Investigation – the act of

A few years back, there was this survey about job satisfaction. Teachers came in relatively high whereas compliance professionals ranked rather lowly.

It is quite reflective I suppose. Being in compliance is like being ‘everyone’s enemy’ so said a friend (then from banking). Of the people I have spoken to outside of the job specialisation, only a female homemaker declared her support for stringent anti-money laundering measures. In that regard, she probably has more moral courage than many of us.

I myself am not in the role.

But what I produce here, I hope that it would encourage. A guilty party be it the perpetrator of a Ponzi scam or thief (or whatever other areas like the person who sexually harasses people at the workplace) may sometimes behave aggressively when investigated or confronted. This is based on my trainer’s investigating experience (the diploma in Anti-Money Laundering) and my own experience when I confronted someone upon his offence.

Take heart and push on — because it is all a facade. The person at that moment is putting in one last desperate stand; the act and the whole charade would fall like a house of cards when the evidence is presented.

At times, to reach what is right, we simply have to do what we have to…

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Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Kidney Dialysis Foundation. (Jan-Mar 2016). KDF Link. Singapore. p.8.

UTI is claimed to be the infection with the second highest incidence in women. (The first is the common flu). It is caused by bacteria. These bacteria from the anus attach themselves to the genital areas. The bacteria most often found is Escherichia coli (E. Coli).

Typically, ‘uncomplicated’ UTI (usually non-hospital setting) fall into two types:

  • Acute cystitis which impacts the bladder
  • Acute pyelonephritis which moves deeper and impacts the kidney(s)

[Dividends] -The Forbes CFA Institute…

Timeless Principles for Building Wealth. (2011). Hoboken. John Wiley & Sons.

Authors: Vahan Janjigian, Stephen M. Horan, Charles Trzcinka.

Points to note

  • Duration of dividend without disruption.
  • How much dividend was handed out during downturns?
  • Have dividends increased, decreased or plateaued?
  • The dividend yield (dividend divided by stock price) in comparison other investment alternatives.
  • Payment ratio out of the total ‘earnings’ (does this mean the top line i.e. total revenue?); and if it can last.

Should one be able to combine this (and all other relevant knowledge on dividend investing) with the selection of a socially responsible and viable company, perhaps it can truly form a long term source of income…

Money Laundering and (not or) Tax Evasion

A review – J. C. Sharman. (2011). The Money Laundry: Regulating Criminal Finance in the Global Economy. New York. Cornell University Press. The author ‘…is Professor in the Centre for Governance and Public Policy, Griffith University.’

Reading the book jogged my memory about the International Compliance Association Diploma in Anti Money Laundering (AML) completed a few years back. I took it over a couple of years so I experienced its evolution to include more focus on tax evasion.

Well, it was incredulous to find on p.32 that Swiss law does not necessarily treat tax evasion as a criminal offence but merely an administrative issue. You can cross reference the details at this Transparency International (Switzerland) page. {with the following definitions – Tax Fraud n. [effort to reduce the amount of tax payable by means of a false declaration of income], a criminal offence. Tax Evasion n. [the taxpayer ‘forgets’ to declare part of his/her income], a violation of the law subject to administrative sanctions}.

Though AML systems can aid the fight against tax evasion, in the (roughly) ten years before 2011, they were largely not utilised. (p.32) There was however a sudden spike in tax information sharing (during 2009/10) as terrorist financing; tax evasion; and money laundering became seen in the same light. Yet, it appears those efforts were not truly effective. The recent expose by the so called Panama Papers (leaked documents from the law firm Mossack Fonseca) has just led to the resignation of Iceland’s Prime Minister. Likewise, the Indonesian government was considering on 6 April, the idea of luring back tax revenues (see the video on Channel Newsasia) by offering lower tax rates for evaders…

The ‘…most common international tax evasion is holding share portfolios in the name of foreign shell companies to avoid capital tax gains…'(p.91); and unfortunately it is the US which leads the pack in generating these shell companies at 2 million a year. (p.72)

Kate Canino. (2011). How Trade Deficits work. New York. Rosen Publishing.

Some notes…

(p.28). A (trade) deficit, in fact, reflects US strength since Americans can buy more products than the countries they do business with.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (1994) between the US, Canada and Mexico, according to Canino created nearly 40 million jobs in the US.

However, for the Mexican farmers, millions became unemployed as US farms (e.g. corn and beef) put them in the red. (p. 44). There has been an influx of immigrants, significant portion illegal, into the US. (That is why current US presidential hopeful, Donald Trump, wants to a build a wall to lock out the Mexicans).

Now let us put this in place with (p. 16). Walmart, the retailer, who takes in 600,000 fresh workers per year. Yet the turnover is 44% (near the retail sector average!) It has 1.2 million employees globally.  It has 35 Walmart Supercenters in China. (At the time of this post, Walmart has 337 Supercenters there). In addition, it has a domestic customer flow of 400 million each month; standing for 8% of internal retail sales excluding automobiles. It gives different hourly pay in regions. It is $11.20 in Austin, Texas while in other metropolitan areas (population 50 thousand or more) the average is $10.38.

Now to trade relations with China. Is there a valid fear of reliance on low cost Chinese imports?

  • US-China trade volume = 2.4 billion (1979)
  • From 1985, China’s exports to the US experienced annual increase
  • China entered the World Trade Organisation (2001)
  • Trade volume was 211.6 billion (2005) and China is the largest business partner/export destination
  • Main Chinese exports to the US are office/telecommunications equipment (p.46)

For Canadians, this is bad news. The US demand for goods has shifted to Chinese imports. This is compounded by the weaker US Dollar resulting in further reduced US purchases. (Economist Douglas Porter of BMO Capital Markets, stated that Canada had in the past decades enjoyed ‘ravenous U.S. demand’).

[SMA News – Feb 2016] 3 Signs a child is suffering from Sexual Abuse

The following is (mostly) a summary on the above article from the Singapore Medical Association publication (p.5-7). It was written by Eirliani Abdul Rahman. (She won BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Award in 2015 and maintained entries on the The Huffington Post, India).

Child sexual abuse (CSA, which counts incest as a subset), has various potential impacts. In the immediate timeframe, there is risk of:

‘…fearfulness, acute stress disorder, hostility and aggression, depression, low self-esteem, guilt and shame, eating and sleeping disorders, acting out, cognitive disability, developmental delay and inappropriate sexual behaviour.

Consequently, in the long run, the adult inclinations exhibited possibly are:

  • emotional shutdown/lockdown
  • self punishment emotionally and physically
  • addictions
  • bulimia/anorexia
  • being perturbed around children due to confusion about what constitutes proper physical contact

Doctors may be the first to discover such abuse and affirm the child (as the non-offending) adult in the event of disclosure of the abuse. It could then prevent aggravation of the earlier mentioned outcomes.

How the abuse happens is when the adult gets close to the target such as through common interests. This could take up to years. Gradually, the offender crosses different stages from sexual jokes, playing, then to ‘accidentally’ touching the child to achieve desensitisation (or also in my interpretation Pavlovian conditioning). (Apparently), it is not rare for abusers to explicitly inform the children they are to blame for causing the abuse.

One indicator is physically on the body:

  • bleeding, swelling, itching in genitals
  • trouble in standing/walking
  • repeated yeast/urinary tract infections
  • stained/bloody/torn underwear

Another relates to actions:

  • bed wetting at age 11 i.e. going back to younger days (‘regression’)
  • sexual information beyond age group generalisations (typically, a child up to 4 years could display interest in private parts; while from 5 to 9, there is discussion about the private areas but the child has comprehension that the areas are restricted to him/herself or appropriate persons; then puberty etc.)

Finally:

  • abrupt withdrawal/seclusion
  • fear of family member/friend/specific person
  • weight gain/loss
  • bathe unnecessarily/ remain dirty
  • self multilation
  • night terrors
  • avoid physical contact

The doctor involved has the option to verify the abuse with guardian/parent(s). This is precluded if the carers are the suspects. The medical professional has then to check with the child. The author mentions it is imperative to ‘respect what your child patient wants you to do…’ and ‘…first explain to the child any decisions that you make.’

If the decision of the child is to expose the abuse, the parent(s)/guardian(s), assuming they are the innocent parties, need to be informed. Contact with the offender(s) is to be cut off.

The doctor can thereafter report to the Child Protective Service Helpline: 1800-777 0000 (or as directed by the Ministry of Social and Family Development, the Police Divisional HQ or the nearest Neighbourhood Police Post).

Money laundering and the Bangladesh Central Bank cyber heist

I guess the Channel Newsasia article <Philippines recovers US$4.63 million stolen from Bangladesh> (31 Mar 2016) rings many bells. A grand US$81 million of Bangladeshi money was hacked and transferred to a Philippines bank. Then it was handed to two local casinos (one of which was Solaire). Politician (Senator) ‘Ralph Recto said as much as US$34 million… could be recovered.’ In effect, nearly 50% of the loot was meant for cleaning by the casinos. The organisations are choice laundering vehicles because checks on their money flows had to approved by the courts. Arguably in some cases, by the time the order comes in, the money would have long gone…

Another dark side to financial globalisation…

See also with regards to tax evasion, the wildly popular Japanese drama series <Hanzawa Naoki>:

To understand the popularity of the genre, is in a sense to understand Japan, according to writer and lecturer in modern literature, Marika Nagai of Temple University. “The Japanese business novel is a micro[cosm] of all the anxieties and questions that Japanese people have,” she says.] . (18 Dec 2015). Japan’s curious passion for the business novel. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35125739. Tokyo. BBC Magazine.

Gavin J. Blair. (24 Sep 2013). Season Finale of Show About Bankers Draws Japan’s Highest Drama Ratings in 30 Years. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/season-finale-show-bankers-draws-635399. The Hollywood Reporter.