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News in Brief – July 2021

Americas

  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is cracking down on crypto-asset tax evasion with virtual currencies and non-fungible tokens. Although designed to be invisible, this scrutiny also aims to identify users who use crypto to launder funds
  • Commission-free stock mobile trading platform Robinhood fined $70m by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for “systemic supervisory failures in several critical parts of its business” 
  • Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has announced the first government-wide list of priorities (below) for anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing, as required by the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (the AML Act) ahead of any Bank Secrecy Act changes. Priority list:
    1. Corruption
    2. Cybercrime, including Relevant Cybersecurity and Virtual Currency
    3. Terrorist Financing
    4. Fraud
    5. Transnational Criminal Organization Activity
    6. Drug Trafficking Organization Activity
    7. Human Trafficking and Human Smuggling
    8. Proliferation Financing

APAC

  • Changpeng Zhao, boss of the world’s largest crypto exchange Binance and any entity related within the Binance Group. The group holds existing UK authority which has now been sanctioned by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) from carrying out any regulated activity in the UK. Find out about our Sanctions risk assessment solution
  • Following the Philippines grey-listing by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the country has experienced a weakening of their currency against the dollar 
  • With South Korea’s crypto industry booming, the country wants to continue allowing exchanges however they will be governed by strict regulations with the government setting a September 2021 deadline for compliance
  • Coles hires Mabel Wong (ex-CSR Asia/Elevate and ex-Child Helpline International) to strengthen the ethical sourcing team as they aim to become Australia’s most sustainable supermarket and eradicate any human rights violations and other abuses from its supply chain. Mabel will focus on ensuring suppliers meet the high standards of business integrity within the areas of human rights, health & safety and environment. Want to know more about our Modern Slavery solutions
  • Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and Australian Federal Police is investigating JobKeeper, super withdrawal and small business cash flow boost claims for fraud and ineligibility. $138 million of the $284 million JobKeeper overpayments have already been retrieved. We’ve got a Fraud risk assessment solution for your business
  • South West accountant accused of making tens of millions of dollars from investors in Western Australia in alleged Ponzi scheme and he refuses to pay it back
  • Skills shortage within financial crime compliance driving a change in law following issues with 2 of the big major banks in Australia. Whilst technology roles are highly regarded as a priority migration skilled occupation, financial crime roles are currently not. Discover some financial crime solutions that can help

Europe

  • European Banking Authority (EBA) and European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published heir final joint guidelines. The focus was on the assessment of members of the management body and key function holder staking into account amendments to Capital Requirements Directive and the Investment Firms Directive particularly regarding money laundering and financing terrorism risks and gender diversity. The joint guidelines will apply from 31 December
  • A Europe-wide operation co-ordinated in the UK by the Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit of the National Crime Agency (NCA) with British police enforcement, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, Immigration and Border Force in response to the increase in child criminal and drug related exploitation. Typically, once trafficked, children are often sold for criminality, labour and sexual exploitation. Click to find out about our Human Trafficking or Modern Slavery solutions
  • Cyprus leading the initial changes to the introduction of Crypto-Asset Services Providers (CASPS) regulation transposed within the 5th AML Directive’s provisions
  • Europe proposes a new agency to focus on AML to be part of broader plans to address failures that has targeted the region as a financial crime haven
  •  Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has issued their first ever report on environmental crime and money laundering 

MENA

  • A Kuwaiti lawyer and his expat client has been sentenced to 5 years in prison and has had his license to practice law revoked after bribery issues at an airport. His client was under investigation with issued arrest warrants and the lawyer knowingly bribed a passport officer with a large sum of money to provide an exit stamp. Find out about our Anti-Bribery and Corruption solutions
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE) Central Bank spells out guidance for any risks associated with financial dealings with property and precious metals ad stones to combat money laundering and counter terrorism financing (AML/CTF)
  • US Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller announced that the US will provide $27 million to help Iraq tackle financial crime as part of the UN Development Programme for the country
  • Momentum Entities, Momentum Wealth and Momentum Collective Investments (MCI) fined over R1 million and has administrative sanctions imposed by Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) for inadequate controls 

UK

  • 38 arrested after human trafficking operation uncovered. Approximately 100 victims already identified in ‘Project Aidant’, a NCA-led week long law enforcement crackdown targeting child traffickers. Find out about our Human Trafficking solutions  
  • London’s MET Economic Crime Command have seized $158 million dollars worth of crypto-assets after a money laundering investigation
  • Google is aligning with the guidance which requires any financial services advertisers to ensure they are authorised by the FCA. The FCA produced guidance for financial services products both regulated and not regulated by them to avoid scammers exploiting its platform

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