Tracking Insights Dec 8, 2016

A Global Overview of Money Laundering

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Money laundering is one of the most severe problems that plague the global economy due to its clandestine nature. Estimatedly, the amount of money laundered every year totals to about 2 percent to 5 percent of global GDP, or $800 billion to $2 trillion. With more than 3 million voices in our Sentifi financial crowd, we’re able to extract an overview of money laundering globally.

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At least 50 branches of 10 banks in India are under investigation for allegedly involving in large-scale money laundering across the country. On Nov. 8, in an attempt to weed out black money, the Indian government issued a ban of the 500-rupee notes and 1000-rupee notes. Since there, some banks allegedly charged a certain amount of money to convert the banned bank notes, or black money, into new ones.

The locations of the banks spread across India, including Delhi,Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Goa, Chandigarh and Jaipur. The Enforcement Directorate is handling the investigation, and it will specially focus on the banks that had huge deposits after the cash ban, and had money transferred to other accounts or taken out within days.

Moving to Thailand, the head of a powerful Buddhist sect Dhammakaya — Phra Dhammachayo — and four other people will be indicted on charges of money laundering and receiving stolen property. Approximately $40 million was embezzled from a credit union. The sect is quite controversial due to its wealth and political influence. It is said to be sympathetic to former Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who got ousted in a 2006 coup.

Next up is the host of the 18th Asian Games in 2018 Indonesia. Dody Iswandi, the secretary general of the Indonesian Sports Committee (KOI), has become a suspect for embezzlement and money laundering related to funds for a series of public information program about the 2018 Games called “Carnival Road to Asian Games.” The funds are worth $4.54 million. KOI Deputy Chief Muddai Madang believes the investigation will not interfere with the preparations of the 2018 Games.

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