Switzerland is supporting free trade and globalization as the means to make the Swiss economy more prosperous and intends to extend the number of such agreements in the near future, Joerg Gasser, Switzerland's State Secretary for International Financial Matters at the Federal Department of Finance (FDF), told media on Friday on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).
Russia has offered Switzerland to sign an agreement in collaboration in the sphere of customs, Ruslan Davydov, first deputy director of Russia’s Federal Customs Service told TASS on Saturday, on the sidelines of a conference of the World Customs Organization, which took place in Vienna on April 19-21. The event was attended by representatives of 51 nations and the EU. Russia has become a member of WCO in 1992, as a legal successor to the USSR.
The United States remains the country with the highest annual military expenditure in the world, according to new figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). US military spending grew by 1.7 per cent between 2015 and 2016 to $611 billion, for the first time in six years. Military expenditure by China, which was the second largest spender in 2016, increased by 5.4 per cent to $215 billion, a much lower rate of growth than in previous years.
Boris Titov, the Russian business-ombudsman, has proposed the creation of a region in the Crimea similar to the “kriptodoliny” (Cryptovalley) in Zug, Switzerland for funding cryptocurrency and blockchain organizations, according to Rambler News Service. “Maybe we can make a Crypto Valley Crimea,” Titov said. This initiative was talked down during the Russian science-practical forum called “Blockchain: dialog between business and government” on the 13th of April in Moscow.
HSBC, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, Barclays and Coutts are among 17 banks based in the UK, or with branches here, believed to have processed almost $740 million on behalf of Russian money launderers with ties to gangsters and intelligence services, according a major investigation carried out by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and Novaya Gazeta, and reported by the Guardian. The figure was gathered by documents covering the years 2010-2014 showing at least $80 billion was moved out of Russia by an organisation called the Global Laundromat. Investigators are still trying to identify who is behind the nickname, but the task is difficult as the owners of offshore entities that moved money through the banks often kept their identities secret, the report noted, adding the documents include details of about 70,000 banking transactions, including 1,920 that went through UK banks and 373 via US banks.
Two of the Nordics' biggest banks, Nordea and Danske Bank, are involved in a money laundering scandal that involves billions of Danish krona, reports Berlingske. They are cooperating with authorities over possible incidents of money laundering via their overseas branches from 2011 to 2014, it added. The Danish newspaper cites investigations into authorities in countries including Latvia and Moldova, which show that large amounts of money passed through Danish banks into tax havens like the Seychelles and Panama. The origin of the money is not certain, but sources point to Russian organized crime. Meanwhile, according to Berlingske, fourteen Moldovan judges have been arrested and are awaiting trial for aiding the perpetrators.
Two City traders, George Urumov and Vladimir Gersamia, were convicted of multiple fraud offences following a four-month trial at Southwark Crown Court. The pair were handed jail terms of seven and 12 years respectively. The victim of the complex fraud scheme was Russian bank Otkritie, with the size of the losses related to the illegal actions exceeding £141 m ($176 m), according to a report in the Financial Times. The first part of the fraud was carried out in 2011, when Urumov joined Otkritie Securities Ltd (OSL) and manipulated the company into paying him approximately $25m as a “sign-on” fee under the false impression that it would be distributed to others also joining the company.
Russian Railways suggests reviewing the use of Swiss francs as a settlement currency for the transit traffic, president of the company Oleg Belozerov said, as Tass agency reported. "We calculate transit in Swiss francs. The Swiss franc has been historically used for international settlements. I asked colleagues to consider and give an assessment whether the franc is the proper currency now to make settlements," he said.
Russia's biggest bank, Sberbank, has recently announced a launch of a robot lawyer which will be assigned a task to process letters of complaints. The innovation will axe approximately 3000 specialists currently working in the bank structure, according to a report by TASS agency, citing Sberbank’s Deputy CEO Vadim Kulik. On the sidelines of the annual Gaidar Forum, Kulik announced robot lawyer was launched in Q4 of 2016, with full robotization to be completed in the first months of 2017. “It means that approximately 3000 specialists who have been processing letters of complaints will be freed from performing this particular task. We have quite ambitious plans. We are planning to launch robot lawyers in a range of fields", he added.
Eight men now own the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world. A top corporate CEO earns as much in a year as 10,000 garment factory workers in Bangladesh. And the world's 10 biggest corporations together have revenue greater than the 180 poorest countries combined, according to a study published Sunday by Oxfam. The charity's report, "An economy for the 99%", was released as global leaders and the business elite traveled to Davos, Switzerland, for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum; it suggests the wealth gap is wider than ever, with new data for China and India indicating that the poorest half of the world owns less than previously estimated.
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