Spotlight on FTX
In this week’s roundup we focus on the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange, FTX. The platform had filed for bankruptcy just last week but in the fallout, among rumours of potential fraud and money laundering, authorities have begun investigating the platform and its founder Sam Bankman-Fried.
In other news, the UK (United Kingdom) announced further sanctions against Iranian officials, with a focus on those who have violated human rights. Australia looks to take to a stand on cybercrime with the government exploring making cybercrime ransom payments illegal and Malta’s financial crimes chief steps down from their role after two years.
What happened to FTX?
Last Wednesday a news story was published by CoinDesk claiming that the balance sheet for the hedge fund owned by FTX founder, Bankman-Fried, held billions of dollars worth of FTX’s own cryptocurrency FTT. The hedge fund had then been using this as collateral on further loans. This story proceeded to have a snowball effect for FTX.
The Bahamas opens investigations
The Royal Bahamas police said in a statement that “a team of financial investigators from the Financial Crimes Investigation Branch are working closely with the Bahamas Securities Commission to investigate if any criminal misconduct occurred.” FTX’s new Chief Executive, John J. Ray III has said FTX is working with law enforcement and regulators.
Ukranian Official refutes FTX-Ukraine money laundering rumours
Ukraine’s deputy minister of digital transformation, Alex Bornyakov, took to Twitter this week to refute claims that Ukraine had somehow been involved in a scheme to launder money for Democrats in the US.
FTX officials appear to confirm potential hacks to apps
After the collapse of FTX, rumours had spread that a hack had taken place on the crypto exchange’s Telegram channel. FTX have now instructed its customers to delete its app and to avoid the website. Investigating abnormalities with wallet movements related to consolidation of ftx balances across exchanges – unclear facts as other movements not clear. Will share more info as soon as we have it. @FTX_Official — Ryne Miller (@_Ryne_Miller) November 12, 2022
US considers Bankman-Fried extradition
As investigations heat up into Bank-Fried’s involvement in FTX’s collapse, it is believed that the United States and Bahamian authorities are discussing the possibly of extraditing him back to the US for question.
UK high street lenders toughen crypto stance on fraud concerns
Despite fintech’s push into the crypto space, UK high street lenders are toughening their stance on crypto amid fraud concerns. Virgin Money and Santander UK have placed limits or have stopped their customers from purchasing cryptocurrencies in the coming months.
Money Laundering, Fraud & Corruption
Sweden drops Ericsson bribery case in China
The Swedish Prosecution Authority has closed an investigation into possible bribery payments in China by Ericsson employees. The investigation was closed as no evidence could be found that a crime has been committed.
TRACE releases 2022 Bribery Risk Matrix
TRACE has released its 2022 Risk Matrix. The matrix has measured the business bribery risk in 194 jurisdictions. Norway tops the table with a score of 4 out 100 whilst North Korea sits at the bottom with a score of 93.
Malta Financial crimes chief Alexandra Mamo resigns
Malta’s financial crimes chief, Alexandra Mamo has resigned from the post after two years at the helm. The unit has been criticised for its lack of high-level corruption prosecutions.
Australia considers making cyber ransom payments illegal
The Australian government is considering making cyber ransom payments illegal after the hack on Medibank back in October. The country’s home affairs minister, Clare O’Neil explained that long-term outcomes were “being considered”.
European authorities join together to tackle fraudulent call centres
European authorities have launched a co-ordinated effort against suspects accused of running a massive investment fraud network. Fifteen call centres were raided in just two todays, with one of the centres in Ukraine.
Jersey police admit unlawful searches in Abramovich probe
Jersey police have admitted to conducting unlawful searches allegedly linked to Roman Abramovich. The legality of the search warrants issued earlier in the year were challenged by the companies searched and in the consent order issue on the 9th of November, the police acknowledged the warrants were obtained unlawfully.
Legislation, Regulation and Sustainability
Social media used in Mexico for selling wild animals
In their latest report, the Center for Biological Diversity, (a US NGO protecting endangered species) have revealed the alarming amount of wildlife trafficking happening through social media. This is despite the trafficking of animals being illegal in Mexico and Facebook’s restrictions on the selling of animals on its platform.
Environmental crime spreads in Amazonia
InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have published a report tracking how environmental crime has been spreading across five Amazonian countries: Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela.
Video: The Power of Big Oil Part 1 Denial (How Exxon knew about climate change 40 years ago)
This documentary series examines the fossil fuel industry’s history of casting doubt and delaying action on climate change. Part One of this three-part series charts the fossil fuel industry’s early research on climate change and investigates industry efforts to sow seeds of doubt about the science.
UK announces further sanctions against Iranian officials
The UK has announced the further sanctioning of officials in the Iranian regime who are in violation of human rights. These new sanctions include the Iranian Communications Minister, Issa Zarepour and Vahid Mohammad Naser Majid (Chief of Iran’s Cyber Police) who are responsible for shutting down the internet in Iran.
US Treasury Department sanctions Russian military supply chain
The United States has sanctioned a “transnational network procuring technology that supports the Russian military-industrial complex”. OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) has also designated further individuals who are part of a global network of financial facilitators.
US sanctions internet-based suppliers of fentanyl
OFAC announced sanctions against three individuals and nine entities associated with darknet marketplaces. This is the first time that the Illicit Drugs Executive Order has been used to designate activities related to online and darknet market illicit drug sales.
Your latest weekly update from the worlds of money laundering, legislation and regulation, sustainability, gaming and gambling, crypto and sanctions.