Day: July 8, 2020

Payments fraudsters spy Covid-19 opportunity in strained supply chains

In March, Interpol revealed details of a criminal scheme involving compromised emails, advance-payment fraud and money laundering across Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands.

The case involved two sales companies in Zurich and Hamburg, contracted by German health authorities to procure face masks, that were duped into making payments to what they thought was a legitimate supplier.

The fraud amounted to €2.3 million. Fortunately, the funds were traced before they could be disbursed, but Interpol’s general secretary noted how the fraudsters had adapted their sales pitches to take advantage of strained supply chains following lockdown.

It seems to be part of a trend.


Martina Zimmerl,

Raiffeisen Bank International’s (RBI) head of trade finance Martina Zimmerl has seen a slight increase in financial crime and a higher level of preliminary injunctions since the start of the pandemic, although whether this is fraud- or credit risk-related will only become clear when inspectors have assessed each case.

“We have also seen increased instances of non-clients approaching us for the financing of medical supplies from China to Europe on a pre-payment basis,” she says.

“None of these requests have so far materialized, partly because of commercial non-viability and also because after thorough due diligence it appeared that the supplier could not procure the goods at all or in the required quality.”

The bank believes

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Did Germany’s KfW support scheme fail?

Despite offering twice as much liquidity to corporates as everyone else, Germany has extended fewer state-backed coronavirus emergency loans than any other big economy in Europe.

France, Spain, the UK and Italy are ahead of it in this regard. Indeed, French state development bank BPI had agreed state-backed coronavirus loans of more than €100 billion by mid-summer.

By contrast, Germany’s coronavirus loans programme, managed primarily by BPI equivalent KfW, had inked less than half that number by then, despite the much bigger size of the German economy.

We thought the numbers would be much higher and we are happy that they are not that high 

 – Lutz-Christian Funke, KfW

Of the €756 billion in new state-backed coronavirus loans that Berlin pledged in March – about twice as much as any other European state – only 5% was committed by the end of June, according to end-of-June figures compiled by Brussels think tank Bruegel and the Peterson Institute.

By then, Italy had reached about 17% of its commitment, like France, of €300 billion. The UK had extended 18% of its €330 billion scheme. Spain, meanwhile, had distributed almost half of its €183 billion programme.


What conclusions should be drawn from this? Is it because state support was so unambiguous in Germany that business and financial confidence remained that much

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Stop Trying to Do it All

Owning or running a small business is like standing in front a firehose that’s blasting out an endless stream of things you should be doing. RIGHT NOW! Every day, there are a few crises to solve, employees to train, new customers to help, new industry products or services to consider, vendors or agents or salespeople who want to meet with you and a dozen or so new dot-somethings you’re supposed to sign up for and start uploading photos, updates and videos throughout the day and night. Oh, and then there’s your actual job of making or selling a product or serving a client. And what about that family you vaguely recall?

If you run a small business, you already know how to cope: You start by accepting the fact that you can’t do it all. Or, as author Greg McKeown says in his bestselling book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, “Pursue only those things that are truly important — and forget everything else…You can’t have it all, and you can’t do it all.”

In his book, he writes, “Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment

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