6 Countries, 4 presentations, 28 days
New York, NY – 2 days of AML training. It was a good class, but some still do not seem to understand how a broker dealer – that accepts no cash can be used for money laundering and layering. The broker dealers are being used for layering money and not placement. The room rates were out of sight and I stayed in China town and walked to the event. I do enjoy New York as it is an easy town to get around in.
Prague – 1 day training, and 3 days working with a client on launching a new product and working with legacy supplier issues. The company had a real risk problem, one main supplier, one shipping company and one payment processor. We worked for a year to diversify suppliers and shippers, and we were too late. A spat between the supplier and shipper ended shipments. Sales were off by 60%, but now back to 100% and with the launch of a new product – even better. Prague was very hot and we had no air conditioning. The suite had a washer and dryer thank goodness, took three attempts to get the washer to work well, never really succeed with the dryer – by the cloths were a bit dryer – but not dry. Can you figure out these knobs?
Poland – drove to Poland to meet one of our investigators for breakfast. It was a small town in the mountains, Jelenia Góra, it was cold so we had onion and potato soup and coffee for breakfast. It was very good.
Amman, Jordan – Launched the American Anti-‐Corruption Institute’s Chapter in Amman. Albatross Consulting is the local exclusive vender for the AACI and they did a great job at the launch http://albatrossjo.com. We even made the local television. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsVpiDjEzXM
Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, a bit of instruction, a bit of consulting and a bit of wonderment. When I tell you there is a Currency Exchange and or a Money Service Business every 1 to 2 minutes of walking down the street in Dubai – it is NOT and exaggeration. They even have them at the local Metro Stations. Then when you go to Dubai Mall the world’s largest mall – there is an entire section dedicated to banking and financial services – and the section is very large. It reminds me of the Louvre in Paris – a big and very attractive building, with lots of people walking around with their mouths open and once you get in, it is very hard to find the exit! Also it is hot and humid at 114 degrees and 45% humidity. It really reminded me of being at home just before a summer monsoon storm.
There was a bit of a scam going on here. Guys are driving around trying to sell Italian suits out of their cars. The story is that they came to a fashion show and if they go back to Italy with the suits they have to pay duty -‐ la la la and they are willing to sell you a suit, always Armani out of the back of their car. The salesmen are -‐ at least the three I have met, Italian. These suit scammers, stop and ask you for directions -‐ I give them bad directions, and they say -‐ ah yes that is correct and then they pitch for the sale of the Armani suit. I say -‐ ah, Armani is OK for a low level office worker, the boss needs to wear Brioni or Kiton. For example I have….. At this point, they roll their eyes and drive off. Good fun and entertainment on my walks.
They are serious about a few things here. One, no pictures of Emiratis – two, you get a ticket they will not only fine you but impound your car for from 15 to 45 days. Thus most here are very good when driving on the street, no red light runners here.
It is day 20 on the road, I am sick of doing my laundry in the tub, I miss the whatchamacallit dials in Prague.
Hong Kong and Macau –I made it for the rainy season. Hot and humid, what? is this Miami? This is a city of many contrasts. Its is big city, but very easy to get about. In summer it is an uncomfortable city with the heat and humidity, but the city is so laced with tunnels and underground and between building pathways that one can near get about the whole city and never be on the street. A hard working city with very intelligent and aggressive businessmen with some of the best leisure activities any big city could have.
On my last walk from the subway station I had nine offers for suits, three offers for real knock off watches, and two offers for massage. The streets hawkers are just about as subtle as the neon lights.