial owners or were represented by suspected “goalkeepers” – people who only provide a front for an organization.

“The investigation covers more than 1,000 of Swedbank’s clients in high-risk countries who are known from the money laundering scandal in Danske Bank,” broadcaster SVT said on its website.

Danske Bank was ordered on Tuesday by Estonian authorities to shut down its operations in the country within eight months and the bank said it would leave Russia and the Baltics altogether.

Onecoin Scam in Estonia

One of the largest Ponzi scheme that the world has ever experienced has been taken down

Opening thoughts

The cryptocurrency space is highly vulnerable and is continuously being attacked by a number of hackers, as well as many other, Ponzi schemes in the form of cryptocurrencies. Which is emerging out and especially targeting the newcomers in the cryptocurrency field, as they do not have much experience in the domain? Playing a safe game in the cryptocurrency market is like gambling, but if the investors undertake immense precautionary measures and calculated risks, then it is very certain that the input and as well as output from the cryptocurrency market can be optimized.

The OneCoin scam

OneCoin scam was one of the Ponzi schemes which the cryptocurrency community witnessed. The OneCoin scam was primarily promoted as a cryptocurrency blockchain project in order to attract investors from various countries throughout the world. It was primarily considered as a scam as due to its architectural functionalities as well as the members involved with it. However, on January 17th, the Bulgarian police raided the offices of the blockchain project in Sofia and ceased all its operations including the servers.

History of OneCoin scam

The Founder of OneCoin company is actually a Bulgarian businesswoman, Ruja Ignatova. The OneCoin scam promoted itself to be as a cryptocurrency blockchain project but on the contrary, it deemed itself to be one of the centralized platforms where the cryptocurrency funds are stored in a highly secure manner. It is highly astonishing to know the fact that the Blockchain project was neither open source nor decentralized in nature. Yet, the marketers were able to lure massive investments in the project. The OneCoin scam had also ensured to implement the Anti Money Laundering procedures so as to avoid the cryptocurrency losses.

Seizures of OneCoin scam across the world

The company is actually registered under the jurisdiction of the Government of United Arab Emirates, with the name, OneCoin Ltd. but according to the police investigations, it has been revealed that the organization actually works through hundreds of its subordinate companies, spread throughout different continents, across the world. In May 2017, the Government of Kazakhstan levied strict regulations on the company and termed it to be one of the Ponzi schemes. Further, in July 2017, the Government of India also arrested 23 people involved with the OneCoin scam. Even the Italian government noticed the Ponzi scheme and it’s Italian Antitrust and Consumer Protection Authority (AGCM), imposed a fine on the company of almost 2.5 million euros.  

Company’s thoughts on the allegations

However, the people involved with the OneCoin scam are constantly being denying all the allegations. According to the members, the confiscation of various technical pieces of equipment has led to the closure of all the business operations, which would indirectly lead to huge amount of losses and ultimately bankruptcy as well. According to them, they were always ready for any clarification of doubts or speculations regarding the OneCoin scam, but none of the media outlets approached them, in order to get them clarified. They mark this as a lack of journalistic integrity and ethics.

The OneCoin scam was spread across the world

Various countries across the world have realized that the OneCoin project is actually OneCoin scam. various countries around the world like England Italy Ireland the United Kingdom Ukraine China India, etc have taken strict measures against the OneCoin scam. The Government of China, in fact, has confiscated $260 million in OneCoin and has also prosecuted 98 members involved with the project in China.

Closing thoughts

Also, the incorporation of cryptocurrencies for the illegal activities is on rising which automatically directs the attention of the various governments as well as financial regulators of countries. The intervention of various financial regulators has given certain kind of confidence to the newcomers in the field who were a bit hesitant due to its unregulated nature. One must be very speculative and thoughtful when it comes to cryptocurrency investments, as many people, disguised as entrepreneurs and business persons are eagerly looking forward to an opportunity to get rich as quick as possible.

OneCoin cells continues to operate around the world despite that the main program is closed since January 2017.

Estonian business newspaper already warmed Estonians about the scam, despite this we investigated an Estonian branch of Onecoin.

Inge Noormets and Erni Käos, head of the Onecoin scam in Estonia

Inge Noormets well known prostitute in Tallinn, known as well for extorsion on foreigners, false complains for sexual abuse in exchange of a settlement in cash, she is recruiting futur scammed people using her charms, easy to spot her in Amigo or Chicago clubs and of course Tinder.

Erni Käos, already known for different scams and frauds, fake loan  and fraud

Both are promoting the Norwegian remaining branch of Onecoin , OneDealerNorway

Scam business model is simple

fake investment projects, real estate, boats… financed by 90% of Onecoin coins and 10% in FIAT money, people shall run on this to get rid of the their Onecoin that nobody wants because the program is closed and will pay 10%, the business model is to take the 10% and don’t delivery anything.

FIU (Estonian Financial Intelligence Unit) was requested to be interviewed about the case, director of the Unit Madis REIMAND “we are taking the Estonian branch very seriously as we received several complains of people who lost real FIAT money for an amount of 10M EUR, we are hoping to get arrested more than 10 persons in Estonia, but we can’t disclose more details