Are the financial institutions capable of detecting criminal activity, as required by the regulations?
UBS whistle blower Bradley C. Birkenfeld, Director of Group Compliance Mirella Elisa Os Wassiluk (DNB) and NHH Professor Guttorm Schjelderup are speaking at an NHH conference on financial secrecy in March.
`We have invited Bradley C. Birkenfeld, the UBS banker who was the only whistleblower who had to go to prison for his involvement in tax evasion and later rewarded with a historic amount of USD 104 million due to his unprecedented information he provided to the IRS, SEC, DOJ and US Senate`.
General Conference Chair Tina Søreide is professor of Law and Economics at the Department of Accounting, Auditing and Law at NHH. On Tuesday March 17, Søreide is organizing the conference «Financial Secrecy and its Discontents».
Søreide is very pleased that Director of Group Compliance in DNB Mirella Elisa Os Wassiluk has accepted the invitation to give a presentation at the conference. Wassiluk has been Deputy director general in the Norwegian Ministry of Finance and has worked in Bayerische Landesbank and in the Norwegian Central Securities Depository.
Other speakers include:
- Guttorm Schjelderup: NHH Professor of economics and expert on tax and public economics (Department of Business and Management Science ) and Head of Norwegian Centre for Taxation
- Professor of criminology Nicholas Lord, University of Manchester
- Professor of Law and expert on economic crime Jon Petter Rui, UiT The Arctic University of Norway
- Senior Advisor Kari Heggstad, The Norwegian Tax Authorities
Søreide´s own research is focused on corruption, governance, markets and development. She has been engaged in policy work for the Norwegian Government and internationally, including for the OECD, the EU, the World Bank, development agencies and governments.
Registration deadline: Friday March 13. Click to Conference Registration.
In the last ten years a range of cases brought forward by investigative journalists have revealed how financial secrecy facilitates tax evasion, corruption, money laundering and terrorist financing.
Panama and Paradise papers
`We all remember cases like Panama papers, the Cum-Ex deals, and Paradise papers. Combine this with large corruption cases, like Lava Jato, the Odebrecht cases, the Rolls Royce case and money laundering cases, like the ones involving Danske Bank, we get a grim picture of how easily tax evasion, bribery and fraud can be part of apparently legitimate business`.
Such cases give rise to a range of questions, especially in view of the stricter financial reporting requirements introduced after the 2008-10 financial crises, Søreide says, as well as the ones following the EU Money Laundering Directive.
- Are the financial institutions capable of detecting criminal activity, as required by the regulations?
- Given ever more sophisticated forms of crime, do they – as well as enforcement agencies - know what features should be considered warning signs/red flags and trigger additional scrutiny?
- Could it be that some financial institutions are inclined to let suspicious transactions go through because of potential loss of profit if they report them?
- Or, could it be that the transactions they do report attract too little attention by oversight institutions, and thus, are allowed to continue?