ACAMS moneylaundering.com recently spoke with officials from the FBI's kleptocracy squad about the unparalleled cooperation and inevitable difficulties in following the money.
The United States is seeking $70.8 million in assets held by Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, a son of the government minister of Equatorial Guinea accused of corruption and money laundering.
Three intergovernmental groups are questioning the effectiveness of anti-money laundering controls meant to curb abuses of corrupt political figures who steal from their countries.
Despite public rhetoric about freezing the assets of corrupt dictators, less than three percent of the funds stolen by kleptocrats are ever returned to looted countries, according to Steffen Binder, co-founder of My Private Banking, a research and networking Web site for clients of private banks.
Dramatic changes to the Arab world's political landscape will mean broad reassessments by U.S. financial institutions of compliance risks in the region, according to bank officials.
An ousted Tunisian leader's transfer of suspect funds into Western bank accounts highlights the pitfalls financial institutions face when they maintain relationships for foreign political leaders, say analysts.
The United Nations and World Bank estimate that $45 billion a year is lost to corruption, which contributes to poverty, disease and environmental destruction, according to Jack Smith of the Caux Roundtable, a group that will try to recover pilfered assets when it launches in January.
At least four international banks with operations in the United States are in negotiations with the Chilean government to repatriate as much as $40 million tied to former dictator Augusto Pinochet, an attorney involved with the case confirmed Friday.
Former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor kept nearly $5 billion in two U.S. bank accounts during his presidency, the BBC reported Friday.