October 13, 2018

Danish BDS-Supporting Bank Behind Vast Money-Laundering Scheme

Besa center

By Dr. Manfred GerstenfeldOctober 12, 2018

Danske Bank building at Kongens Nytorv, Copenhagen, Denmark, photo by Thorfinn Stainforth via Wikimedia Commons

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 973, October 12, 2018

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Denmark’s largest bank, Danske Bank, has admitted that its Estonian banking subsidiary has been involved in what is probably the largest dirty money-laundering scandal in Europe’s history. In recent years, this deeply corrupt bank has boycotted several Israeli companies on “ethical grounds.” Israel should use the Danske Bank case as a key example of fraudulent anti-Israeli moralists. Revelations from further investigations into the bank’s misbehavior will likely result in many additional disclosures in years to come.

Somewhat surprisingly, Denmark has provided an example of a huge, morally corrupt, anti-Israel, BDS-promoting body. It was far more probable for such an organization to come to light in Norway or Sweden, where there are many more anti-Israel inciters.

It has recently become known that Denmark’s largest banking group, Danske Bank, has been involved for years in a vast dirty money-laundering scandal. This criminal activity was conducted by its subsidiary in Estonia between 2007 and 2015. The amount of money transferred abroad and being currently investigated is a staggering $234 billion. The bank estimates that a significant proportion of these payments was suspect.

Fifteen thousand accounts were reviewed. Of these, 6,200 had the most risk factors. The customers involved were primarily Russians and other Eastern Europeans non-resident in Estonia.

To carry out this scheme, Danske Bank’s subsidiary needed the help of major foreign banking correspondents. It has not yet been ascertained to what extent those banks were aware of what was going on. Yet, in 2013, JP Morgan terminated its correspondent banking relationship with the Estonian bank over doubts about its activities. It was replaced by Bank of America. Deutsche Bank also continued to make US dollar wire transfers on behalf of the Estonian bank.

In 2014, when Danske Bank had already received warnings about the unethical activities in its Estonian business, it decided to add Bank Hapoalim to a list of companies in which it could not invest due to its corporate accountability rules. The bank claimed that the exclusion was for “legal and ethical reasons.” Danske Bank said Bank Hapoalim was funding settlement activities and was “acting against the rules of international humanitarian law.” Danske Bank had also withdrawn its investments from the Israeli companies Africa Israel Investments Ltd., Elbit Systems, Aryt, and Danya Cebus.

The boycott of Bank Hapoalim was not without consequences for Danske Bank. Several states in the US, including Colorado and New Jersey, ceased doing business with the bank and/or sold their investments in it. In 2016, Danske Bank reversed its decision concerning Bank Hapoalim.

A year ago, the British daily The Guardianrevealed that, based on leaked data, Azerbaijan’s leadership had used the bank to fund a secret $2.9 billion scheme to pay prominent Europeans through a network of British companies. The paper claimed that between 2012 and 2014, more than 16,000 covert payments were transacted through Danske Bank’s branch in Estonia. Part of this money appears to have been passed on to politicians and journalists within a lobbying operation framework.

The scheme was nicknamed “the Azerbaijan Laundromat.” Among those receiving payments were former members of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly, as well as a board member of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

It has not been proven that all recipients knew the source of the money as it was disguised via intermediaries. Still, what was disclosed at the time was enormously shameful. But in view of what is now public knowledge about the extent of the money-laundering scandal, it is minor.

Danske Bank’s CEO, Thomas F. Borgen, recently tendered his resignation but said he would stay on until a suitable successor was found. He has since been ousted by the Board. A report on the scandal was prepared by a Danish law firm that had previously advised the bank – a choice that was criticized due to that prior relationship.

The report outlines how incompetent and negligent Danske Bank’s management was. It states inter alia that no adequate controls were put in place by the bank of its Estonian branch. Nor did it react to serious indications of wrongdoing over the years. There are also suspicions that some employees in Estonia assisted in the money laundering or colluded with clients.

Although the scandal has reached gigantic proportions, the full extent of its repercussions have not yet been fully exposed. Many more ramifications will take time to investigate. The UK National Crime Agency announced that it has begun an inquiry into the use of UK companies by the Danske Bank group involved in money laundering activities. The organization Corruption Watch has requested that serious consideration be given to withdrawing the bank’s UK license.

Danske Bank’s money-laundering activities are probably the largest in European history. Danish Business Minister Rasmus Jarlov said he expected Danish authorities to fine Danske Bank the equivalent of more than $600 million. Analysts expect that the bank may also be fined billions of dollars by US and European regulators. There are already voices urging the bank’s Board to assess whether management breached its fiduciary responsibilities and can be held liable. If so, they should be sued.

Israel is subjected to a constant barrage of extreme hate propaganda and discrimination by morally corrupt individuals and organizations. If Israel had, as it should have, an anti-propaganda agency, the Danske Bank scandal could be used as a prime example of fraudulent ethics. This case would be all the more useful as revelations from further investigations into the bank’s misbehavior will likely result in many additional disclosures in years to come.

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Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ is a Senior Research Associate at the BESA Center and a former chairman of the Steering Committee of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He specializes in IsraeliWestern European relations, anti-Semitism, and anti-Zionism, and is the author of The War of a Million Cuts.

BESA Center Perspectives Papers are published through the generosity of the Greg Rosshandler Family

సి.బి.ఐ.మాజీ.జే.డీ.లక్ష్మీనారాయణ* గారు (19.09.2018) మచిలీపట్నం లో ముఖాముఖీ కార్యక్రమం లో ఓ కధ చెప్పార

గారు (19.09.2018) మచిలీపట్నం లో ముఖాముఖీ కార్యక్రమం లో ఓ కధ చెప్పారు.

ఒక ఊరిలో ఓ రైతు ఉన్నాడు.
అతనికో ఇల్లు వుంది.
ఆ రైతు తనతో పాటు ఒక కోడిని ఒక మేకను పెంచుకుంటున్నాడు.
ఆ ఇంట్లో ఒక ఎలుక కూడా తిరుగుతుండేది.
ఆ ఊరిలోనే గ్రామస్థుల అవసరాలకు ఒక చెరువు వుంది.
దానిలో ఒక మొసలి నివాసం వుంటుంది.
కొన్నాళ్ళ తరువాత ఆ రైతు కి వివాహమై బార్య కాపురానికి వచ్చింది.
ఆవిడకి ఆ ఇంట్లో ఎలుక తిరగడం నచ్చలేదు.
ఆ విషయమే భర్తకి చెప్పింది.
ఎలుకను చంపడానికి బోను తీసుకురమ్మని చెప్పింది.
మరుసటి రోజే రైతు ఓ ఎలుకల బోను తీసుకొచ్చి ఇంట్లో పెట్టాడు.
జరిగిన తతంగాన్ని చూసిన ఎలుక భయపడింది.
ఎలాగైనా ఈ సమస్య నుండి బయటపడటానికి ఏదో ఒకటి చేయాలి అనుకుంది.
మందుగా కోడి దగ్గరకు వెళ్ళి ఇలా అడిగింది.
*నేను ఇంతవరకూ ఈ రైతుకి ఏ విధమైన నష్టం కలిగించే పని చెయ్యలేదు. ఏదో నా మానాన నేను బతుకుతున్నాను. ఇక మీదట కూడా వారి జోలికి రాను. నన్ను చంపవద్దని చెప్పు.*
అని ప్రాధేయపడి అడిగింది.
దానికి ఆ కోడి చిద్విలాసంగా...
*అది నీ వ్యక్తిగత విషయం. దానితో నాకేమిటి సంబంధం. నీ సమస్య నువ్వే పరిష్కరించుకో...*
అని సమాధానం చెప్పింది.

అప్పుడు ఆ ఎలుక మేకని ఆశ్రయించి అడిగింది.
దానికి ఆ మేక కూడా...
*అది నీ సమస్య...*
*దానిని నువ్వే సరిచేసుకోవాలి* *నాకు సంబంధంలేదు*
అని బదులిచ్చింది.

చేసేదేమీ లేక ఎలుక చివరిగా చెరువు దగ్గరకు వెళ్ళి మొసలిని కూడా అడిగింది ..
*ఎలాగైనా రైతుని ఒప్పించి నన్ను కాపాడు. నేను ఏ పొరపాటు చెయ్యను*
అని అడిగింది.
అప్పుడు ఆ మొసలి కూడా
*నాకు సంబంధం లేదంటూ...*
అలాగే మాట్లాడింది.

ఏదయితే అదే జరుగుతుందిలే అనుకుని ఎలుక తిరిగి ఇంటికి వచ్చేసింది.
ఆ రాత్రి ప్రొద్దుపోయాక పెద్ద శబ్దంతో బోను తలుపు మూసకుంది.
వెంటనే రైతు బార్య ఎలుక చిక్కింది అనుకుంటూ చీకట్లో తడుముకుంటూ బోను దగ్గరకు వెళ్ళింది.
కానీ... దానిలో దూరింది ఎలుక కాదు.
అది ఓ పాము.
ఆవిడ దగ్గరకు రాగానే అది ఆమెను చేతి మీద  కాటేసింది.
ఆవిడ అరుపుకి అందరూ లేచి వచ్చారు.
ఆమెను ఓ మంచం మీద పెట్టి డాక్టర్ ని పిలుచుకొచ్చారు.
ట్రీట్మెంట్ మొదలైంది.
రోజులు గడుస్తున్నాయి.
అందరూ వచ్చి పలకరించి వెళుతున్నారు.
చుట్టాలు రావటం మొదలైంది.
ఇలా కొన్ని రోజులు గడిచాయి.
వైద్యం జరుగుతూనే ఉంది.
వచ్చిన చుట్టాలకి మర్యాదలు చేయటానికి ఓ రోజు ఆ రైతు తను పెంచుకున్న కోడిని కోసి వండి పెట్టాడు.
*ఎలుక మాత్రం అక్కడే వుంది.*
మరికొన్ని రోజులు గడిచాయి.
వైద్యం జరుగుతోంది.
చుట్టాలు ఇంకా ఎక్కువ మంది వచ్చారు.
వారి కోసమని ఆ రైతు మేకని కోసి ఫలావు చేసి పెట్టాడు.
*ఎలుక మాత్రం ఇంకా ఆ ఇంట్లో తిరుగుతూనే వుంది.*
వైద్యం జరుగుతుంది. కానీ ఆమె కోలుకోలేదు.
లాభం లేదని పొరుగూరు నుండి మరో వైద్యుడిని పిలిపించారు.
ఆ వైద్యుడు ఆమెను చూసి...
మరేమీ పర్వాలేదు.
నేను ఈమెను బ్రతికిస్తాను.
కానీ... వైద్యానికి నాకు మొసలి రక్తం కావాలి అన్నాడు.
దానితో అందరూ వెళ్ళి చెరువులో ఉన్న మొసలిని పట్టుకుని చంపి దాని రక్తం తీసుకొచ్చి వైద్యునికి ఇచ్చారు.
రైతు భార్యకి నయమైంది.

*కోడి చచ్చింది.*
*మేక కూడా చచ్చింది.*
*చివరికి మొసలీ చచ్చింది.*
*కానీ... ఆ ఎలుక మాత్రం అక్కడే వుంది.*

*మన సమాజమూ ఇలాగే ఉంది*

*ఎవరికి వారే నాకేమిటి సంబంధం అనుకుంటే....*

*చివరికి వారు కూడా.....!!!!!!*

Quarterly Axios Future Trends


Axios Trends By Mike Allen ·Oct 13, 2018

Welcome back to our quarterly Axios Future Trends, where our subject-matter experts give you an exclusive lookahead. I'd love to hear what you think: Just reply to this email, or write mike@axios.com.

  1 big thing: Here come the robotaxis

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios


By year's end, anyone in metro Phoenix (not just a handful of early participants) will be able to summon an autonomous vehicle from Waymo using an app on their phone. The nation’s first commercial robo-taxi service will be limited to certain areas, but the territory will gradually expand as the cars get even smarter with experience.

Why it matters: Waymo is by far the leader in autonomous vehicle technology, racking up 10 million miles of real-world driving and 5 billion simulated miles. But it’s still up to the public to decide if they want self-driving cars. Waymo’s robo-taxi service will be an early test of that question.

What we’re watching: It’s unlikely we’ll see any movement on federal legislation around AVs this year, unless Congress decides to tackle it during a lame duck session after the November election, which means companies will continue to focus their development efforts in states with the most favorable laws. — Joann Muller

Sign up for Joann's weekly newsletter on autonomous vehicles here.

     Tech: Big Tech prepares for privacy rules

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios


After years of urging regulatorsto leave them be, Silicon Valley companies are gearing up for new rules, especially around privacy. The industry's focus has shifted from fending off regulation to helping craft something palatable.

What tech companies would like in return for federal legislation is to see states prohibited from passing their own rules. California has already passed a strict privacy law, set to take effect in 2020, adding additional incentive for tech companies to come to the table on federal legislation.

The rub: Some observers fear that rules protecting user privacy could inadvertently entrench large players. Big companies can build in cost of compliance, while upstarts can find adhering to complex rules prohibitive.

The model: Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is one possibility. While many tech companies didn't initially love the rules, they're a known quantity that the industry already has to deal with.That said: A recent Senate hearing indicated that the tech giants will take any chance they get to influence lawmakers to create rules that are more industry-friendly — that is, weaker — than Europe's or California's. — Ina Fried

Sign up for Ina's daily tech newsletter Login here.

     Politics: The Trump election

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios


Like everything in our lives these days, the midterms on Nov. 6 (just 24 shopping days away) are all about President Trump:

Trump wants the elections to be about Trump, and makes that plain in the mad rush of rallies heading into voting day. The gender gap is off the charts wide — due to Trump.

The House is virtually certain to flip to Democrats for two reasons: insanely high turnout and fundraising among liberals — all in reaction to Trump — and suburban woman snubbing the GOP, also because of Trump. 

Nancy Pelosi is highly likely to then become Speaker, again thanks to Trump. A record number of women will have run, voted and won. It’s hard to see women denying a woman the speakership, especially in the Trump era.Kevin McCarthy is highly likely to lead the House GOP post-election, in part because of his tight relationship with Trump — plus his embrace of the Trump border wall and immigration strategy. 

The Senate, on the other hand, looks better and better for Republicans to hold. Why? Trump!

The rural voters who will decide Senate races from North Dakota to Tennessee love Trump — and his us-against-them rallying cry during and after the Brett Kavanaugh hearings.

Be smart: Regardless of the outcome of the House and Senate, it will be all about Trump’s wall in the lame duck, Trump’s impeachment after that, and Trump’s reelection campaign in 2020. —Mike Allen

Subscribe free to "Axios AM: Mike's Top 10," our 7-day-a-week day-starter, and Jonathan Swan's weekly Washington lookahead "Sneak Peek" here.



What exactly gives cryptocurrencies value?  

With more than 1,000 cryptocurrencies in circulation, what really makes money, money? Find out how one region in the U.S. answers that question–and the implications for digital dollars worldwide.

Read more.

  Health: Trump test for the ACA

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios


The politics and substantive rules of the road for the Affordable Care Act are more stable now than they have been in years. But chaos is never far away.

What to watch: The upcoming ACA enrollment season, which starts Nov. 1, will be the first one with the Trump administration’s agenda fully in place, and it will test just how effective that agenda is.

For the first time, the ACA’s individual mandate won’t be in effect, and consumers will actually be able to the buy cheaper, skimpier insurance plans the Trump administration has been positioning as an alternative to ACA coverage.Insurers don’t like some of these changes on the merits. But they’ve known all this was coming, and generally feel they have a pretty good handle on how badly these policies will affect the market for ACA coverage. The next enrollment window will tell them whether they guessed correctly.

This period of relative certainty could come undone in court.

The very early tea leavessuggest that the latest legal challenge to the ACA might have more legs than legal experts initially thought.The red states leading that lawsuit want the courts to strike down the entire law; the Trump administration wants them to only strike down protections for pre-existing conditions. Either outcome would plunge health care back into policy and political chaos.

The bottom line: We’re either adjusting to the new normal, or in the calm before the storm. A federal judge in Texas and a six-week enrollment period will tell us which. — Sam Baker

Sign up for Sam's daily Vitals newsletter here.

     Future: The populist tide keeps rising

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios


The more advanced economieshad thought the forces of globalization — ever-opening trade and the free movement of people — were inexorable. 

Instead, they have been overwhelmed by the forces of tribal identity — a feeling across the West of a loss of stature, self-dignity, and power over your own destiny. In country after country,look for the populist wave to go on for decades. And when they are played out, look for the West to be a very different world, although it's difficult to discern even the outlines of what may be coming. 

Bottom line: People are angry at their establishment leaders, their institutions, and immigrants. Brazil, Latvia and Serbia are the latest to vote for nationalist leaders promising to kick out the scoundrels. — Steve LeVine

Sign up for Steve's daily AxiosFuture newsletter here.

     World: South America in a storm

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios


Brazil appears poised to elect Jair Bolsonaro — a longtime backbencher who has spoken fondly of military rule and was best known until recently for his penchant for racist, sexist and homophobic comments — as its next president.

Bolsonaro’s campaign has been fueled by anger over crime, corruption and a sputtering economy. But the fury isn’t contained to Brazil:

Venezuela’s economic, political and humanitarian crisis has generated an exodus of some 4 million people. The migrant crisis rivals Syria’s, and it’s placing a huge burden on the country’s neighbors. So dire is the situation inside Venezuela, meanwhile, that foreign military intervention is being discussed in earnest.Colombia has taken in at least 2 million Venezuelans, exacerbating a tense political situation there. A peace deal polarized the electorate, Coca production is at an all-time high and Iván Duque, the country’s new president, has his work cut out for him.Argentina is attempting to claw its way out of a currency crisis. A recession looms and that has undercut the popularity of President Mauricio Macri, a centrist. His predecessor and political rival, though, might be headed to prison.

What to watch: As we've seen from the massive corruption scandals that have reached across borders and affected much of the continent over the past few years, South America’s politics are deeply intertwined. Things tend to unfold in waves. Right now, they’re heading in the wrong direction. — David Lawler

Sign up for David's bi-weekly World newsletter by clicking here.

     Business: Next phase of the China trade war

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios


U.S. tariffs on around $200 billion in Chinese imports are set to jump to 25% on Jan. 1, up from the 10% implemented last month.

That works out to around $30 billion in new taxes to be paid by U.S. importers, many of whom will pass at least some of the costs on to U.S. consumers.

Be smart: Economics differ on the degree to which increased tariffs will affect things like GDP, corporate earnings, and inflation, but few of the predictions are broadly cataclysmic.

The bigger wildcard is how China will respond. Trump, buoyed by his self-described trade successes with Canada and Mexico, is unlikely to back down before January.

If Republicans continue to run Congress, Trump will maintain free reign on trade, even if it violates traditional GOP orthodoxy.If Democrats gain power, trade may be one area where they largely agree with the White House.

China cannot simply apply 25% tariffs to an equal amount of U.S. imports, because they don't total $200 billion. Other possible options (and, no, this is not an exhaustive list):

Devalue the yuan, thus turning them into the currency manipulator Trump already says they are.Severely restrict Chinese tourism to the U.S., which generated $33 billion in 2016.Sell down its trillion dollar-plus stockpile of U.S. Treasury bills, or stop buying new ones. Either one could possibly increase U.S. government borrowing costs.Make it much more difficultfor U.S. businesses to operate in China, well beyond current concerns about IP theft and requirements that U.S. tech companies form joint ventures with local partners.

The bottom line: Trump has made America’s policy known. China’s response will determine if this becomes a full-blown trade war. — Dan Primack

Sign up for Dan's daily deals newsletter Axios Pro Rata here and Felix Salmon's weekly business lookahead Axios Edge here.

     Science: Brain science, Earth science and astronauts

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios


Cutting-edge developments in neuroscience could come out of a major conference taking place in early November. Scientists have been making gains in everything from understanding addiction to designing treatments to help re-establish brain-body connections, allowing people to use limbs that they had lost to amputations or spinal cord injuries.

The world's top Earth scientists will meet in Washington in December to present the latest on everything from the future of our climate to a future mission to Mars. Lots of news will come out of this conference, from research into what may have caused the monstrous fire tornado that struck Redding, California in July, to what NASA's Cassini spacecraft learned about Saturn's rings during its recent mission.

SpaceX and Boeing will also be moving closer to the first uncrewed tests of their spacecraft that will eventually take NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

This work has taken on a new urgency after the aborted Russian rocket launch to the Space Station on Oct. 11.That incident has left the U.S. with no human spaceflight capability for at least a few months, pending an investigation.  — Andrew Freedman

Sign up for Andrew's weekly Science newsletter here.

     Cybersecurity: A new U.S. cyber strategy

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios


The new cybersecurity strategyunveiled last month by the Department of Defense emphasizes agility, strength, and the ability to disrupt cyberattacks by hacking the attackers. In the coming months, we'll start to learn whether that makes the U.S. more secure, the world more chaotic, or both.

The new strategy undoes Obama-era rules that required intra-agency discussions before cyber interventions and lowers the threshold for what warrants a response from U.S. hackers.

Proponents of the strategy believe that the United States needs to raise the cost for foreign hackers to strike American targets, and the current toolkit lacks a military option less extreme than war. In part, the idea is to show U.S. cyber power in an attempt to bolster security.

The risks:

Responding to cyberattacks can escalate conflicts. Nations may feel like they have to respond to a challenge or may interpret what the U.S. considers a defensive move as part of a larger attack.For the U.S. to respond to attacks nimbly, it will have to develop footholds in enemy networks in advance, and that risks exposure. — Joe Uchill

Sign up for Joe's bi-weekly cybersecurity newsletter AxiosCodebook here.

October 08, 2018

Announcing the new Issues.org site



Announcing the new Issues site

Your source for the best writing on policy related to science, technology, and medicine just got a lot better. 

We've totally redesigned the website for Issues in Science and Technology, improving just about everything at Issues.org to make it more attractive, more current, more useful, and more fun to explore. Here are a few new features you’ll want to check out:

Art galleries. The print edition of Issues features artwork related to the topics addressed in the articles or that uses technology in innovative ways in the creative process. Thanks to the generous permission of the artists, we are now able to include much of their work online. We begin by including from the Fall 2018 edition the work of painter William Utermohlen, which reflects the changes occurring as he developed Alzheimer’s disease. We’ve added a few more galleries from earlier editions and will be adding more galleries—like the work of Julie Anand and Damon Sauer, featured in the header of this email—in the future.

Explore by topic/issue. We’ve made it simple to explore entire past issues, which often contain special sections that include a mix of articles that approach a single topic from a variety of perspectives. You can also find a number of articles on any given topic to make it easy to see how our knowledge and understanding of a specific area has evolved over time.

News updates. Almost every day you can find stories in the popular press that touch on the science, technology, and health policy topics that are examined in Issues. Our news updates will alert you to current debates about these topics and will provide links to Issues articles in which experts explain the underlying science and policy in more detail.

Frequent new material. The only way to see all the articles as soon as they are published is to become a subscriber to the print edition, but over time we do make all the articles available for free. We will be upping the pace at which we post new features, perspectives, and book reviews. We hope that you visit us regularly to see this new material and to read the news updates.

This is just a taste of what you will find. Please wander through the site on your own and check out the latest issue. And keep coming back. Our new platform will enable us to post more art, more videos, and more additional material, so the site will continue to improve.

Our goal is to make the site more accessible, more enjoyable, and more helpful to you. Please let us know if you like the changes and if you have suggestions for further improvements.

—Kevin Finneran, Editor-in-Chief