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Weekly NewsWatch

A weekly round-up of industry news surrounding financial crime, money laundering and terrorist financing from South Africa and beyond.

Mandisa Ndletyana: Ex-Absa Bank manager part of trio sentenced for R1m credit card fraud scam
Former Absa Bank manager Mandisa Ndletyana and two accomplices have been sentenced for orchestrating a R1 million credit card fraud scheme involving trafficked individuals.
Cape Town counted among top five corrupt municipalities
Cape Town, Johannesburg and Tshwane collectively accounted for 71% of complaints related to corruption allegations out of five municipalities.
Panama Papers trial starts, 27 people charged in worldwide money laundering case
The Panama Papers include a collection of 11 million secret financial documents that illustrate how some of the world’s richest people hide their money.
Failing to prevent corruption is now a criminal offence in South Africa
A key recommendation from the State Capture Commission has now been enacted into law, which holds individuals criminally liable if they fail to prevent corruption.
Zambia uncovers 'sophisticated' Chinese cybercrime syndicate
A "sophisticated internet fraud syndicate" has been uncovered in Zambia, leading to the arrest of 77 people, including 22 Chinese nationals.
FSCA fines Coenraad Botha from CBI X R216 million and debars him
While Coenraad Botha is detained by the Namibian police, the FSCA imposed a fine of R216 million on him for taking unauthorised investments.
SARS maintains clampdown on rich, as 14 partners at Sandton law firm understated tax
The South African Revenue Service (SARS) continues to keep the wealthy in its crosshairs, with its focus also intensifying on nonprofit organisations.
Singapore hands down first conviction in $2.2 billion money laundering case
A defendant in Singapore’s biggest-ever money laundering case was sentenced to 13 months in prison, the first conviction for an investigation that grabbed headlines after billions in luxury properties, cars and gold bars were seized.
Secret briefings, money trails revealed as more Fort Hare officials and auditors appear in court
About R170m in fraudulent payments at the University of Fort Hare flowed towards and from the former director, Isaac Plaatjies, including the alleged purchase of a R1m house as a ‘pay-off’.
Alleged Chinese criminal gang accused of laundering $39 million
Four members of an alleged Chinese criminal gang, accused of laundering more than $39 million in illicit cash, have been charged as part of a joint law enforcement investigation in Melbourne.
North West government entity CFO has fraudulent residence permit: Minister Aaron Motsoaledi
A CFO of a North West government entity who accused the home affairs department of not responding to his court papers is using fraudulent documentation to be in South Africa.
The curious case of Art Viljoen, who allegedly stole millions with his Ponzi scheme
There’s a sucker born every minute, but for every victim there’s a perpetrator and presently, in South Africa, there seems to be a legion of scamsters, fraudsters and racketeers.
Rhode Island man sentenced to eight years in prison for defrauding investors and tax evasion
A Rhode Island man was sentenced to eight years in prison for running a decade-long Ponzi scheme to defraud investors and to evade his taxes.
The lawyers and auditors who cashed in on corruption at PRASA
The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) has launched an investigation into the activities of audit firm WKH Landgrebe, accused of playing a key role in corruption at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA).
Money laundering network boss hit with multi-million pound confiscation order
The ringleader of a money laundering group that smuggled tens of millions of pounds of criminal cash out of the UK has been hit with a confiscation order.
Magistrate in Koko, ABB corruption case failed to declare R14.3m in Eskom business
Magistrate who presided over the corruption case against former Eskom executive Matshela Koko, allegedly failed to disclose his own business dealings with the power utility.
FATF Issues Update On SA’s Grey Listing Progress
In its latest update on South Africa’s progress, the Financial Action Task Force noted that the country had taken steps to correct the deficiencies, though the work is not yet complete.
Britain joins FBI to lead global call centre scam crackdown as Interpol issue alert
British police are to join with the FBI and US Secret Service agents to mount a crackdown on call centers scamming victims worldwide, as Interpol issued a global alert on the threat.
Britain’s best-paid woman faces financial crime investigation into gambling empire
Denise Coates’ business Bet365 is being investigated by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac), a financial crime watchdog, over allegations it broke the law.
Two suspects in custody on allegations of running romance scam
Two Nigerians appeared in the Johannesburg specialised commercial crimes court on Wednesday on allegations of running a fraudulent romance scam.
SADC fortifies bloc against money laundering
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has inaugurated the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating of Financing Terrorism (AML/CFT) Committee.
Ex-Vodacom employee and accomplices face court in R11 million fraud scheme
On a brisk morning at the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crime Court, a tale of deception unfolded, revealing a complex scheme that siphoned millions from South Africa's telecom giant, Vodacom.
Paytm Payments Bank fined Rs 5.49 Cr for violations under money laundering Act
The Financial Intelligence Unit-India initiated a review of Paytm Payments Bank after receiving specific information from law enforcement agencies regarding certain entities and their network of businesses engaged in various illicit activities.
Insolvency expert Bernard Gutman sentenced to 10 years for fraud and money laundering
Bernard Gutman's 10-year imprisonment marks the end of a prolonged legal battle, highlighting the severe consequences of financial crimes in insolvency practice.
Dentons accused of anti-money laundering failures when representing a ‘politically exposed’ client
The largest law firm in the world, Dentons, is defending itself against allegations from the legal regulator that it breached anti-money laundering regulations when acting for a client.
Gold Leaf Tobacco: SARS claims billions from Sasfin in Rudland money laundering debacle
The South African Revenue Service alleges that at least R8.2-billion in untaxed funds, linked to the vast Gold Leaf Tobacco money laundering racket, were unlawfully sneaked out of the country over the past decade.
Ashburton fined R16 million for non-compliance of FICA regulations
The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) has imposed a R16m administrative sanction on Ashburton Fund Managers for non-compliance with certain Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) provisions.
FATF financial crime watchdog adds Kenya and Namibia to its 'grey list'
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) international crime watchdog added Kenya and Namibia to its 'grey list' of countries that need increased monitoring.
Cross-border crime kept in check by exposing money laundering of R57 million
Collaboration to curb cross-border crime between South Africa and Lesotho grew with leaps and bounds with the arrest of two people accused in a case of money laundering.
Full-scale action against money laundering network via Lithuanian financial institution for over EUR 2 billion
Judicial and law enforcement authorities in Italy, Latvia and Lithuania have taken concerted action against a large-scale money laundering business, centring around a Lithuanian financial institution.
Breach of trust: The R7.3 million Guardian's Fund scandal unfolds in Pietermaritzburg Court
Delve into the shocking case of Prajeev Maharaj and Navin Ramsewak, accused of orchestrating a multimillion-rand fraud scheme targeting the Guardian's Fund in Pietermaritzburg.
Special Tribunal sets aside another dodgy Covid PPE tender
It may have happened nearly four years ago, but South Africans have not forgotten the mad rush to exploit the relaxed emergency procurement regulations that were put in place when Covid-19 hit the country.
Hong Kong customs arrests seven in a $1.8 billion money laundering case linked to transnational crime
Hong Kong customs officials have arrested seven people linked to the territory's largest ever money laundering case, involving about 14 billion Hong Kong dollars ($1.8 billion).
Couple implicates Ramaphosa in allegations of fraud involving medical schemes
The duo have revealed how Ramaphosa allegedly benefited from the medical schemes' corruption while he was the chairperson of the Bidvest Group.
Bank fined £1m by Isle of Man regulator
Royal Bank of Scotland International has been fined £1m by the Isle of Man’s financial regulator for breaching its anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism code.
Two sectors holding South Africa back from getting off the grey list – and time is running out
South Africa has hit a bump in its plans to get off the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF’s ) grey list, with two industries in particular to blame.
Primary school financial officer arrested for alleged R2,6m fraud
A Mpumalanga primary school financial officer has found herself in hot water with the Hawks after she was arrested for alleged fraud.
Australia finds 'criminal' firms won public contracts
Australia awarded public contracts to firms suspected of money laundering, bribery, arms running, drug smuggling and corruption.
Victims of an Ant-Ranch scam urged to come forward
The South African Police Service (SAPS) in the Eastern Cape are calling on victims of an online scam to come forward, as police have successfully obtained a preservation order on one of the six bank accounts used to dupe potential investors.
Carmel man steals millions in international fraud scheme
A Carmel man was sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison after stealing $2,000,000 in an international identity fraud scheme.
Eskom maintenance manager in court for R1 million graft
An Eskom maintenance manager, her alleged accomplice, and their two companies have been charged with fraud, theft and money laundering.
Ramaphosa’s SONA promises vs reality
In 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the first State of the Nation Address (SONA) of the country’s sixth democratic administration.
US seeks to crack down on real estate money laundering with new rule
The U.S. Treasury Department's financial crimes unit proposed a long-awaited plan aimed at curbing the flow of illicit funds through American real estate markets.
Dissecting the VBS elephant six years on – the R2bn fraud, the R500m settlement and the plight of victims
The VBS Mutual Bank scandal that broke in 2018 hit the papers again with the news that auditor KPMG had signed a R500-million out-of-court settlement with the liquidator.
Scores of N.Y. public housing workers charged in record corruption case
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan unsealed bribery and extortion charges against 70 current and former employees of the New York City Housing Authority.
Concern as South Africa hits lowest corruption perception index score ever
South Africa is losing the fight against corruption as it continues to slide downward.
61 000 shell companies registered at one Pretoria address
Credit rating agency Moody’s has found that 61 000 South African shell companies have the same registration address.
EFCC traces N7bn to religious bodies laundering money for terrorists
Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ola Olukoyede, stated that the agency uncovered a religious sect laundering money for terrorists.
Hawks nab 14 suspects for driver’s license corruption
Members of the Hawks in Free State arrested 14 people for their alleged involvement in the crime.
Man pleads guilty in $1 billion scheme to dodge money laundering rules in New York
A man described as an “experienced anti-money laundering specialist” pleaded guilty to illegally funneling more than $1 billion.

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