KYC360 Weekly Roundup - 22nd Mar 2024

Published on Mar 22, 2024

Top stories this week: 

India introduces a uniform Know Your Customer (KYC) | Guo Wengui supports hit with sanctions and ordered to pay $327,000  | FCA successfully convicts a money launderer

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 a uniform Know Your Customer (KYC) introduced by India, the UK is looking at expanding its regulations on digital assets to include NFTs and the UK considering a new law that would allow it to "debank" individuals and businesses.

In the fast-paced world of sanctions, foreign ministers express their support for imposing new sanctions on Russia following the death of Alexei Navalny. Supporters of Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui have been hit with sanctions and ordered to pay $327,000 and OFAC has reached a settlement agreement with a Swiss bank, resulting in a $3.7 million penalty for violating sanctions.

In the corruption space, FCA successfully convicts a money launderer who violated regulations by operating an unauthorised investment scheme and Malaysian anti-corruption watchdog investigates a Singaporean businessman named Akbar Khan.

We round off this week’s roundup with an opportunity to listen to our recent podcast, "Comply and Outperform - Lessons from Formula 1". Hear from Stephen Platt, Founder of KYC360 and Neil Martin, former Head of Race Strategy at Ferrari F1 discuss how to turn compliance from being a brake into an accelerator. 

Financial_ServicesKYC & AML

India introduces a uniform Know Your Customer (KYC)
This new system aims to simplify the verification process for various financial transactions, such as opening bank accounts, buying insurance, and investing in stocks or mutual funds. Currently, customers are required to provide separate KYC documents for each financial institution, leading to duplication and inconvenience.

Confidential memo has revealed the potential risks of money laundering and tax evasion in Ireland's Golden Visa scheme
The scheme allows wealthy individuals to obtain residency in exchange for significant investments. The memo highlights concerns over the lack of due diligence in vetting applicants and the potential for illicit activities. It also criticizes the absence of ongoing monitoring of investors' financial activities. The memo recommends implementing stricter regulations and supervision to mitigate these risks.

The UK is looking at expanding its regulations on digital assets to include non-fungible tokens (NFTs)
The new rules will require businesses dealing with NFTs to conduct customer due diligence and report suspicious activities to the authorities. The move aims to bring NFTs under the same anti-money laundering regulations as other digital assets like cryptocurrencies. This decision comes as NFTs have gained popularity and value in recent years, leading to concerns about their potential use in illicit activities.

The UK government is considering softening anti-money laundering (AML) regulations to support fintech innovation
The proposed changes aim to strike a balance between preventing financial crimes and promoting technological advancements. The new rules could include allowing simplified customer due diligence processes for low-risk transactions and utilizing digital identification methods. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is also exploring the potential use of biometric technology for identity verification.

A court has ordered Binance to provide the EFCC with detailed information on all Nigerian users
The EFCC is investigating alleged money laundering and fraudulent activities involving cryptocurrencies. Binance is required to provide comprehensive data such as names, addresses, and transaction histories of these users. The court's decision aims to assist the EFCC in its efforts to combat financial crimes and ensure transparency in cryptocurrency transactions.

UK considering a new law that would allow it to "debank" individuals and businesses 
The proposal has received criticism from various groups, including the CEO of NatWest, Alison Rose, who believes it could have unintended consequences and impact financial inclusion. The potential law raises concerns about its potential misuse and the impact it could have on personal and business finances.

The Securities and Futures Commission in Hong Kong issues warning to traders about the cryptocurrency exchange MEXC
The warning states that MEXC is not licensed to provide regulated services in Hong Kong and may be involved in fraudulent activities. The SFC advises investors to be cautious and reminds them to only trade with licensed platforms. Additionally, the SFC warns that unregulated exchanges may present risks such as hacking, money laundering, and market manipulation. 

 

SanctionsSanctions

Foreign ministers express their support for imposing new sanctions on Russia following the death of Alexei Navalny
The ministers discussed the situation during a meeting in Brussels and agreed that further action was necessary to hold Russia accountable for Navalny's poisoning and subsequent death. While the specific details of the sanctions have yet to be determined, the ministers emphasized the need for a united front among EU member states.

Supporters of Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui have been hit with sanctions and ordered to pay $327,000 
The lawsuit was filed by the lawyer from the law firm Paul Hastings, accusing Guo's supporters of defamation and harassment. The court ruled in favour of the lawyer, imposing financial penalties on the defendants and restraining their actions. This incident highlights the ongoing legal battles and controversies surrounding Guo Wengui and his supporters, who have been involved in high-profile cases against prominent individuals and institutions in China.

OFAC has reached a settlement agreement with a Swiss bank, resulting in a $3.7 million penalty for violating sanctions
The bank allegedly facilitated transactions involving individuals from sanctioned countries. This case highlights the importance of financial institutions adhering to international sanctions regulations to prevent illicit activities and maintain global security.

 

CryptoCorruption

Recent bust in Limassol, Cyprus has exposed an alleged money laundering operation
The police arrested several individuals and seized large sums of money, luxury vehicles, and other assets. The investigation suggests that the suspects were involved in illegal activities, including drug trafficking and organized crime. The operation was carried out by a joint task force, including the police, customs, and financial authorities. 

FCA successfully convicts a money launderer who violated regulations by operating an unauthorised investment scheme
The individual has now been ordered to pay back £1.3 million or face an additional seven years in prison. The FCA continues its efforts to combat financial crimes and protect investors, working closely with law enforcement agencies. This case serves as a warning to others involved in illegal activities in the financial sector.

Malaysian anti-corruption watchdog investigates a Singaporean businessman named Akbar Khan
The investigation is focused on potential corruption and illicit activities. The businessman is suspected of involvement in various fraudulent schemes and illegal practices. The authorities are taking this matter seriously and are determined to uncover any wrongdoing. The investigation highlights the importance of combating corruption and ensuring transparency in business activities.

Gambling_GamingGaming and Gambling

Investigation into the financial crimes of Denise Coates, the highest-paid woman in Britain and the co-founder of Bet365
Coates is being probed for potential money laundering and fraud activities within her gambling empire. The investigation is focused on transactions worth billions of pounds and aims to determine if the company complied with anti-money laundering regulations

Resources

KYC360 News

Catch up on our latest podcast, Lessons from F1
Hear from Stephen Platt, Founder of KYC360 and Neil Martin, former Head of Race Strategy at Ferrari F1, on how compliance no longer needs to be a brake on your business and can be an accelerator allowing you to do more, better business faster. 
Listen now.

 

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