Late yesterday, I posted to LinkedIn a message about the way sound travels around the concrete canyons in Kuala Lumpur. I had tried to work out the location that a sound originated from but had fallen into helpless giggles when I realised that I could only calculate the position of the source if I had the location of the source. That, of course, was a circular argument and of no value to anyone.

Why, one might ask, would anyone bother? In my case, it's partly that I really hate not knowing stuff once I'm interested in it. The second is this: when we are dealing with suspicion, we are dealing with imprecise data. We have facts but the conclusion we reach is an opinion based upon our own subjective (i.e. personal) interpretation of those facts.

Here, with the answer to the puzzle which woke me after two hours sleep and refused to let me go back to bed until I'd documented it, is how and why this is important in financial crime risk management.

Life's funny and the world is tiny. And there is no such thing as no such thing as coincidences.

I've been called many things over time - usually by people who wanted to make me feel inferior. Generally, it hasn't worked: either they are telling the truth, in which case it has no impact or they are lying in which case they are beneath contempt and merely trying to make themselves look important at my expense. But of late, one word has been applied to me more than once: I am, apparently, a contrarian. Actually, I'm not - but if calling me that makes you feel better, go ahead. But you are wrong.

You know the old joke - you know when you are travelling too much when you refer to cities by their airport codes?

Well, yes, that's exactly what I'm reduced to. Having just got home to Kuala Lumpur after KUL, CAN, HRB and return (delayed a day because the otherwise excellent China Southern cancelled one of my flights and gave me a key-ring to make up for it), I'm now setting up the schedules for the final (so far as I know) legs of my seminar tour.

When the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) story first appeared, I instructed World Money Laundering Report that we should not become involved in what would inevitably become a frenzy of speculation and ill-informed comment as consultants (of which I am, obviously, one) and media outlets vied to benefit their own profile, and to get website visits, while the story was hot. I wrote what amounted to a placeholder article .


It's been a long while since I did a personal newsletter to my 20,000 plus contacts. A lot's been happening that isn't work related and one of the things that got shoved aside has been this monthly note.

Let's get started...

Some people might argue that I'm a Luddite but nothing could be further from the truth. I have long been an early adopter of new technology. What I am not is a follower of fashion. And after a few days with what may be the worst car Mercedes have ever made, I'm even more convinced we need to stop the constant revision of things just so someone can put a "new" sticker on it.

I could go on for hours, days even, about how easy it is to use various techniques to manipulate the thoughts of a person who is targeted as a vehicle for financial crime. Hell, I do go on for hours, days even, about it when people pay me to present seminars that show them how their companies can avoid being a victim of such offences. But some of the most fun lessons are found when I, me, the one who knows, understands and communicates this stuff, falls victim...

As readers of my Tropical City Discs column will know, my family moved around a lot when I was young.

I decided that I'd celebrate that - with a seminar tour taking in some of the places that formed me...

You can find full details of the seminar at Below: something about the places I'll visit on the tour.

The seminars take in London, Birmingham, Chesterfield, Preston and Stockton on Tees.