On the 15th November 2013 I made a wire transfer using Permanent TSB Open24. Open24 is an online banking service. For those of you who do not know, Permanent TSB is a retail bank that operates in the Republic of Ireland.
Worthy of note is that retail banking in the Republic is characterised by spectacular systems malfunctions, outages, IT meltdowns and downright thievery.
But that’s ok because the government of Ireland loves banks and they can really do or not do (as is often the case) what they like – without fear of sanction. Oh, and when they lose their shirts gambling with their customers money then the Irish tax payer gets to pay for it. But I digress.
When Kids Try To Be Adults
I first became aware of my international arms purchasing activities when I received a phone call on my cell phone from a private number. I answered and was greeted by a what sounded like a teenage girl who informed me that an intermediary bank, used by Permanent TSB for payments to South East Asia, had sent an email to the bank requesting information about an international payment that I had made a few days previously.
Before describing the contents of the email, the clearly worried banker (worried because she was talking to an international arms dealer who buys his weapons over the open internet (who needs the Dark Web)), stated that I had bought a heavy machine gun and that I had asked that it be mailed to the address of one of our corporate apartments in Dublin, Ireland. As you do.
The intermediary bank was CitiBank in Frankfurt she informed me. They had contacted the Treasury Department and they in turn were dealing directly with the beneficiary bank in Singapore who were the first to flag the transaction.
The email read:
REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED
The beneficiary Bank sent the below SWIFT message to our treasury department via CitiBank:
WE HAVE BEEN INFORMED THAT THE BENEFICIARY BANK IS UNABLE TO APPLY THIS PAYMENT AND STATES:
- PLEASE CONTACT REMITTER TO OBTAIN BELOW.
- WHAT DOES TMG REFER TO PER F70?
- WHAT DOES IT STAND FOR?
- WHAT IS ITS FULL FORM?
- IF IT REFERS TO AN ORGANIZATION, PLS OBTAIN THE FOLLOWING:
- FULL NAME.
- FULL PHYSICAL ADDRESS AND COUNTRY OF LOCATION.
I trust the above is in order.
She informed me that the Bank could not facilitate international arms purchases and that law enforcement had been informed including the local police station to the bank branch from which my transaction emanated, the Organised Crime Unit, and of course Security & Intelligence. The latter is the central point of contact for An Garda Síochána with all external agencies – both law enforcement and security/intelligence – with regard to international cooperation in the fight against terrorism and organised crime.
The Very Boring Reality
The transfer that caused this international “counter-terrorism / counter organised crime” flurry of activity between one local bank, two international banks and law enforcement in three countries was made by me to an organisation called SERVCORP.
SERVCORP is a company in SINGAPORE that provide a telephone answering service for my company TMG Corporate Services. The actual mandate for the transfer had been set up months previously by Permanent TSB themselves at the request of TMG Corporate Services Accounts Department. The same payment had been made on several previous occasions.
The transfer they said was for the purchase of an automatic weapon namely a BROWNING M2 Machine Gun TMG F70.
And how had they come to this conclusion? Well, simply because the reference on the payment was TMGF70. The reference was TMGF70 because that was the reference used by SERVCORP on the invoice that they had issued for that months services.
“TMG” being an acronym for The Mediator Group and F70 some internal reference for SERVCORP.
The Browning M2
The Browning M2 is a chain-fed, air-cooled heavy machine gun (TMG) in caliber 12.70 x 99 mm NATO , produced by the American manufacturer Browning at the end of World War II. The rifle has a maximum range of 7,500 meters and an effective range of 1,800 meters and can use different types of ammunition: full sharp, armor, armor fire and tracer.
Here I am proudly modelling a “Ma Deuce” I managed to buy in the duty free shop at Heathrow Airport.
What was even more impressive about my purchase was that I acquired this impressive weapon for SGD$70 or EUR€45.25 at todays spot rate on XE.COM.