Commonwealth Bank of Australia(CBA), the largest bank in Australia in August,2017 was charged with a massive fine by banking regulatory body, AUSTRAC. CBA was charged that it failed to monitor the illegal deposit of money through its intelligent deposit machines and indirectly it had allowed money laundering.
Without getting into specifics of the charges and the causes behind it,what was interesting to note the technique used in the money laundering was called ‘cuckoo smurfing’.
The term ‘cuckoo smurfing’ originated in Europe because of similarities between this typology and the activities of the cuckoo bird. Cuckoo birds lay their eggs in the nests of other species of birds which then unwittingly take care of the eggs believing them to be their own. In a similar manner, the perpetrators of this money laundering typology seek to transfer wealth through the bank accounts of innocent third parties.In this money laundering technique, multiple people to make the deposits in different branches across a network, to attempt to avoid detection. It also involves piggybacking on legitimate international funds transfers being made by unwitting customers.
Cuckoos for ages get referenced only for their melodious voice, but they do teach some interesting practices. Can’t this practice of cuckoos not be used by big companies to incubate new ideas in separate entity and attract investments before they buy it back to bring it to their mainstream business ?