- Money laundering: In any story you read about money laundering in Kenya, one of the best examples you get is that of Crucial properties which held a foreign currency account with Charterhouse bank. The company owned by among others Humphrey Kariuki (Wines of the World; Dalbit Petroleum and I think former proprietor of Green Corner in Nai) was investigated by CBK after it received $25m from either Leichstein or Jersey (depends who you ask). CBK reckoned this was drug money. Charterhouse refused to provide details and the whole thing went to court. The judge allowed Charterhouse to go scot free. In the meantime, the CBK team doing investigations discovered that Charterhouse had like 200 customers with 20,000 accounts. Many lacked basic know-your-customer information, but were clearly opened for the the purpose of layering where you disguise the source of your money by making multiple transactions into different accounts. That money-laundering only became illegal in Kenya this year is neither here nor there. When CBK delved it discovered the following other crimes none which have ever been successfully prosecuted because CB and related players pay well.
- Tax evasion: Charterhouse helped Nakumatt (had a 10% stake in CB), to effectively under-declare it sales which meant that its tax payments to GoK were something like Ksh50m compared to Ksh500m for the smaller Uchumi! Effectively, Nakumatt and associates had not paid taxes amounting to Ksh18bn going by the CBK findings. How? Suppliers were paid into their CB accounts where they would either ship the money abroad or shift into several other accounts within CB. When KRA came, it started chasing the account holders. Those cases are still pending.
- Large exposure breaches: Means nothing to most of us, but most banks that have either been conduits of crime or played with the idea of collapsing always do so because they breach larg exposure requirements. In layman terms, no one customer should more than 25% of a bank's loans or deposits. Reason being, if the customer collapses and goes to heaven tomorrow, the bank will more or less follow (though presumably not to heaven). Nakumatt and associates probably did something like 50% of all CB's business. CB also broke banking rules on lending to employees;
Why did Charterhouse survive to awake now as its threatening to do? The owners of CB are well connected characters.
Fuller details here.