FinCEN Files: Investigation into Dirty Money Transfers from Major Global Banks

At least $ 2 trillion in suspicious transactions were carried out between 2000 and 2017 by several major global banks. This is what an investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, made up of 400 journalists from the media in 88 countries, including the investigation units of Radio France and the newspaper Le Monde, reveals.
For their investigation, ICIJ journalists were able to obtain "suspicious activity reports". These are top-secret documents that US bank internal compliance officials send to US financial intelligence agencies when they detect questionable money transfers.

According to these documents, 2,000 billion dollars in suspicious transactions may have been carried out. It is dirty money linked to drugs, corruption, organized crime and terrorism.

Large banks are singled out like JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, Bank of New York Mellon or HSBC. They ensure, however, that they make significant efforts to combat financial crime an…

Oil and gas logistics in Mauritania: a major challenge

The prospect of operating the BP GTA gas project quite naturally requires substantial port and logistics resources; and in Mauritania, the deficiency in this matter has aroused lust beyond the country's borders. This is quite natural given the heavy investments required, not to mention the subsequent technical expertise.
 
Oil and gas logistics in Mauritania

This is how we learn that from 2018 a Mauritano-South African joint venture had already submitted to the Mauritanian authorities a project notice - of which we were able to obtain a copy - relating to the creation of '' An Offshore Supply Base) in Ndiago. These promoters are investing in the turnkey construction of a multi-trade logistics infrastructure dedicated to logistics activities and services related to oil and gas exploitation in the sub-region.

In this same register, it should also be noted that the Mauritanian company SEPCO Industries which is recognized worldwide as a major player in Oil and Gas services in Mauritania has not been outdone. With the difference that SEPCO has already invested several million dollars in modern infrastructure at the Port Autonome de Nouakchott. This is hardly surprising given the curriculum of its Founder and CEO, Cheikh Benhmeida, a petroleum engineer with decades of international experience in prestigious global companies in the sector.

Rough competition in sight

So, competition will be tough to snatch up the leonine contracts of the future gas windfall; but only the most competitive will be in the starting blocks. Because it is true that at the moment, Mauritania is being wooed by investors of all stripes shimmering investments that are both multiple and diversified and impracticable. For some, we are closer to opportunistic amateurism than to professional professionalism, the supporters of which do their bit of the road without drums or trumpets.




As the challenges linked to oil and gas logistics activities are multifaceted, the Mauritanian Government is still dithering after having recently entrusted to the French firm OKAN Partners, a study for the proposal of a zone of port and logistics activities dedicated to oil and gas services .

Nouakchott or Ndiago?

With this in mind, some people already like to insinuate the site of the Port of Ndiago as a future logistics hub when others suggest an area not very far south of the Autonomous Port of Nouakchott; without however - neither one nor the other - supporting their choice with practical, operational, environmental or financial considerations.

After inquiring, we noticed that the litigants of the Ndiago site option put forward arguments that were more of a fantasy than a vision in real perspective. And in order to get more insight into what's going on, we reached out to international consultant Hassana Mbeirick to ask his opinion on the matter. The latter gave a clear opinion: on the short and medium term, there can be no other solutions than through the Autonomous Port of Nouakchott; subject, he said, to an upgrade of its infrastructure. And in the long term, the site of the port of Ndiago is suitable enough to erect a special zone dedicated to oil and gas activities. Far from being mixed, here is a far-sighted opinion to say the least.

In this wake, we recall here that the extension study of the Port of Nouakchott carried out by the German office INROS LACKNER AG in 2009-2010 and which we consulted, already recommended a master plan for port development in 03 successive phases with the following chronological milestones: Phase I = 2008-2015 / Phase II = 2015-2019 / Phase III = 2020-2025.

Each of these milestones corresponded to a level of extension and development in a linearity inspired by commercial and industrial projections relating to the operation of the Port.




However, when we know that the Direction of the Port of Nouakchott included in its program for the year 2020 the development of a Master Plan for the Development of the Port and that the Ministry of Petroleum has already started the recruitment process of a design office for the development of an Oil and Gas Master Plan, we find ourselves with as many good intentions which - not content with being time-consuming - are more budget-consuming.

The concern today is to succeed in grasping the points of convergence between all these aspirations which reflect, at the very least, the absence of a strategic vision harmonized with the objective of greatly benefiting from oil exploitation and gas.

It is in this context of visual navigation - which is hardly suitable for ports - that the GTA project of the giant BP begins its hibernation under the effect of the infinitely small Covid-19.