Panama Papers, AML/CFT to go Hollywood–twice


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Movies set to depict secret world of money laundering, tax evasion

Hollywood has latched on to the Panama Papers scandal, and now two major productions are in the works. Reuters reported in late July that not only will director Steven Soderbergh undertake to tell the story of AML/CFT Compliance and tax evasion alleged in Mossack-Fonseca accounts, but so will Netflix.

Netflix has purchased film rights to the book “”Panama Papers: Breaking the Story of How the World’s Rich and Powerful Hide Their Money,” by German journalists Frederik Obermaier and Bastian Obermayer. The streaming-entertainment powerhouse also announced that it has hired John Wells to produce the feature-length film. Wells’ other credits include “The West Wing,” a very popular network television show focusing on politics behind the scenes.

Soderbergh’s film, in contrast, will be based on American journalist Jake Bernstein’s book “Secrecy World,” which will be published next year. Bernstein previously won a Pulitzer prize for his reporting on Wall Street behaviors prior to the most recent financial crisis, and he has written extensively on politics and the world of finance. Soderbergh is one of Hollywood’s most active and successful directors with critically acclaimed films like “Traffic,” “Erin Brockovich,” “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” and “Contagion.”

For AML/CFT Compliance professionals and their financial institutions, this probably seems like the story that will not die. Given the magnitude of the leak, the magnitude of the questionable behaviors, and the high profiles of some of the principal figures, there are a lot of compelling stories to tell. And the public seems more interested and more politically active than in recent years.

“For the first time in years, financial institutions and their AML/CFT Compliance decisions are in the prolonged glare of the public spotlight,” said Frank Cummings, CEO of AML Partners. “It’s a tough situation in an already difficult job.”

“We are big believers in being proactive with AML/CFT Compliance,” Cummings said. “Financial institutions can stay above the fray by creating and adhering to their own specific risk-based approaches. And then support those approaches with excellent AML/CFT software solutions. Our approach here at AML Partners is to provide ‘Comply on the Fly’ configurability in an end-to-end AML Compliance Ecosystem. SURETY Eco includes full integration of CDD/KYC, Sanctions Screening, and Transaction Monitoring with optional 314a. This is your unique risk-based approach—digitized for peak efficiency and effectiveness.”

Doing your best work of analyzing, planning, and implementing up front takes a big initial commitment, but that effort acts like a vaccine against future illness, according to Cummings.

“In a field like effective AML/CFT Compliance, no news is the best news. And we strive to provide for our customers that kind of peace of mind that comes with effective Compliance,” Cummings said.

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