Sunday, January 31, 2016

Lawyers moving money // Undercover in New York //Global witness

Global Witness' investigation will air on CBS 60 Minutes on 31 January
The Global Witness investigation was featured on 60 Minutes tonight.

Undercover in New York  Global Witness
This investigation was covered in the New York Times.

We all know what it feels like to get ripped off or scammed. But we know less about the tools the criminals use to get away with their illicit activities.

Global Witness has previously looked at a whole range of crimes, and found they all had one thing in common. They were all carried out by anonymous company owners, who are able to skirt U.S. laws and launder money through our financial system. If these sham companies did not exist, those crimes would be far harder to commit.

Anonymous companies do great damage to society. Warlords and dictators use them to steal from their people and stash the loot in places like the U.S. A violent Mexican drug cartel called the Zetas used American companies to launder its profits.The Iranian government has used them to evade sanctions. Credit card scammers, mobsters, tax evaders and other criminals routinely use them to rip off innocent citizens or threaten U.S. interests and get away with it.

The crazy thing is, these companies are often set up in the U.S. - it is one of the easiest places in the world to do this legally.

Global Witness' investigation aired on CBS 60 Minutes on 31 January -click here to watch

To prove our point, we went undercover and approached 13 New York law firms. We deliberately posed as someone designed to raise red flags for money laundering.

We said we were advising an African minister who had accumulated millions of dollars, and we wanted to buy a Gulfstream Jet, a brownstone and a yacht. We said we needed to get the money into the U.S. without detection.

To be clear, the meetings with the lawyers were all preliminary. None of the law firms took our investigator on as a client, and no money was moved.

Nonetheless, the results were shocking; all but one of the the lawyers had suggestions on how to move the funds. To see what some of them said, watch the videos below:

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