Why would a billionaire from the Middle East need Yorgen Fenech to move €10 billion from Deutsche Bank and Saudi Arabia to a small and private bank in Monaco?
The answer I assume, is money laundering.
This is Olivier Giaume of Banque Havilland, a small private bank in Luxembourg and Monaco that handles the funds of rich individuals and families. Olivier Giaume was so eager to meet his business quota for his “nice bonus” that he didn’t mind doing business with Yorgen Fenech after it was known that he was laundering money with top Maltese government officials, to mainly, receive a transfer of €10 billion in bank deposit by a Saudi billionaire brokered by Yorgen Fenech.
I don’t want to sound prejudicial here. I’m sure there are many legitimate users of small and private banks, however, my common sense tells me that a normal financial risk assessment would not approve a €10 billion transfer to a small and private bank in Monaco – any reasonable risk manager would advise to divide the sum into many small parts and allocate it to as many different banks possible. But then again, even keeping €10 billion in cash in any bank as personal funds is unusual by any measure.
This story gets even weirder when you consider the fact that this bank was going to accept a deposit from a single customer which was more than six times bigger than the bank’s total assets. The transactions assumedly did not happen because Yorgen Fenech got arrested soon after he was brokering this deposit.
The reality is that in many cases small and private banks in small jurisdictions are vehicles for money laundering. There are very few incentives to hold funds in a small and private bank unless the fund manager is a superstar money-maker beating the market year after year because holding big sums of money in bigger and major banks is safer and provides you with increased optionality for your funds. Probably, the biggest incentive to hold billions of Euros in a small and private bank is discretion for illicit reasons and mainly a lack of enforcement of AML and KYC rules.