Just when Barclays was trying to rebuild its reputation, its name gets dragged through the mud once more. But this time, it’s not their fault. After a notification from the US authorities, Barclays has been helping the investigation of America’s biggest ever recorded money laundering business. Using 45 bank accounts in total, Liberty Reserve successfully laundered more than £4bn in criminal cash.
It’s estimated that millions of users worldwide used Liberty Reserve to launder money. 200,000 were from the US. It processed more than 12 million financial transactions a year. Barclays is not being blamed for this offence by the US authorities. In a statement, Barclays said that it’s doing all that it can to aid the investigation.
This case has occurred while the current chief executive, Antony Jenkins, is trying to clean up the bank’s public character, under a new ‘Transform’ programm. This is bad timing to get linked with one of the greatest money laundering businesses ever seen.
An International Project
Seven people were involved and helping criminals conduct illegal fiscal transactions. 17 bank accounts were held in Cyprus, and Liberty Reserve’s founder, Arthur Burdovsky, held a personal bank account with Barclays in Spain, from 2009 (and was suspended a week ago). Hence, why Barclays is getting involved.
Burdovsky (born in Ukraine), had been charged in 2006 in the US with running an unlicensed money transfer service. He had been given a suspended five year sentence.
The Liberty Reserve project laundered the illicit funds that were linked to a whole host of contemptible crimes, from child pornography to developing hacking software for breaking into banks.
Everyone Has Dirt On Their Hands
Many Eurozone members have long considered Cyprus a tax avoidance haven and a hotspot for money laundering. Even so, Cyprus was bailed out earlier this year to the tune of £8.4bn by the EU nations and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Last June, Barclays was fined £290m by UK and US moderators, after they were found guilty of manipulating Libor. This led to three resignations at Barclays, including that of chief executive, Bob Diamond. When even the church is denouncing you publicly as a morally corrupt institution, something has gone horribly wrong.
So, what is money laundering? It’s the process whereby criminals hide their illegal activities by making it seem as if their cash has emanated from a legitimate source. Not only can you face severe criminal sentences if you partake in money laundering, but you will face severe ramifications if you even have the slightest suspicion that it’s taking place and you don’t report it to the police. For further information, view this site for more information regarding money laundering and how you can protect yourself against it.
Yup, the authorities come down hard on anyone even remotely involved…regardless of whether they’re truly aware of the illegal process. Even suspicion can condemn you.
The amount of money that’s laundered through the UK every year is thought to stand at £48bn. That’s 2% of Britain’s total GDP.
***Photo courtesy of http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5024/5857345827_361755da6a_o.jpg