This is the short version of how Joseph de Saram became involved in designing financial systems for fake banks run by governments, which actually opened accounts for criminals and encouraged the latter to launder money.
I am in the process of re-writing this article – it is frequently referenced by me and it is incredibly unique in nature. It also does explain a lot 🙂 Please have a look at this version before the update. Some of the sections will be switched around and moved to different articles so please be sure to read the entirety of my articles as each delves into a number of different facets of quite a complex case 🙂
I founded Rhodium PLC in June 1995. It was a UK firm and was effectively my ‘vehicle for trading’. Given my knowledge of cryptographic systems I made consulting the main business; it was highly profitable but had a modest turnover. So we bolted a hardware side onto that to increase turnover and to use the profitability from consulting to ‘buy’ sales. One of my maxims is ‘Turnover is for vanity, profit is for sanity’, but until the rug was spectacularly pulled from under our feet in the summer of 2000, things were finally going well.
I had an ‘extremely interesting’ collection of clients in Information Security and my role was often to architect systems so the client would not have to go through the ‘normal’ official channels, which were often slow and expensive and people would ask too many questions. This applied to government contracting primarily.
I had usually been involved in applied cryptographics projects, usually unethical (as opposed to unlawful), for example assisting some contractor or another when they were trying to cover up data about an aircraft losing radar invisibility when it rained (1997), and/or an artificial speech synthesis project in which the computer output was indistinguishable from normal human speech (1998), and/or to even design a secure system to facilitate the communication between laboratories that were undertaking research into human cloning (2006).
However, one of the other areas was involving banking/financial systems and ‘Money Laundering’ projects.
The reason that I have not written ‘Anti-Money Laundering’ is that I ended up designing bank systems for a whole host of fake-financial institutions, whose purpose WAS to launder money – a kind of ‘honey pot’. These were set up by various defence contractors who were working with governments to entice criminals to deposit money with them, and to then see where it went.
I had thought the obvious entrapment created an immediate defence for the criminals concerned but apparently the US Attorney thought otherwise.
I was part of the team that designed systems that secured the communication infrastructure to ensure that the faxes were secure, and scanned and recorded onto gold 650Mb compact disks, as well as the payment systems themselves. E-mails were saved every week as well (from Eudora) and the funny thing was they DID have in-house e-mail servers along the lines of Hillary Clinton’s, although fax/telex and AS400s were the main tools of the day! That was entirely acceptable as it happens, and personal servers were encouraged to avoid an unwanted audit trail from datacentre staff, who could be bought or would take copies of data.
Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance – ISR
In my article Can I Get A Witness
Can I Get a Witness?
Twenty-four years ago I became involved with the UK Metropolitan Police Service – this is the short version of how I developed an interest in Law Enforcement. The date was 28 April 1992 and I was only a 20 year-old 1st Year Medical Student at University College London Medical School. The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies was still three years away and SO19 were the Metropolitan ...
I first encountered an officer from SO13 (Anti-Terrorism section of MPS) on 28 April 1992. SO13 was always looking to see how the financing of terrorism occurred. Additionally I had already met someone from J-Soc at University College London whose brother was working for an Israeli security agency
in December 1991; he was cool-looking and he had impressed me (I was only 19 years old!). I was introduced to all types of people and found the Yanks more forward-thinking and willing to bend laws than the Brits!
I was so motivated by the israeli guy as well as the MPS officer that I decided to do consulting work with an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (“ISR”) theme. I incorporated a company called Integrated Systems Research Ltd (“ISR”) a couple of weeks later on 11 May 1992.
25yrs of Integrated Systems Research
Ain’t No Use in Complaining When You Got a Job to Do Today is the 25th Anniversary of the incorporation of Integrated Systems Research Ltd (“ISR”) on 11 May 1992, my first ever limited liability company and the special purpose vehicle for the really clever stuff!
A fellow medical student was the co-director but I didn’t discuss the true nature of work – instead he thought it was just a hardware business so we could get our own stuff at trade prices. From the hardware perspective it failed miserably, and he eventually left me to get on with what I needed to get on with, which was absolutely fine by me. Sound familiar?
The main function of that company was literally C4ISR, which everyone in military intelligence/defence knows stands for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance. I left the C4 off in the company name because it reminded me of Sir Clive Sinclair’s C5 (if you remember what that was!).
By 1993 I had left UCL, and to get into a competitive market I had to work all hours; actually I became a heavy drinker for about six months, drinking half a bottle of vodka every night before bed. I was not getting paid on time (annoying isn’t it?) and clients kept wanting to give me cash. As everyone knows I do not like and do not use cash. I like electronic money and plastic/metal. My house in Colindale NW9 was a mess and there was unopened mail everywhere. As everyone also knows I rarely drink more than half a beer usually! This type of work involved four 30-minute naps every six hours in a 24-hour period.
My colleagues were also trying to avoid IRS issues, giving me a fiduciary role in which four special purpose vehicles were incorporated for them to transfer the money to. These were the ‘4 Companies’ which we referred to as ‘C4’ – so join ‘C4’ to ‘ISR’ and you in fact get ‘C4ISR’ which actually explains what was going on – it’s all there if you just look!
They kept referring to ISR as IRS which was annoying too and used to leave messages and instructions on an answering machine at my house all the time. In fact the phone numbers they left were actually account numbers for transfers and/or passwords to access systems remotely.
Often they would remotely connect to my Toshiba Tecra via RDP and upload and download files, and send e-mails from it to third parties such as debtor/creditor circularisations, providing instructions when they desired. We used a service called Anonymizer, from memory, as well, which was a 56k dialup connection, to provide a US IP address and various free e-mail accounts.
My best friend at the time Margaret Cunniffe knew very well that this was related to defence work although now appears to have forgotten for some reason. This is such a shame but people come into your life for different reasons, but leave thankfully when you are destined for greater things.
Both the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police knew about these projects, and assisted with some of the Caribbean aspects from the Cayman Islands, Barbados and Dutch Antilles. Panama was another jurisdiction as well as Belize. As the projects went forward I even got onto the phone and spoke in Spanish with my British accent to a handful of depositors, to show that there was a ‘UK operation’ and a ‘gateway in Europe’. So I had a role as a ‘banker’ to give further credibility and it was absolutely thrilling!
However from the UK perspective, the law had not been broken by transferring technology and managing overseas servers, and there was no VAT liability from the UK side either because of the nature of the export transactions. All the income tax calculations for Rhodium PLC were correct and in fact, the income tax was paid to the Inland Revenue with interest on any late amounts!
The issue was cryptographic technology that was being exported from the US to the UK, for review by me and then returned. I recall it was 56bit DES in the early 90s and then 168bit 3DES at the latter stages, and even higher strengths. I was using 448bit Blowfish at the time and I also became an expert on point of supply, point of control and point of consumption from a tax perspective.
How I Met Big Brother - GeniusJoe v MI5
The UK Surveillance State The above video confirms the UK’s obsession with electronic surveillance and human rights violations in the present. The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 is illegal. However as many people know, this obsession is not a new thing and it is in fact public knowledge that I was the first person to discover and publicly disclose the fact that ...
Yin and Yang in Technology
This is a short article about how certain types of software projects (cryptographic) come under the auspices of Aerospace & Defence… [I am still writing it] As Mark Graff states in the above video, “cyberweapons.. are easy to make, easy to move, and hard to find.. so trying to limit their spread by export controls is never going to work.” And he is COMPLETELY CORRECT!
I was in charge of two teams of contractors. Work was done first and the paperwork was always secondary since timings were always tight. The money that was owed to us was also kept in their trust accounts until they figured out how to pay us without attracting suspicion. The press were informed of a different story though they couldn’t even report that properly, but my personality type is not one that is reliant upon people saying nice things about me and I do not care what people think 🙂
It really does happen like this and with 90% civilians (more like 95% after friends of friends get involved to meet tough deadlines) there are so many issues in which the wrong corners are cut, usually in the wrong way and at the wrong time My comments, arising from direct experience of working for different parties, are interspersed in block capitals between paragraphs…
Crocket & Tubbs
In 1998 things started to get messed up when a pair of clowns from Customs & Excise (“HMCE”) Anthony Cotton and Richard Spotwood from the ‘Fiscal Investigation Team’ thought my entire business was fake – the business and accounting position was entirely genuine but the true entities had been obfuscated for reasons obvious enough. I recall they could not understand the concept of sending pdfs versus posting invoices, but as the entities were overseas it did not matter what was sent or how. During one of the interviews I remember Spotwood saying ‘if I had 200,000 pounds I would retire tomorrow’ – good for you Dick, head over to the Bahamas then !
I recall that there was a ‘special’ LS-120 disk in our Clerkenwell Green Office and when ‘Crocket & Tubbs‘ unlawfully raided the place on 10 March 1998 (I was on an SAP Financial Accounting course at the time) I asked Margaret to obtain the disk before their arrival.
As it happens I had been working on a new type of silencer for a weapon, which changed the frequency of the gunshot outside the range of human hearing rather than attenuating its noise. I thought I was quite clever, but there were issues with muzzle velocity and accuracy so it never went into production, sadly. The laboratories/ranges where the silencer was being tested, as well as performance data, was obviously of great significance to National Security, and the money laundering system data, logins and passwords were also on the L-120 disk.
No-one had a winnable case against me or Rhodium PLC because of what I was actually doing, and HMCE lost the tribunal against me/Rhodium PLC because of their bad faith antics. I recall costs recovery in our favour via Lovell White Durrant at around 75%, or something quite large! The second tribunal was scheduled but never materialised in the end, although it became apparent that all the prior interview evidence had become inadmissible because I was never cautioned – this made HMCE mad!
City of London Police conveniently forgot about the projects (they were not involved directly in relation to strategy, but they were being advised in monthly reports by my colleagues). I was left to weather the storm on my own.
The Matrix Revisited - Arms to Iraq in the 1980s v Weaponised Software in the 2010s
This article is about Matrix Churchill, a UK Aerospace engineering company based in Coventry, with expertise in both the design and manufacture of precision machine tools. The ensuing criminal case against the directors of Matrix Churchill was nothing short of a ridiculous fraud. The UK Government perverted the course of justice by allowing Customs & Excise to prosecute them ...
My colleagues began to worry and then began to distance themselves from me. I told them to either simply convert the outstanding debtors to cash as well as the amounts in their trust accounts, and transfer the whole lot to our NatWest/RBS accounts, or, provide the name of their actual special purpose vehicles for audit – both of which they refused.
When I threatened to squeal to the FBI and City of London police I was told ‘no-one will come when you scream’ and they got one of the criminals whom I had spoken to around 1994, to call me. They said they would pull the arms out of Margaret’s shoulders if I did not give them the files or if I told anyone. My options were therefore quite restricted and until this post I have never mentioned how bad things got.
They connected to our systems and issued the documentation themselves, saying that the entity names did not matter because they were going to pay up imminently. At least Rhodium PLC would get the money they promised regardless of where it actually came from, and as things were tight I agreed.
If HMCE had not started their Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty requests to the US then the US would not have asked my colleagues how the hell I got involved. I am, after all, not a US citizen and have never held an ‘official’ US security clearance, though regularly had transactional immunity as a subcontractor of my clients, which is another chapter altogether. My thumbprints were first taken in 1993, and the FBI should have access to my full set from 2009.
The Importance of Immunisation
This post is about the Government Contractor Defense (“GCD”) and how various adversaries of mine have failed to recognise the fact it covers the type of work I perform and the clients I associate with, from issues arising from product liability as well as a more limited application to service contracts. In my situation the application of GCD is far too complex to explain here especially due to the existence of a number of upstream intermediaries, though this article serves...
In the late summer of 2000, HSBC then bounced some specially-presented cheques after HMCE had gone around saying I was money laundering. We lost credit insurance completely and therefore the hardware business (which someone else handled) was affected first.
The irony is that I WAS involved in money laundering, but in the design of the systems only as a contractor, so my work was IN FACT LAWFUL; not actually what HMCE thought. However, I do note a complete lack of granularity in investigations then and even now, with generalised reporting, flawed conclusions and blatant lawyers’ constructs!
Everyone was now fed up of HMCE slagging me off to all and sundry, and seeing an insolvency situation was possible (even though it would not eventuate if they had simply paid up) my colleagues pulled the rug, causing the assets on Rhodium PLC’s balance sheet to become toxic. The situation could have easily been solved without external sources of funding to settle the liabilities giving, from memory, a GBP 3 million net position after all liabilities had been cleared in full. Such a shame and completely unnecessary.
I was ‘promised assets but they delivered liabilities’ and the entire thing became a mess. The timing could not have been worse, and we were in the middle of a public flotation of Rhodium PLC in Sri Lanka which would have raised USD 40 million. I was pouring money into Rhodium PLC left, right and centre, and trying to organise a Creditors Voluntary Arrangement / Administration (which is similar to Chapter 11 in the US), but no-one wanted to help me and I was unsuccessful in the end. I was the largest creditor of Rhodium PLC and larger than all the other creditors combined although I was blamed by dopey journalists who wanted to draw a parallel with Asil Nadir.
Just Because You're Paranoid
This article is about blatant Fundamental Human Rights violations. It centres around my absolutely correct identification of MI5 overseeing the unlawful interception and storage of my data communications by NCIS in 1999/2000. I was branded paranoid at the time despite there being no evidence to confirm that I was actually paranoid. Of course NCIS denied my allegations and that was despite my forensic evidence...
Remember I am not someone who would take a course of action which would result in my own demise, and I proudly state that my strategic thinking is second to none 🙂
Sheffield Stealers - It's Dim Up North
“The worst thing about being a genius is that most people are not smart enough to appreciate it.” – JSR DS [this is draft and I a uploading evidence and tidying up the content] Background I have had this article ‘Sheffield Stealers – It’s Dim Up North‘ in drafts for months, though did not publish it…
HMCE couldn’t grasp that they were the ones causing the situation via their malfeasance and general stupidity.
Investigations are fine but these fools were going around lying about me and tortiously interfering with everyone connected with me – does this sound familiar in 2016? Ha ha!
Just like the long-haired bird in the cartoon above, I was asking my local tree about ‘my path and how am I ever going to find it’. The tree responded that I should ‘listen to everything around me… and that will guide me… and that I should listen with my heart’. As the tree started singing I decided to ‘leave’ at that point 🙂 The tree was asking me to use Technical Surveillance Counter Measures and Forensic Analysis and to listen to my heart. As that is ridiculously...
Early Identification of Issues From around August 2015 I identified increased covert surveillance and electronic disruption. Actually I first realised there was an issue from around April 2014 around the time of a mailshot that joanne sent about Daljit’s money but things were getting hot during the summer.
When Cases Collapse
National Crime Agency (“NCA”) ‘Tough Tess’ (aka The Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) was responsible for the National Crime Agency’s doors opening in October 2013. Well, as they were dubbed as the UK’s answer to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) I suppose it was more the opening of other people’s doors!
As it happened the money laundering projects were entirely successful; ‘blatant entrapment’ is extremely effective in catching criminals and is now used all the time without much regard for the law, regrettably. There are degrees of entrapment and ‘fifty shades of grey’ is always handy for law enforcement.
In any event, in 2016 we have far more robust structures. There are different entities which hold assets, different entities that transact with clients, different entities that transact with suppliers, different entities which engage with human resources, different entities that make payments, different entities that control the main information technology infrastructure and some arms-length agreements to make the whole thing work. By way of information this is the reason that invoices appear to ‘go backwards and forwards’ in case people are wondering, and why the bank balances are usually low.
However, I learned five things from 1992 to 2000, namely:-
(a) losing millions of pounds is better than your best friend losing her life;
(b) never go around with a begging bowl when working on clandestine projects with powerful people, even when they start messing up;
(c) protect your ass at all times because you use it for sitting on;
(d) do not borrow any money via commercial entities;
(e) ‘NEVER, EVER, RAT ON YOUR PALS’.
And I am not going to say anything else about anything else, because ‘Silence is Golden’ 🙂
This is what I am going to do:-
'For Your Eyes Only' via Section 6 UK Justice and Security Act 2013
“James Bond Agent 007 is assigned to hunt for a lost British encryption device and prevent it from falling into enemy hands.” But what about Joe de Saram Agent 001 and his encryption stuff? Ha ha!
Public disclosure some years later, which confirms that which I said:–
Fake Bank Set Up by U.S. Agents Snares Drug-Money Launderers
About the Archive This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems. Please send reports of such problems to ...
FAKE DEA BANK STINGS CALI CARTEL
There was not much to the office on the island of Anguilla in the British West Indies but, with a computer and a facsimile machine, undercover agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) convinced the Cali cartel that it was an offshore bank willing to launder drug profits in one of the most elaborate sting operations ever conducted.
The Beeper, the Pay Phone and the DEA's 'Operation Dinero' : Make a deal to help them and they fix you up with a beeper and a code, then have you calling all over town.
Beepers and pay phones. For modern-day criminal organizations, they are more important tools than guns or getaway cars. A prime example: the sophisticated money-laundering "cells" of Colombia's cocaine cartels. Make a deal to help them out and they fix you up with a beeper and a code, then have you calling all over town--to a motel pay phone
How a big US bank laundered billions from Mexico's murderous drug gangs
As the violence spread, billions of dollars of cartel cash began to seep into the global financial system. But a special investigation by the Observer reveals how the increasingly frantic warnings of one London whistleblower were ignored
Joseph S R de Saram (JSRDS)