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.
LinkedIn will not be accessible in Russia as the State Government have asked to remove the app from the app stores. The decision was reached after a local court in Russia found LinkedIn to be in violation of their law requiring any service that collects data on Russian Citizens to house that data within Russia’s borders. As per the directions from the Russian government, Google and Apple have removed the access to the LinkedIn App.
Eleven more oil producing nations have agreed to cut their production to try to boost global crude oil prices. The deal follows an announcement by OPEC 11 days ago that its members would collectively cut production by just over 1 million barrels a day. Large oil exporters, including Russia and Mexico, said they would mimic the Opec protocol agreed at the end of November and adjust their own production to 300,000 and 100,000 barrels a day respectively from the start of 2017. Oil prices have languished at less than or around $50 a barrel since the US became largely self-sufficient on shale from 2014 onwards; but with Opec’s announcement that production would be cut on 30 November, prices recently surged more than 15 per cent, rising last week briefly above $55.
An agreement between oil producer club OPEC and Russia to produce less to drain a global glut sent prices soaring in record trading volumes on Thursday, even as analysts warned other producers will likely top up supply. On Wednesday in Vienna, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries reached a deal to reduce their oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day in order to raise global prices. The deal also hinges on non-OPEC countries contributing an additional 600,000 barrels per day worth of cuts, with about half of that coming from Russia. On Thursday Azerbaijan said it was also willing to engage in talks on cuts.
The oil trend is still fluctuating. According to Claudio Descalzi, Eni CEO, although the cost per barrel suffers decided fluctuations, the price remains in continuous ascent: "It grow up by 33-34 dollars per barrel and reached 50 and this is combined with the fact that the offer, then the production, was down compared with the demand. "
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