• When Attacking Black Money We Need Both Old School And New School Techniques

    A commentary on “”Black Money”. Funny or suspicious financing is a world wide problem.

    More news of billion dollar illicit activities, mostly labeled as money laundering, always gives me pause as to what is really going on in the movement of money around our world. Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence, published that Financial Institutions have been fined about $321Billion USD since 2008 for failure to detect money laundering and illicit activities. These sanctions expose many banks as Aiders and Abettors of criminals.

    With fines this huge, imagine if we could recover a big chunk of the actual black monies and use it to rebuild countries. A recent conference in Kuwait set a goal to raise $88 Billion USD to rebuild Syria. Just a fraction of the illicit monies would be plenty to rebuild that nation.

    But how to act is the question. I have worked in Afghanistan attacking black money; chased the stolen assets of Charles Taylor, the convicted Liberian President of war crimes, and have been part of teams that recovered large amounts of illicit funds. It but can be done. In Afghanistan our task forcé recovered $1.2billion. This was done with Old and New Techniques.

    The old school techniques apply reason, human judgment and gut instincts-the last is still beyond the reach of computers. In one instance, in Switzerland, individuals were convicted of money laundering but I wondered why the banks were never investigated as Aiders and Abettors. It’s as if a bank robber acted alone without a getaway driver (the driver being the bank in the case of money laundering).

    During my UN work in Liberia, the old school methods were much easier. Former President Charles Taylor, the infamous king of child soldiers stole the timber revenues from the country, thus the money was tainted from the beginning.

    The overuse of the term money laundering can be puzzling. The origin of the term means that monies are dirty at the start and need to be cleansed.

    If the funds are legitimate initially, then this would most likely be the basis for an unreported income spending beyond your means. If the size of the transactions or how the money moves are criteria without the old school checks and balances, then the global banking world is in serious trouble.

    Large amounts of money, shell companies, offshore havens or round numbers are all red flags, but the whys behind is the key. My only caveat is that I have traced the trail of money from a legal beginning that became dirty as determined by how it was used-not because of a gambling habit or extravagant personal spending. It was about the money being connected to terrorist acts. I called it reverse money laundering.

    For those thinking my ways are too traditional, I have kept pace with today’s flamboyant financiers of terrorist acts who have no qualms about employing social media to nurture a cult status and advance their aims and created my own Black Money Ops Game as another weapon-and an asymmetric one at that- against bad guys.


    Tom Creal

    Thomas Creal is a black money tracing expert with over 35 years experience including his days at the UN as the sanction expert for tracking down the assets of Charles Taylor and his accomplices and as lead forensic accountant for Task Force 2010 in Afghanistan which resulted in a $70 million siezure of black money and leading the victims of the Christian Genocide in Syria and Iraq in seeking financial damages from aiders and abettors; and advising legal teams in the arrest of the Queen of Ivory in Malawi as a financier of elephant poachers and other high profile financial stings. His BlackMoneyGames tool is explained in a short video: youtube.com/watch?v=YSUwGIzLEDg.

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