Category: Money Laundering

The Challenges of Combating Money Laundering in a Pandemic World

By Adriana Babi – Compliance Researcher and member of OAB Compliance Commission In a pandemic scenario full of uncertainties, efforts are directed towards the pursuit of normality, and what we know is that for some time to come, we will live this “new normal”, but how to conceptualize the current reality in the perspective of combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (LD / FT)? In general terms, money laundering consists of transforming resources obtained illegally into lawful resources. In Brazil, the crime of money laundering is regulated by Law 9,613, of March 1998, whereas terrorism consists of the practice… Read More

Implications of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (2020) for FinTechs

By Jeff Horvath, Co-Founder and CEO, DigiPli The Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (AMLA 2020) became law in early January, with major implications across institutional finance, including FinTechs. It introduced the biggest changes to the AML regime since the PATRIOT ACT of 2001 and was passed with strong bipartisan support. The Act remediates certain weaknesses in existing AML requirements, addresses new issues arising from advances in the financial markets and technology, and enhances regulatory coordination. FinTechs with US operations should closely analyze AMLA 2020, as it will require both changes to their AML programs and controls, and impact how they… Read More

Capital One: What its US$390m fine tells us about AML Regulation

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, announced in January 2021 that Capital One would be required to pay a hefty $390 million penalty for AML violations under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). The bank admitted to wilfully failing to implement and maintain effective AML procedures to guard against money laundering, also failing to file thousands of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) and Currency Transactions Reports (CTRs) with respect to its Cash Checking Group business unit. The violations occurred from (at least) 2008 – 2014, seeing millions of dollars in suspicious transactions go unreported and therefore laundered through the bank into… Read More

Anti-money laundering rules to fight the culture of secrecy

The new rules state that art and antique dealers in the United Kingdom and the European Union now have to notify the true recipients of their sales. Will the new anti-money laundering regulations improve the culture of secrecy deeply rooted in the art market? In society, it advocates ancient customs of commodity and body discretion that foster transactions. Collectors have long appreciated the secret wealthy, which is also part of the mysterious universe of auction houses. When a Botticelli bottle was auctioned last month for $ 92 million at Sotheby’s in New York, it was speculated that the buyer was… Read More

Crown Resorts chief Ken Barton resigns amid money laundering scandal

The chief executive of Australian casino group Crown Resorts has quit amid a scandal over money laundering allegations within its casinos. Ken Barton’s departure follows that of several other company directors. Last week an inquiry found Crown was not fit to hold a gaming licence in New South Wales, meaning it cannot operate its newly built casino in Sydney. The report has also thrown doubt over Crown’s casinos in other cities. Crown, which is majority-owned by Australian billionaire James Packer, has been dogged by allegations of illegal activity for years at its casinos in Melbourne and Perth. Its operations overseas… Read More

New U.S. Financial Crimes rules intensify risks for non U.S. banks

Fitch Ratings-Stockholm/London/New York-24 February 2021: Significant revisions to US anti money-laundering (AML) rules intensify financial crime risks for non-US banks by increasing the scope of potential investigations by the US government and raising financial penalties, according to Fitch Ratings. Any weaknesses in governance could be ratings relevant but increased enforcement raises the potential for sanctions and fines that can have more meaningful consequences for ratings. Lower tolerance of governance failures from a wide range of stakeholders reinforces Fitch’s view that governance and financial crimes risks, along with associated penalties and indirect business costs, are becoming more punitive for banks globally.… Read More

Jersey firms fined for breaching financial crime measures

Three banking firms have been fined more than £700,000 for breaching anti-money laundering regulations. A Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) investigation found the SGKH entities had failed to show “adequate risk management systems in place”. It included missing minutes from board meetings and a failure to notify the JFSC when rules were breached. The commission said it intended the fines to act as “a deterrent for all regulated businesses”. SGKH Bank, SGKH Trust and SGKH Corporate provide wealth management services from Jersey and form a sub-group of the UK regulated SG Kleinwort Hambros Bank. Between 1 January 2018 and May… Read More

Europe’s new AML rules will include provisions to report on crypto-to-crypto transactions for the first time

EUROPE’S new AML rules will include far closer scrutiny of crypto exchanges, we can reveal. Right now exchanges must only report currency to crypto transactions. Under new rules to be announced within weeks, the exchanges will also be obliged to report on crypto to crypto transactions, AML Intelligence has learned. The changes will be part of the European Commission’s announcement of the rollout its AML Action Plan. The move to demand reports of crypto to crypto transfers was welcomed today by Pawel Kuskowski CEO of crypto AML/KYC compliance company, Coinfirm. “I think this is critical to have crypto to crypto… Read More

Universities are leaving themselves open to money laundering by accepting cash

It is a sign of how narrowly we perceive the threat posed by money laundering that the problem is too often framed around taxi companies, car washes, and less than reputable property developers. But in reality, the conduits for this global scourge are increasingly complex, and we should not pretend that our lauded education system is somehow immune. A startling investigation by the Times newspaper found that at least 49 universities across the UK have accepted more £50 million in cash payments over the past five years for tuition, accommodation, and other course fees. Those who received the banknote payments… Read More

Dubai’s DFSA fines former DIFC employee US$165,000

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has levied a fine of $165,000 against Ashish Bhandari – a former relationship manager with a private bank in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) – due to his involvement in breaches of anti-money laundering regulations. The authority has also restricted him from performing any function in connection with the provision of financial services in or from the DIFC. On September 17, 2020, the DFSA decided to take enforcement action against Bhandari for being knowingly involved in breaches of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) legislation from 2011 to 2013 and for obstructing the DFSA in 2017 and… Read More

Four nations including Morocco and Cayman Islands added to FATF ‘grey list’

Four nations have been added to the Financial Action Task Force ‘grey list’ following an extensive 3-day virtual summit. The first FATF plenary of 2021 wrapped up Thursday with the announcement that the Cayman Islands, Morocco, Burkina Faso and Senegal were now on the ‘list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring’ – joining fifteen other territories already there. While by no means a ‘do-not-approach’ list, it does highlight jurisdictions that have identified gaps in their AML frameworks and committed to working with FATF to resolve them. All four countries will now be subject to periodic assessment going forward as they work… Read More

Malaysia’s AmBank agrees to $700m settlement for role in 1MDB scandal

Malaysian banking group AMMB Holdings Berhad (AmBank) said on Friday it will pay the government 2.83 billion ringgit ($699 million) to settle claims linked to a massive financial scandal at state fund 1MDB, a hefty payment that is expected to have a material impact on the group’s earnings. AmBank Group has been under scrutiny over its role in the alleged theft of $4.5 billion from 1Malaysia Development Berhad, a state fund former prime minister Najib Razak set up in 2009. Last year, Najib was found guilty of corruption and money laundering over the transfer of millions of dollars linked to… Read More

FinCEN Announces $390,000,000 Enforcement Action Against Capital One

FinCEN Announces $390,000,000 Enforcement Action Against Capital One, National Association for Violations of the Bank Secrecy Act WASHINGTON—The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today announced that Capital One, National Association (Capital One) has been assessed a $390,000,000 civil money penalty for engaging in both wilful and negligent violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and its implementing regulations. Specifically, FinCEN determined and Capital One admitted to wilfully failing to implement and maintain an effective Anti-Money Laundering (AML) program to guard against money laundering. Capital One also admitted that it wilfully failed to file thousands of suspicious activity reports (SARs), and… Read More

U.S. Anti-Money Laundering Law Set to Change Antiquities Trade

U.S. Anti-Money Laundering Law Set to Change Antiquities Trade as Buyers’ Identities No Longer Concealed The U.S. Congress recently passed the Anti-Money Laundering Act (the “Act”) of 2020, in which art and antiquities dealers are bracing themselves for more stringent federal oversight. Under the bill, the antiquities sector will no longer be spared from the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). The new regulations require antiquities dealers to report any suspicious activities and any cash transactions exceeding US$10,000 to the authorities, and to ensure that potential buyers are not among those being sanctioned by the U.S. government. The liability of extensive record-keeping… Read More

Digitization of Financial Services has Opened the Doors for More Complex Financial Crime

Digitization of financial services has opened the doors for more complex financial crime, says ACAMS’ McDonell The continuing modernization and digitization of the financial services industry made easier access to financial services more available to everyone, but it also has created the opportunity for illicit actors to concoct more complex, digitized crimes. In an interview with Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence, Rick McDonell, executive director of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS), discusses this crucial development and notes how important it is for financial institutions to ensure that their compliance departments and officers are properly trained to detect this… Read More

UK Gambling Regulator Fines White Hat Gaming over Anti-Money Laundering Failings

UK gambling regulators have reached a £1.3m settlement with licensee White Hat Gaming after the company’s approach to social responsibility (SR) and anti-money laundering (AML) was found wanting. On Thursday, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) announced the regulatory settlement with White Hat Gaming regarding its “inadequate” policies and procedures for identifying and managing customers deemed to be at a higher risk for problem gambling and money laundering. The shortcomings involved seven customers’ accounts at four White Hat sites – Grandivy.com, 21Casino.com, Hellocasino.com and Dreamvegas.com – that emerged following a March 2019 UKGC compliance assessment. The following January, the UKGC notified… Read More

HMRC Issues Record £23.8m Fine for Money Laundering Breaches

Money services business fined for flouting money laundering regulations. Today (7 January 2021), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) published the latest list of businesses handed fines for breaching strict regulations aimed at preventing criminals from laundering illicit cash. The list includes money transfer company MT Global Limited, which has been handed the largest ever fine issued by HMRC, for significant breaches of the regulations between July 2017 and December 2019 relating to: risk assessments and associated record-keeping policies, controls and procedures fundamental customer due diligence measures Nick Sharp, Deputy Director of Economic Crime, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Businesses who… Read More

Time for a Free Public Registry of Corporate Beneficial Ownership in the U.S.

In the tumult of recent weeks, a major legislative milestone in the American fight against kleptocracy has sneaked by almost unnoticed. It demands our attention, especially because its work is only half done. On Jan. 1, the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) was signed into law, when Congress overrode then-President Donald Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act, to which it was attached. The CTA mandates that the incorporators of new corporations or limited liability partnerships will have to file annually to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the Department of the Treasury (FinCEN), listing the names, dates of birth,… Read More

2020: We cast a cold eye over the 15 major highlights of a financial crime year in review

As we near the end of one of the toughest years for people and businesses in decades, we take a look back at some of the biggest happenings in the world of financial crime, corruption and the laws in place to stop it. 1. Cryptocurrency: the way of the future2020 has seen governments across the world tighten their grip on virtual assets. They were once seen as an easy pathway to launder money, but this year, the trend accelerates away from that. This month, France announced sweeping new KYC measures for all crypto companies operating within its borders. Registration will… Read More

Advocates Celebrate Major US Anti-Money Laundering Victory

Landmark laws to thwart the use of U.S. shell companies by terrorists, human traffickers, arms dealers and kleptocrats are set to be enacted after more than a decade of lobbying and politicking with rare bipartisan support. The sweeping anti-money laundering reforms hitched a lift in the annual defense spending bill that passed the Senate 84-13 today, and was approved by the House 355-78 earlier this week. The Corporate Transparency Act requires U.S. companies to report their true owners to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, known as FinCEN — largely ending anonymous shell companies in the country. The International… Read More

The Hague Court of Appeal wants the Public Prosecution Service to prosecute Ralph Hamers, former CEO of ING Bank

In 2018, due to a failing anti-money laundering policy, ING Bank reached a settlement of 775 million euros with the Public Prosecution Service. Ralph Hamers remained out of harm’s way. Pieter Lakeman, chairman of Stichting Onderzoek Bedrijfs Informatie (SOBI) asked the Court of Appeal to compel the Public Prosecution Service to prosecute Ralph Hamers, who has been CEO of the Swiss bank UBS since September. The Court considers it important “that the standard is confirmed in public criminal proceedings and that bank directors cannot go unpunished if prohibited conduct actually took place during their leadership. Citizens must be able to… Read More

National Risk Assessment of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing 2020

The 2020 national risk assessment (NRA) is the third comprehensive assessment of money laundering and terrorist financing risk in the UK. National risk assessment of money laundering and terrorist financing 2020 – PDF, 1.24MB, 152 pages DetailsThe NRA sets out the key money laundering and terrorist financing risks for the UK, how these have changed since the UK’s second NRA was published in 2017, and the action taken since 2017 to address these risks. Article credit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-risk-assessment-of-money-laundering-and-terrorist-financing-2020

Congress has released the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes reforms that would effectively end fully anonymous shell companies.

The United States looks set to overhaul the country’s anti-money-laundering legislation, after widely-supported provisions were officially included in a must-pass annual defense spending bill on Thursday. The reforms, based on proposals by bipartisan groups of lawmakers from both the Senate and the House of Representatives, would mandate that companies in the U.S. report their ultimate owners to the Treasury Department, effectively ending fully anonymous shell companies. The provisions will also see the U.S. strengthen its financial intelligence work, including bulking up the data collection of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, known as FinCEN, and increasing international cooperation between financial… Read More

Norway’s DNB facing potential $45M AML fine

DNB ASA, Norway’s largest financial services group, announced Monday it is facing a potential fine of NOK 400 million (U.S. $45.4 million) for inadequate compliance with the Norwegian Anti-Money Laundering Act. The penalty, which has been proposed as part of a preliminary report issued by the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway (Finanstilsynet), derives from a routine inspection of DNB’s AML controls conducted in February. “The possible fine that DNB has been notified of is not related to any suspicions of money laundering or complicity in money laundering, but rather what Finanstilsynet considers to be inadequate compliance with the anti-money laundering… Read More

Money laundering and terrorist financing indicators – Virtual currency transactions

This guidance on suspicious transactions is applicable to all reporting entities (REs) that are subject to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA) and associated Regulations. It is recommended that this guidance be read in conjunction with other suspicious transaction report (STR) guidance, including: What is a suspicious transaction? Reporting suspicious transactions to FINTRAC Money laundering (ML) and terrorist financing (TF) indicators are potential red flags that could initiate suspicion or indicate that something may be unusual in the absence of a reasonable explanation. Red flags typically stem from one or more factual characteristics, behaviours, patterns… Read More

Money laundering and financing of terrorism: Warsaw Convention report assesses the monitoring of banking operations

The Conference of the Parties of the Warsaw Convention, responsible for monitoring the implementation of the treaty, has published a report assessing the way its states parties monitor banking operations to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The report concludes that the majority of states parties – although with significant differences – apply articles 7(2c) and 19(1) of the convention, which provide a specific tool to competent authorities to monitor, during a specified period, the banking operations that are being carried out through one or more identified accounts. The report also issues a number of general and country… Read More

U.S. investigation report hits SEB, Swedbank and Danske Bank shares

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – The Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI are investigating SEB, Swedbank and Danske Bank over possible breaches of U.S. anti-money laundering regulations and fraud, Swedish newspaper Dagens Industri reported on Tuesday, sending the banks’ shares lower. Sweden had received requests for help from U.S. authorities investigating a Baltic money-laundering scandal that has already led to local fines for Swedbank, Danske and SEB, the newspaper reported. The banks were being investigated by the DOJ, the FBI and federal police and a federal prosecutor in New York over possible fraud and breaches of anti-money laundering regulations, it added. Although… Read More

Switzerland charges Credit Suisse in Bulgarian money laundering probe

ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss prosecutors charged Credit Suisse on Thursday over alleged failings related to a Bulgarian crime ring involving top-level wrestlers accused of laundering cocaine trafficking proceeds more than a decade ago. Switzerland’s attorney general (OAG) said in a statement that an unnamed former Credit Suisse manager and two alleged members of the criminal organisation had also been indicted in the Swiss Federal Criminal Court. “(Credit Suisse) is accused of failing to take all the organisational measures that were reasonable and required to prevent the laundering of assets belonging to and under the control of the criminal organisation,” it… Read More

Three arrests in money laundering, romance fraud and bounce back loan scam investigation

The National Crime Agency’s Complex Financial Crime Team has arrested three suspected members of an organised crime group involved in high level money laundering and fraud. The two men and one woman , aged 48, 43 and 45, were detained yesterday following raids at properties in the Bexleyheath and Dartford areas of London. They were questioned and have been released pending further investigation. This action is part of a wider operation targeting global fraud and the subsequent movement of money taken from victims. The alleged offending involves large scale identity theft, and the use of numerous false bank accounts to… Read More

G20 Leaders Agree to Follow FATF’s Anti-Money Laundering Measures

Leaders of the G20 reiterated their commitment to following anti-money laundering policy measures recommended by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which stressed their importance amidst the COVID-19 pandemic at a summit over the weekend hosted by the Saudi presidency. “We support the Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/Counter-Terrorist Financing (CFT) policy responses detailed in FATF’s paper on COVID-19, and reaffirm our support for the FATF, as the global standard-setting body for preventing and combating money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing,” a G20 leaders’ declaration published on Sunday stated. The anti-money laundering authority reminded G20 leaders in a prepared written statement that… Read More

SWIFT: Focus on financial crime compliance

Tackling financial crime, and ensuring compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) regulations remains one of the biggest overall challenges for the financial services community. This year, this has been particularly apparent, as the quick shift to enable a remote working environment in the wake of the pandemic put additional pressure on the fraud defences financial institutions have spent time and money investing in. The ever more connected and instant digital world also poses questions for how banks and financial institutions can ensure they meet their compliance requirements in real-time. In one of two risk… Read More

European authorities crack down on arms traffickers

Police in Europe cracked down on the illegal arms trade across the continent in two separate operations that saw 18 arrests, dozens of objects raided, nearly 200 firearms and millions in assets seized across the continent. Spanish authorities arrested seven suspects, seized 18 properties worth about 10 million euro (US$11.8 million) and froze over 50 financial products from a large organised crime group that transported armaments as large as tanks across the Mediterranean, and even once managed to break a compatriot out of a Greek prison. “The criminal network, made up of Latvian, Spanish and Ukrainian members, illegally transported Russian… Read More

UK seizes $1.58 million linked to flat bought with graft money

The U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said it has secured nearly £1.2 million (US$1.58 million) last week from the Brazilian owner of a luxury apartment in West London, which is believed to have been purchased with money stemming from Latin America’s biggest corruption scandal, Brazil’s Operation Car Wash. The amount was seized from Julio Faerman, “the owner of a £4.25 million ($5.6 million) luxury apartment in West London which the SFO suspected to have been partly purchased with the corrupt funds of its owner’s criminal conduct,” the anti-fraud agency said. Faerman was implicated in the corruption scandal that uncovered systematic… Read More

Legal monitors tell Deutsche Bank to quit Russia

NEW YORK STATE-appointed monitors want Deutsche Bank to pull out of business in Russia completely, according to new reports. The advice comes despite the bank’s ambitions for expansion in the country – although its relationship with Russia has not been void of scandal or allegations of wrongdoing in recent years. The monitors told senior executive leaders at Deutsche that efforts to minimise financial crime risks would not be enough to offset those that came with certain Russian clients, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday after speaking to a source familiar with the communications. Both monitors are attorneys from Chicago-based law… Read More

Swiss private bank charged with money laundering

MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES are being brought against a private bank in Switzerland which is already in the process of winding down operations. Falcon Private Bank – based in Zurich but with a presence in Luxembourg, London and Dubai – has been charged with money laundering by the Swiss Attorney General. These charges are understood to relate to an instance of organisational deficiencies in relation to a corporate criminal case, Swiss media outlet Handelszeitung reported Thursday. Former Falcon Bank chief executive Eduardo Leemann has also been charged in connection with the case and will appear in court next year. His spokesperson… Read More

Online payments company receives €370k fine for “significant shortcomings” in AML practices

A fine of €370,000 has been handed down to Lithuanian online payment company Paysera LT for failing to comply with AML rules. The fine, issued by the Bank of Lithuania, was decided after a two-month inspection revealed “significant shortcomings related to compliance and anti-money laundering and terrorist financing requirements.” Paysera LT has challenged the scale of the fine. According to the Bank of Lithuania, the company had failed to properly assess money laundering and terrorism financing risks. It also failed to implement adequate standards in customer identification and due diligence, in line with current Lithuanian law. “The company has failed… Read More

Companies House Reform

Having announced measures to verify the identity of individuals forming UK companies through the Companies House reform bill, it appears the government is now taking money laundering seriously, writes Michael Harris, director of financial crime compliance at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. There is no doubt that the proposed Companies House reform is a positive move, especially given that the National Crime Agency estimates that money laundering costs the UK economy £37bn ($48.2bm) a year – a huge sum that indicates there is still much to do in the fight against financial crime. The new Companies House rules come in amid proposals… Read More

Gambling Commission fine of BoyleSports (£2.8m) for AML failings

BoyleSports is the latest UK sportsbook operator to be issued a fine by the Gambling Commission over anti-money laundering (AML) failings. The UK Gambling Commission has fined BoyleSports £2.8m and imposed a set of tougher conditions on its licence after an investigation revealed a series of money laundering failures. BoyleSports’ £2.8m fine During an investigation carried out by the Gambling Commission, BoyleSports Enterprise was found to have breached Commission rules intended to prevent money laundering on its Boylesports.com and Boylecasino.com websites. The Gambling Commission said that the operator “failed to have an appropriate money laundering risk assessment in place” and… Read More

Dr Marcus Pleyer (FATF) addressing virtual G20

The Financial Action Task Force is committed to working with the G20 to ensure a strong, sustainable economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, FATF President Marcus Pleyer emphasised in remarks to the G20 Leaders’ Summit and G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting. Addressing G20 leaders, the FATF President said that crime and money laundering undermines just competition, hampers growth, deepens inequality, and erodes confidence in the integrity of the global financial system. It remains critical that jurisdictions continue to actively identify, assess, and understand how criminals and terrorists can exploit the COVID-19 pandemic and stop money illicitly flowing… Read More

FinCEN Files sparks fresh UK inquiry into laundering of dirty billions

The Treasury Committee says it will examine the effectiveness of anti-money laundering systems and sanctions, listing areas of concerns investigated by ICIJ. Image: Photo by Kirsty O’Connor/PA Images via Getty Images Prompted by the FinCEN Files, a powerful U.K. parliamentary committee has launched a fresh anti-money laundering inquiry 19 months after it outlined findings that the nation’s response to billions of pounds in money-laundering was “fragmented.” In light of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ recent investigation, the U.K. Treasury Committee says it will examine the effectiveness of both anti-money laundering systems and sanctions. The Treasury Committee says the precise scale… Read More