Conversations: Chrisol Correia, Financial Crime Compliance Consultant

Course Duration: 17 minutes
Course Points: 

On Fridays with Fintelekt today, Shirish Pathak, Managing Director, Fintelekt Advisory Services hosts Chrisol Correia, Financial Crime Compliance Consultant based in London.

In his career spanning two decades, Chrisol has witnessed the evolution of the financial crime compliance function in terms of capability, resources, scale, infrastructure and culture and towards a broader understanding that good compliance is a business enabler and not a blocker.

In the episode, Chrisol speaks on a variety of issues such as the benefits of technology for smaller institutions, regulatory expectations around risks and controls, collaborative analytics and information sharing.

He finds it encouraging that regulators are now embracing technology and are in a much better position to provide guidance to financial institutions on how technology and automation should be deployed.

He also feels that the next phase in the industry’s future will be around inter-institutional collaboration for multi-directional informational sharing about risks and typologies and a single view of risk across a particular ecosystem.

Conversations: Tadeo Jun Claravall, The Financial Crimes

Course Duration: 23 minutes
Course Points: 

A milestone is reached for Fridays with Fintelekt today as Shirish Pathak, Managing Director, Fintelekt hosts his 50th guest Tadeo Jun Claravall, Founder, The Financial Crimes, and a student and teacher of financial crime risk and compliance.

In the conversation, Jun explains the motivation behind his recently published book, Financial Crime Fighter – Book of Mentors, which is a collaboration with 30 global leaders in anti-financial crime.

His goal for the book is to provide financial crime fighters all over the world with a secret weapon – access to advice, experiences and guidance from 30 global leaders as mentors that they can relate to.

Kudos to Jun’s decision to donate the profits of his book to support the fight against modern slavery!!More about the book here:

Besides revealing some golden nuggets from his book, Jun shares his thoughts on what might be the ideal characteristics and what he calls ‘real’ skills (not soft skills) needed for a financial crime fighter.

In his opinion, a supportive organisational culture is important, but not a necessary element to becoming an effective financial fighter.

Listen to the 50th episode of Fridays with Fintelekt for an energizing and motivating dedication to Financial Crime Fighters across the world!!

Conversations: Peter Piatetsky, Castellum.AI

Course Duration: 25 minutes
Course Points: 

On Fridays with Fintelekt today, hear from Peter Piatetsky, Co-Founder and CEO, Castellum.AI as he provides his expert comments and analysis on the global sanctions regime, with host Shirish Pathak, Managing Director, Fintelekt.

Peter has had a stint supporting US military operations and then with the US Treasury as senior policy advisory for Iran. His experience on the challenges in accessing data on sanctions led him to found Castellum.AI with the mission of building a ‘google’ for compliance, an easy to access online platform at an affordable price point so that anyone globally can find compliance data.

Sanctions have evolved over the years from the level of countries to individuals to sectors. They been used for a variety of reasons from political to counter-terrorism, law enforcement, corruption and human rights. Peter believes that sanctions can be used as a very successful tool if there is a specific goal. The broader that goal, the more difficult it is to achieve via sanctions.

Within the conversation, Peter takes us through many interesting insights on the US sanctions against Turkey, the current situation in Afghanistan, and the US-China conflict following the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law. He also speaks about his research on human rights violations caused due to sanctions.

For all of this and more, tune in to the entire episode!

Conversations: Ross Delston, Attorney & Expert Witness

Course Duration: 30 minutes
Course Points: 

On Fridays with Fintelekt this week, host Shirish Pathak, Managing Director, Fintelekt is joined by Ross Delston, Expert witness, attorney & former US banking regulator (FDIC), who shares his varied experiences in policy responses to trade-based money laundering and trade-based terrorist financing, anti-corruption, corporate transparency and the risks from new technologies.

Our key picks from this interesting conversation full of anecdotes and experiences from Ross’s long career are: 

  • There hasn’t been much progress in combating TBML and that all elements in the trade supply chain should be covered by an AML programme, and made to file STR reports to achieve any tangible results. 
  • Ross compares the new AML law in the US, especially in the area of public access to beneficial ownership registries, with that across the European Union, India and other countries.
  • On NFTs and ICOs, he believes speculation may be a more important issue than money laundering fuelled by the huge rise in prices of various classes of assets over the years.
  • Conviction rates in money laundering are often low because understanding the flow of money, and especially explaining it to a jury, is difficult and it may be easier to prosecute the predicate crime rather than money laundering.

For more expert comments, please view the entire episode. 

Conversations: Dr. J. Michael Skiba, International Financial Crime Expert

Course Duration: 21 minutes
Course Points: 

Fridays with Fintelekt today features J Michael Skiba, international financial crime expert, with host Shirish Pathak, Managing Director, Fintelekt Advisory Services in a conversation around fraud. Michael, popularly known as Dr. Fraud, has had several years of experience helping individuals and corporations become safer against frauds, scams and schemes.

Michael’s experience shows that in the financial services sector, fraud is more a matter of opportunities, as 96% of people committing fraud have no criminal history. He says that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of the ecosystem due to the transition to work from home, creating gaps in data security and increased stress on companies. This has also reduced the personal thresholds at which people respond to an opportunity to commit fraud.

With increasing automation and the use of technology, his concern is that the human element in fraud management is getting lost. Corporations need to continuously train people and build expertise in running automated platforms. He recommends the creation of a task force with people across various departments to share insights and create a sense of synergy and cooperation in fighting fraud.

To develop a strong deterrent against fraud, Michael feels that it is not just the creation of laws, but the support and proper enforcement of the laws that is critical. The lack of information sharing is another challenging aspect of fraud detection that needs to be addressed.

Listen to the entire episode for more insights on organisational culture, criminal behaviour and rationalisation of fraud from his book “The Psychology of Fraud”. 

Conversations: Jessica Davis, Insight Threat Intelligence

Course Duration: 36 minutes
Course Points: 35

Fridays with Fintelekt today features Jessica Davis, President, Insight Threat Intelligence, an expert on terrorist and illicit financing, with host Shirish Pathak, Managing Director, Fintelekt Advisory Services.

Jessica explains the implications of the complex situation in Afghanistan, and the likely evolution of Al Qaeda, ISIL-KP, their own strategic objectives and their relationship with the Taliban in the region. All of these groups are drawing resources from Afghanistan, but counter terrorism financing (CTF) options with the global community are fairly limited, especially without any CTF forces on the ground. 

On CTF methods in general, Jessica strongly believes that all of the current measures have negative externalities, and that as a CTF community, some of the human rights or financial implications of CTF measures may have been glossed over. There is a need for the AML/CFT community to take a long hard look at regulations and recommendations and ensure that they are tied directly to observable and prevalent terror financing mechanisms.

Jessica is the author of the highly rated book Women in Modern Terrorism (2017) and is slated to publish another one Illicit Money: Financing Terrorism in the 21st Century in September 2021. In the conversation, she also speaks about the motivation behind her research and the various perspectives she has explored in her books. 

Visit the website of Insight Threat Intelligence for more insights and analysis around Jessica’s work and the books she has authored.

Conversations: Shawki Ahwash, North Africa Commercial Bank

Course Duration: 23 minutes
Course Points: 20

This week Fridays with Fintelekt hosted by Shirish Pathak, Managing Director, Fintelekt features Shawki Ahwash, Head of AML/CFT & Sanctions Division, North Africa Commercial Bank from Beirut, Lebanon.

A career banker, Shawki enjoys sharing the knowledge that he has gained with others through training and teaching. He feels that AML/CFT is a dynamic and evolving field and technology has changed everything about it – be it onboarding, profiling or monitoring of customers and transactions.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, banks have had to take proactive measures to combat fraud and cybercrime and have had to sensitize their clients. The need of the hour is to upgrade and re-skill front-line staff that is dealing directly with the customer.

For AML/CFT to become more effective, he recommends that banks and financial institutions conduct a separate risk assessment for sanctions and AML, ascertain the quality of data to reduce false positives and move away from filing defensive STRs. High quality STRs which provide the underlying predicate offence, an elaborate narrative, profile of clients and the circumstances of the transaction to the extent possible will contribute to the regulator’s database and aid the understanding of newer trends and typologies.

On the new AML law in the UAE, Shawki thinks that many Arab or GCC countries may copy some of the steps – around screening, targeted financial sanctions, DNFBPs, etc. – to fortify their regulatory environment on anti-financial crime.

For many regional trends and insights on crypto, financial inclusion, screening, and others, tune in to the entire episode. 

Conversations: Sofia El Mansouri, Compliantly LLC

Course Duration: 21 minutes
Course Points: 20

This week on Fridays with Fintelekt, Shirish Pathak, Managing Director, Fintelekt converses with Sofia El Mansouri, Compliance Consultant from Morocco, also known as The Compliance Lady.

Anti-corruption and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic feature primarily in this episode, with Sofia explaining noteworthy developments and global anti-corruption initiatives over the last few years. She specifically emphasises the role of the non-financial sectors and professional enablers in transnational corruption and whitewashing of financial crime proceeds.

The impact of the pandemic has been significant and raised considerable risks of questionable commissions, kickbacks, over inflated prices, and facilitation payments, even as policy makers and governments are consumed with urgent relief and such priorities, rather than dealing with corruption.

Sofia calls the ‘Biden Memo’ (the National Security Study Memorandum recently introduced by the US) a game-changer, expected to bring in reforms not just in the US but possibly also elsewhere as more countries follow suit. She advises the compliance community not just within financial institutions but also investment advisors and professional service providers such as lawyers, accountants to take proactive steps to prepare for increased AML enforcements and more stringent regulatory requirements.

For more expert insights on this topic, watch the full episode. 

Conversations: Leah Callon-Butler, Emfarsis

Course Duration: 30 minutes
Course Points: 30

In this episode of Fridays with Fintelekt, host Shirish Pathak, Managing Director, Fintelekt Advisory Services is in conversation with Leah Callon-Butler, Director, Emfarsis on cryptocurrency and blockchain adoption, its challenges and potential benefits to society.

Leah’s company Emfarsis, helps early stage companies with their product to market fit. She says that often when a new technology is evolving, it isn’t clear to consumers how it can solve their needs. The same goes for blockchain and cryptocurrencies and Leah works to tell the right stories about how this technology can improve people’s lives. 

An example is her video about the Play to Earn NFT game – Axie Infinity – which has garnered considerable popularity amongst people affected by the pandemic by helping them with an alternative revenue source as it allows cashing out into real money (

While Leah is all for allowing innovators to build new solutions, she recognises the role of regulation in fostering trust and confidence, in making regulated financial institutions enter the space and make it more accessible. However, there is a fine balance to be achieved. She feels that regulating too early without proper industry consultation and understanding of how the technology works could lead to unintended consequences. She thinks that blockchain technology could be more useful to compliance and potentially be a better way to prevent crime. 

For more such insights around the challenges with the FATF travel rule, the financial inclusion potential of the crypto economy, and a variety of resources that the compliance community can use to keep in touch with developments in this space, watch the entire episode. 

Conversations: F. Christopher Calabia, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Course Duration: 19 minutes
Course Points: 15

On this episode of Fridays with Fintelekt. Shirish Pathak, Managing Director, Fintelekt Advisory Services is in conversation with F. Christopher Calabia, Senior Advisor, Supervisory & Regulatory Policy, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation about financial inclusion and the role of digital financial services.

The Gates Foundation supports work that addresses inequities in healthcare, education and economic empowerment, especially for women and girls and believes that access to digital financial tools allows the unbanked and underbanked sections of the population to lift themselves and their families out of poverty sustainably.

The Foundation therefore has a direct interest in promoting appropriate regulation and support for the relatively new business model of digital financial services, and in ensuring that it is not abused for money laundering or terrorism financing.

Chris applauds the FATF’s initiative in broadening the dialogue and reaching out proactively to a wider set of stakeholders to study the unintended consequences of its standards. The consultative process will bring in voices that have not been represented in these discussions before – such as the poor, women, advocacy groups and international development organisations.

The conversation explores many more themes around the role of stablecoins in financial inclusion, regulatory evolution and how it can keep pace with technology trends, and the need for innovative approaches to regulation. 

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