Using Ireland to launder money.

Money laundering, it’s a thing you only see in TV crime dramas right? Well to be honest no. It is one of the most widely committed crimes around. It also has quite a broad spectrum. The other side the coin is often not seen as a crime it even sounds petty doesn’t it? Laundering money! Everyone does the laundry right?

It is way more complex at the higher end of the scale and the crime is complicated by other crimes’ ill gotten gains. For example if you had someone pass you a tenner and you discovered it was dodgy in some way, say counterfeit maybe. Well by law you should hand it in but what you will probably do because you cannot afford to lose the tenner, because the bank will take it off you without recompense, is pass it off yourself. Why should you be out of pocket? That is money laundering.

The TV channels are awash with various narco and South American drug gang stories all featuring money laundering on a huge scale. “Ozark” is a particularly good example of the, albeit scripted, kind of lengths that money launderers go to. Another example is Queen of the South, beautiful narcotic delivering money laundering show it looks so easy and fun too. It is as someone said recently like alchemy, you take cash earned from a criminal activity, push it through some kind of process that makes the money now seemingly from a legitimate source. It is a huge problem for criminals especially in jurisdictions where regulations are tight but where they are light and law enforcement isn’t quite so heavy it is easy to wash your laundry.

Ireland is becoming a country where it is suspected money laundering is on a big scale in fact no one knows how much dirty cash is running through the country. Chinese restaurants were recently raided and €1m was seized all from small time drug dealers.

So how do they do it? Some dealers are getting relatives to swap old dirty money at the bank for clean notes. Criminals are financing businesses like Barber shops where cash receipts prove they shave and pamper hundreds of men a month. You do the math.

Hours x Customers x Price = €

(7hrs)  x (30 mins/pc) 14 x  €20 = €280 per day or €7,840 pm.

That alone in 28 days is 392 haircuts. Fancy opening a barber shop there are quite a few around these days. Restaurants are also full every night of the week did you know that?

These operations are only washing hundreds of thousands not hundreds of millions. These people invest as much of their dirty cash as they can so they can generate money to pay tax on. One cartel in Ireland has an estimated 1billion in assets. They have so much the authorities cannot tell what is legit and what is illicit.

Ireland is increasingly being used by foreign intelligence services, Russian kleptocrats and international terrorist organisations to deposit money. Hundreds of millions have been laundered through Dublin. Last year the US authorities alleged $300m (€270m) from a cryptocurrency scam was laundered through accounts held at the Bank of Ireland in Dublin. The scam involved the sale of OneCoin, a worthless cryptocurrency, which was sold to investors around the world in what amounted to a Ponzi scheme.

Russia’s kleptocrats and intelligence services have also used Ireland as a destination for lodging stolen or illicit capital. 

Russian officials are claimed by the a U.S. businessman to have transferred €3.5m stolen from his company into the Irish banking system. All part of a fraud of €203m laundered through shell companies in the B.V. Islands and other offshore havens including Switzerland €3.5m was finally deposited in Ireland. Apparently they stopped arguing, Ireland that is once he provided evidence of the transactions. Everything was discovered and to date nothing has been done.