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Wrist Tickle

The Swiss authorities have ordered Coutts (Switzerland) to repay a few millions which that bank gained by handling the transfer to Switzerland of three quarters of a billion dollars stolen by Jho Low and Prime Minister Najib Razak from the Malaysian State wealth fund 1MDB.

No one, least of all the Swiss authorities, thinks that this puny penalty will deter future money laundering. On the contrary, it is a signal to the financial criminals of the world to be a mite more careful next time. Had these Malaysian crooks not been so abysmally incompetent the whole sordid business might never have come to light.

It is also a further demonstration of the fact that money laundering is alive and well but just needs to be handled more discreetly in future. Since London has not, yet anyway, commented on this case, involving as it does the London based Royal Bank of Scotland, that adds strength to suspicions that money laundering, like the drug trade, will be privately tolerated if publicly condemned.

What does all this say about Western governments and financial institutions?

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