KYC360 Weekly Roundup - 12th Apr 2024

Published on Apr 12, 2024

Top stories this week: 

Bet365 fined £582,120 for AML and social responsibility failures | Italy weighs up tougher penalties for AI-related crimes including market rigging and money laundering | Video games facilitating money laundering according to US agency

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 Bet365 being fined £582,120 for AML and social responsibility failings, Italy weighing up tougher penalties for AI-related crimes and a US agency reporting on how video games facilitate money laundering.  

In the fast-paced world of sanctions, two Russian oligarchs have successfully appealed against EU sanctions and Yellen has warned China against propping up the Russian war machine.  

In the corruption space, a Vietnam property tycoon was sentenced to death in the country’s biggest financial fraud trial and two Russian oligarchs were successful in their appeal over EU sanctions.  

We round off this week’s roundup with an opportunity to look at how Play’n GO, a leading B2B online games provider was able to automate their screening and onboarding processes with KYC360.  

Financial_ServicesKYC & AML

Italy weighs up tougher penalties for AI-related crimes, including market rigging and money laundering 
A new draft bill set outs a plan for a national AI strategy. Penalties for crimes aided by AI such as market rigging, money laundering, copyright violations and deepfakes will be subject to harsher penalties. Meanwhile, the EU bloc is currently preparing its own AI regulation act.  

Video games facilitating money laundering according to US agency  
The CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) released a report that highlighted the risks of money laundering within video games through the use of gaming assets. These in-game assets can be bought and sold in online marketplaces and then converted to fiat or cryptocurrencies. Fraudsters can trade these assets between different accounts to make funds less traceable. 

U.S. Treasury warns of terror groups expanding their use of crypto  
The U.S. Treasury Department has called for Congress to approve new regulatory tools such as secondary sanctions against foreign digital asset providers, or they fear terrorist groups such as Hamas and Al Qaeda and state actors like Russia and North Korea could increase their use of virtual assets to acquire and launder funds.  

Panama Papers money laundering trial begins  
The criminal trial against 27 employees of Mossack Fonseca, the legal firm at the heart of the Panama Papers leak, has begun. Files from the firm leaked in 2016 and led to global outrage as they exposed how wealthy individuals were using offshore companies to avoid tax.  

Two individuals arrested in Spain for suspected money laundering offences linked to Venezuelan government  
The Homes were raided as part of the investigation which is being conducted alongside authorities in Portugal and the U.S. The alleged offences are laundering, international bribery and criminal association. El Confidencial reported that the investigation is focused on the family of Venezuelan tycoon Roberto Rincon.  

FCA recovers £1.6m for investors from suspected unlawful investment schemes 
The schemes involved Argento Wealth LTD (AWL) and sole director Mr Daniel Willis. They have not admitted the allegations but have agreed to send the money which will be returned to investors.  

EBA Clearing to roll out verification of Payee  
The feature is set to be ready by December and will support Payment Service Providers (PSPs) in matching IBAN/names for SEPA transactions.  


SanctionsSanctions

Russian oligarchs successful in appeal over EU sanctions 
The European Court of Justice has ruled that there is not enough evidence to impose sanctions on Petr Aven and Mikhail Fridman. Both were placed on the list in 2022, shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and were known to be close in Putin's inner circle. They remain under punitive measures but are likely to have sanctions lifted in an appeal. 

Yellen warns Chinese banks against propping up Russian war machine  
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated that the U.S. is ready to sanction Chinese banks and the country's leadership if they provide military assistance to Russia in their invasion of Ukraine. A new executive order issued in December gives powers to sanction any institutions that prop up Russia’s war machine but has not yet been used.  

Switzerland sanctions six individuals linked to Hamas and Islamic Jihad 
Switzerland has implemented the EU’s financial sanctions and travel restrictions against six individuals accused of financing Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.  

CryptoCorruption

Vietnam property tycoon sentenced to death in country’s biggest financial fraud trial  
Truong My Lan was found guilty of embezzlement, bribery and violations of banking rules. The fraud amounted to $12.5 billion. Lan is set to appeal against the verdict.  

Former Venezuelan oil and finance minister arrested in corruption probe 
Tareck El Aissami, who was once one of President Maduro’s most important members in his government, was arrested as part of a corruption investigation into state oil company PDVSA. He faces charges along with two other individuals of treason, money laundering, conspiracy and misdirection of public funds.  

Lebanon caretaker PM subject to complaints from anti-corruption groups 
With a net worth of $2.3 billion, caretaker PM Najib Mikati is one of Lebanon's richest men. Two anti-corruption groups have lodged complaints in France, accusing Mikati and his family of AML offences and stating that real estate and companies under their ownership should be subject to investigation.  

Gambling_GamingGaming and Gambling

Bet365 fined £582,120 for AML and social responsibility failures  
The UK Gambling Commission stated that Bet365, which is one of the largest global betting firms, failed to have “enhanced customer due diligence and know your customer triggers that were ineffective at managing money laundering risk” and failed “to undertake financial sanctions checks on new customers prior to their first deposits”. All the proceeds from the hefty fine will be donated to socially responsible causes.  
  

Resources

KYC360 News

See how Play'n GO automated their onboarding and screening processes  
Play'n GO utilised KY360's suite of customer lifecycle management tools to automate their screening and onboarding processes, resulting in substantial efficiency gains. As well as transforming their workflows, this helped the compliance function within the company to be seen as an opportunity rather than a burden. 
Read more.

 

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