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Banking Transactions: Your Banker and Hassle-free Offshore Banking Banking Transactions: Your Banker and Hassle-free Offshore Banking

Banking transactions:
Don't raise the red flags

Be your banker's new best friend,
or he'll turn to others

Survival in the new era of offshore suspicion
Unusual account activity: Are your transactions suspicious?
Be your banker's new best friend, or he'll turn to others
Funds in transit: Why they watch out for it
US dollar: The new tool of financial oppression?
Surveillance of financial transactions set to rise
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(Part 3 of 6)

Keeping your account officer on the right side of the fence is prerequisite for hassle-free banking.

with Alex Hanson

Providing an explanation for any "unusual" financial transaction beforehand -- before your banker starts wondering -- is essential if you wish to avoid being reported.

But it should not be a one-off matter. Those who enjoy hassle-free banking know that today's bankers need regular attention and frequent reassurance that account transactions fall within the guidelines set by the FATF.

Pay attention, stay in touch,
seize your opportunities

It is irrelevant how you keep your account officer informed, as long as you do it, and do it whenever an opportunity arises.

Don't just talk about amounts and account numbers. Talk about your business, your reasons, and your goals, and do it often. A number of short, casual remarks made at every possible opportunity, whether by phone, fax, or in person, work better than a long, manufactured presentation delivered at the odd formal meeting.

The key is to ensure that your account officer feels that you are interested in maintaining a good, long-term banking relationship. The key is to ensure that he feels comfortable knowing what you are doing.

Remember, others are telling him to be suspicious of everything you do. It's you against them, and he's in the middle.

Fail to keep him happy, and he'll turn to the other side in search of comfort. He will not be penalised if he reports an innocent person -- but he will lose his job or worse if he fails to spot a money launderer.

Fail to keep him happy, and he'll be clicking "Report" where he could have clicked "Cancel".

Computer software is now operational in most banks to aid in the detection of unusual account transactions. Unless you actually tell your banker otherwise, a legacy from a will, the repayment of a debt, the proceeds from a sale or any other legitimate but large or otherwise "unusual" remittance to an everyday account may trigger an automated alarm and you may be reported to your national Financial Intelligence Unit as a possible money launderer.

And once the automated STR gets sent, it might be too late to reverse the process of bureaucracy.

A closer look at your tax returns may follow. Your assets might get frozen. As a suspected wrongdoer, you might even be placed under police surveillance or have your telephone tapped. Assumed guilty until proven innocent, it will be up to you to produce the evidence that your money is of non-criminal origin.

Whatever the final outcome, your government will forever hold a file stating that you were once suspected of money laundering.

Now watching you -
whoever you are

You think this can't happen to you? Out of the tens of thousands of Suspicious Transaction Reports (STR) filed annually in the United States and the United Kingdom alone, less than one percent is actually found to relate to criminal activity. STR statistics for other countries are harder to come by but there is nothing to suggest that the figures are much different.

The number of apparently suspicious transactions reported is sure to rise in the coming years.

Even today, the size of transactions is not the only trigger that sets alarms. Sophisticated fuzzy systems are already in use that can analyse all manner of complex transaction patterns and detect apparent irregularities. (Searchspace and Mantas are the current two favourite suppliers of such software to banks heavily investing in the new technology.)

Less high-tech tools are also used to train your banker in his new job as an informant.

Bank employees receive guidance in the form of verbal presentations, and even printed manuals of instructions that explain how to not only spy on their customers, but also on their colleagues' lifestyles -- fast cars and fancy clothes being a sign that they may be the recipients of bribes! From time to time, such literature leaks out and provides a shocking insight into the obscene brainwashing that financial professionals are being subjected to.


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