Cuba Conspicuously Missing From 2016 Basel Bank Transparency Index

Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Last month, the Basel Institute on Governance released its 2016 Basel AML Index.

The Basel AML Index is the most renowned, annual ranking assessing country risk regarding money laundering/terrorism financing. It focuses on anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing (AML/CTF) frameworks and other related factors such as financial/public transparency and judicial strength.

The Index measured 149 countries, including such troubling actors as Iran, Venezuela, Myanmar, Sudan, China, Vietnam, Russia and Zimbabwe.

Yet, Cuba is conspicuously missing from its report. 

The other two nations notably missing are Syria and North Korea.

Perhaps the reason for their absence is the lack of publicly available data sources for Cuba, along with Syria and North Korea.

But that -- in itself -- doesn't bode well for transparency.

Yet, the Obama Administration is encouraging banking transactions with Cuba's wholly state-owned, non-transparent banking system?

The Obama Administration is authorizing dollar transactions abroad (U-turn) by Cuba's secretive banks?

The Obama Administration recruited a small, local, real-estate bank with no international experience, South Florida's Stonegate Bank, to open a correspondent account and handle transactions with Cuba's shady banks?

Would Obama do the same for Syria and North Korea? Well, actually, never mind...

Just recently, we had noted how Cuba's Banco Financiero Internacional was now directly taken over (overnight) by Castro's military conglomerate, GAESA. This state-owned bank is solely empowered by the Castro regime to conduct commercial banking operations in convertible currencies. Virtually every foreign company and person engaged in business on the island must open an account in this bank.

These are not "positive steps" as The White House's "echo chamber" likes to propagate.

Obama may be willing to sacrifice transparency and security for his "legacy," but regulators and other career officials that will outlast his presidency definitely should not.