KYC360 Weekly Roundup - 8th Mar 2024

Published on Mar 08, 2024

Top stories this week: 

FCA Sends ‘Dear CEO’ Letters for AML Failings | BOJ Chief Warns of the Financial Risks of Digitalisation | Australian Financial Crime Watchdog Begins Investigation into Bet365 | EGBA Welcomes New EU Identification Method 

Welcome to this week’s edition of the KYC Roundup - your gateway to the most impactful developments in the world of Anti-Money Laundering and financial crime. In the AML arena, the top stories feature the FCA sending ‘Dear CEO’ letters and the BOJ Chief warning of the financial risks of digitalisation. Meanwhile, the Australian financial crime watchdog begins its investigation into Bet365. 

In the fast-paced world of sanctions, it was a busy week for the U.S. as they imposed fresh sanctions on the president of Zimbabwe, a European spyware network and on sources of Houthi revenue.  

In the corruption space, two former executives were acquitted of corruption charges relating to defence contracts.  

We round off this week’s roundup with the opportunity to register for our webinar, "Mastering Compliance Process Transformation - Lessons from the Frontline". Watch Stephen Platt, Founder of KYC360, Tom Devlin, CCO at KYC360, and Heather Adams, Managing Director, UKI Risk Strategy & Consulting Lead at Accenture, discuss the key challenges and opportunities around compliance transformation.  


Financial_ServicesKYC & AML

FCA sends ‘Dear CEO’ letters for AML failings  

Chief executives woke up to “Dear CEO” letters from the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The letter highlighted key areas of weakness for Annex 1 firms in their policies and procedures to prevent financial crime. These weaknesses were found in business models, risk assessments, due diligence, governance, and training. The FCA warned of regulatory action including enforcement if firms do not implement the recommendations set out in the letter.  

BOJ Chief warns of the financial risks of digitalisation  

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor Kazuo Ueda spoke on Wednesday about the need to balance the benefits and costs of innovation in finance. Digitalisation has boomed across the Asia-Pacific region with customers taking advantage of convenient methods of payment. With providers continuing to diversify, Ueda spoke about the challenges of identifying which specific activities and risks should be under the same regulation. 

Australian financial crime watchdog begins investigation into Bet365 

The British online gambling firm is being audited by The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) to assess its compliance with financing laws including adequate risk controls to identify money laundering and terrorism financing. A surge in online betting across Australia since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a greater push for compliance by the regulator.  

Ten arrests in Merseyside fraud investigation 

More than £500,000 was seized by police in a fraud, money laundering and cybercrime investigation in Merseyside. During a month-long operation, Merseyside police collaborated with forces across the country and arrested 10 individuals. The operation was funded by the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC). 

French banking watchdog sounds alarm on suspicious transactions at Leonteq 

The ACPR has informed French prosecutors of potential shortcomings in the reporting of suspicious transactions and insufficient checks of clients in high-risk countries at the Swiss fintech company, Leonteq. The company has stated they had no knowledge of these reports from the French regulator and that they take any potential findings “very seriously”.  

Estonia ends Swedbank money laundering probe  

Swedbank has confirmed that Estonia regulators have concluded their investigation into suspected money laundering from 2014-2016. The investigation found that no crime had been committed.  

Nigerian Central Bank revokes thousands of exchange bureau licenses  

Over 4000 exchange bureaus lost their licences for failure to comply with guidelines and directives, including non-compliance with Anti-Money Laundering and terrorism financing regulations. The Central Bank of Nigeria is currently revising their guidelines for exchange bureau operators.  



U.S. warns Austria over financial dealings with Russia  

Anna Morris, a U.S. Treasury official has encouraged banks in Austria to take mitigation measures and consider their exposure to Russia's military-industrial base. If the banks do not comply, they face the risk of being cut off from the U.S. dollar.  

U.S. imposes fresh sanctions on Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa 

The sanctions were imposed on the president and other senior officials due to allegations of corruption and human rights violations. These measures replaced a comprehensive set of sanctions implemented two decades ago. The White House expressed concern, stating that "The targeting of civil society and severe restrictions on political activity have stifled fundamental freedoms, while key actors, including government leaders, have siphoned off public resources for personal gains.”  

U.S. Treasury imposes sanctions on European spyware entity  

The Treasury Department acted against two individuals and five corporate entities for their ties to the Intellexa commercial spyware consortium. The group was behind the sale of spyware software. These spyware vendors have been used by foreign governments to target dissidents and U.S. government officials, journalists and policy experts. 

U.S. Treasury targets Houthi revenue with fresh sanctions 

The Treasury Department also announced new sanctions against two companies and two vessels that the department claims have facilitated shipments on behalf of an Iranian-backed financial facilitator. The department added that the revenue from this smuggling network has supported the Houthi rebels in their strikes against shipping vessels in the Red Sea.  



Two former executives acquitted of corruption relating to defence contracts  

Former executives, Jeffery Cook and John Mason were acquitted of corruption charges linked to defence contracts. The allegations involved the payment of millions of pounds in bribes to Saudi officials. On Wednesday, a London jury cleared them of any wrongdoing following a nearly decade-long investigation led by the Serious Fraud Office. 

Netanyahu asks to delay testimonies in corruption trial  

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the Jerusalem District Court to postpone the testimony of three witnesses in his corruption trial until the conclusion of the war in Gaza. 

Gambling_GamingGaming and Gambling

EGBA welcomes new EU identification method 

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) praised the EU Parliament's approval of a standardized electronic identification, "European Digital Identity" (e-ID), requiring member states to issue optional e-IDs to citizens for secure online authentication. The EGBA sees this as a milestone for a safer online environment, reducing reliance on commercial providers. The move aims to combat fraud and identity theft and lower business costs.  


KYC360 News

Join our webinar: Mastering Compliance Process Transformation - Lessons from the Frontline 

Learn more about the challenges of transforming compliance processes and how to overcome them. Join us on March 19th when Stephen Platt, Founder of KYC360, Tom Devlin, CCO at KYC360, and Heather Adams, Managing Director, UKI Risk Strategy & Consulting Lead at Accenture, discuss the key challenges and opportunities shaping the compliance market today.  
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