When I started writing “Sun Tzu and the Art of Litigation” more than 20 years ago, there was no world wide web.


I was woken in the early hours of this morning by a message from a close friend, who works for an airline and was in Europe getting ready for a flight. “Check out MH17” was all it said.

I checked. MH17, a Boeing 777, had been shot down while overflying territory controlled by Russian backed, Russian armed, Russian funded and Russian encouraged terrorists in the Ukraine.


A few days ago, I started writing a blog called “Taking a punt on ISIS.” The title is a pun (I like headlines that twist language much more than those that scream “Top Ten Ways To…” and then say something utterly banal like “mess up your job application”).


Tired of the security (and personal) implications of Firefox’s default settings that show a “quick dial” image of recent pages when you open a new tab?


It’s been two months since I last sat at my desk in Kuala Lumpur and a long trip to the UK for family reasons has demonstrated to me that there are significant differences in the way that the UK, so long seen as progressive and Malaysia, long seen as behind the curve, function.


I’m in the UK. It’s surprising how quickly one becomes an alien in one’s own land: putting petrol in a car at a Sainsbury’s filling station, I stood trying to work out where to put my card for prepayment.

Then I found the sign: “at pump payment coming soon.”


Sitting at home doing all kinds of things - including researching and writing both "Sun Tzu and the Art of Litigation" and "How does that make you feel" as well as other work that kept me locked to my desktop for, in total more than a year, I've just been re-introduced to the delights of long distance travel. I was looking forward to it: I used to spend as much as 200 nights a year away from home, often sleeping on a plane between leaving a meeting at the end of one day and just getting to the next early in the morning.

There was even a plan, just for the hell of it, to present a...


It is often said that there are no coincidences. But unless one believes in some kind of grand-master who manages the minutiae of the lives of all creatures and things on Earth, and beyond, sometimes it is clear coincidences do exist.

Here’s an example.


Shhhh. “How does that make you feel – identifying suspicion in money laundering and terrorist financing”(1) has gone through final editing and pre-press and is now in proofing (which is a bit of a technicality because it’s been proofed in its final print format several times during production). Looking good to pop out of this final stage later today (tomorrow in the USA) Why “shhhhh?” Now it’s all in someone else’s hands and I’m going to sleep for three days.


Much to my shock, the book on suspicion has now grown to the point where it has to be reformatted to take account of its new thickness (that is in the number of pages, not the stupidity of the author).


28 February 2014 – a day I’ll remember – it’s the day my son’s first album was released and immediately (i.e. that day) went to number 3 in the Taiwan music charts.


I’m feeling all loved up this morning and it’s not just because it’s Valentine’s Day.

There is so much to enjoy and celebrate.


I’m always amazed by how supposedly clever people feel the need to prove their assumed superiority by excluding the very people they need to communicate with.


Looking into suspicion for the new book “How does that make you feel?” with the subtitle of “Understanding Suspicion in Financial Crime”, an important source of material is in relation to stop and search. Add in profiling and predictive policing and it all starts to look a bit like the Tom Cruise film “Minority Report.”


1500 words on philosophy and quantum physics and how they apply to the decision making process in financial institutions when trying to identify financial crime.

Not a bad morning’s work.


I’m grateful to NatWest for telling me of a possible security breach relating to my “Credit Card Online Service” but there are a couple of factors that don’t quite hang true – aside from the basic one that, like most recipients of phishing mails, I don’t have an account with the target bank.


I have just watched the entire speech by US President Obama given at the US Department of Justice. I watched it with my friend in Paris : both of us watching the BBC until they cut away with only a few minutes to go so they could interview one of their own journalists standing in the cold of a Washington winter. Then we switched to CNN where, fortunately, they didn’t discuss it in their usual banal fashion.

Which is good because we were discussing it over an internet phone connection as it was going.


At long last the US has taken action against one of the entities that failed to properly monitor the fraudulent activities of Bernard Madoff.

One has to hope that the investigation does not stop there: his activities were not, presumably, conducted only through JP Morgan.


The recent example of a satirical article ascribing comments to the Pope, and the editorialising that surrounded those comments, is thought provoking and funny - but only if you know it's a joke.

Regrettably, the internet, due to the lack of ethics and honesty, to say nothing of in some cases downright malicious or self-promoting actions, of some users, means that the story has spread far and wide - without the warning that it's satire.


Dear Google

My name and e-mail address have been used in a fraudulent spam campaign which, it is foreseeable, might also relate to the financing of terrorism.


The news that Ireland has paid back its EU bailout money is a surprise. What is not a surprise is its immediate response to so doing.


We, as an industry, are increasingly sold the idea that social media is the first reliable port of call for due diligence: basically, the idea is that if a person doesn't have, for example, a Facebook or a LinkedIn profile, they don't exist, that they are inherently somehow lacking in credibility.

The argument is that the opposite is true: that an effective social media presence confirms that person's existence and presents corroboration of what they are saying.

It's not as reliable as it seems. And worse, it's causing a credibility issue for companies.


Good morning

I'm Nigel Morris-Cotterill, one of your contacts at LinkedIn. I'm a specialist in Financial Crime Risk and Compliance and I find LinkedIn to be full of "noise" from hundreds of "likes" of jobs, magazine articles, puzzles and games.

*The links in this article are to out of date locations or to obsolete material*


The UNODC works hard, ceaselessly, not entirely tirelessly, to combat a wide range of serious offences that not only harm economies but put lives at risk. They run campaigns. Today, as "Anti Corruption Day" dawns, one has to ask why they bother.


Within the past couple of days, a report from the Financial Action Task Force, who one would think knows about money laundering risk management and related topics, talks about "hawalas.