12 Nov 2021
Welcome to the first edition of our brand-new KYC360 Weekly AML Round-up. Each week the KYC360 and RiskScreen teams will be bringing you the financial crime and compliance content that matters. This update will be emailed to our weekly KYC360 subscribers every Friday. Subscribe here.
Payments regulator refuses to name banks that launder money
In March 2020 the UK’s biggest banks launched a payee system which checks that the name of the person or firm you are sending money to matches the name on the account. The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) also recommended that more banks should adopt the Confirmation of Payee system that flags mismatches to reduce financial crime. However, fraudsters have begun targeting banks who aren’t using the system.
The UK’s Payment System Regulator has refused to “identify those banks that received the highest volume of fraudulent funds” because it would “prejudice their commercial interests”. Would this information being public not force banks to get better at detecting fraud?
Twitch users in Turkey trigger money laundering investigation
The largest streaming service in the world, Twitch which is owned by Amazon has been caught up in a money laundering scandal. The scandal came off the back of a large data leak which included all sorts of information, but most noticeably, the money laundering scheme in Turkey. The streaming platform allows users to donate to streamers, who in turn, can refund them back. It was a simple scheme that proved to be an ample opportunity for some.
What’s worth noting about this story is not necessarily the discovery of money laundering. It is the fact that users of the platform had alerted higher up figures within the company for years, but nothing had been done. It wasn’t until the leak that the issue seemed to gain wide enough public attention – but this was only for a moment. We anticipate a lot more news on this topic as it unfolds.
Sanctions on airlines considered after accusations of human trafficking via Belarus
Various senior EU officials have called for extensive sanctions on Minsk as tensions mount along Belarus’s border with Poland with migrants in large numbers attempting to cross the EU’s border.
Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President tweeted a call for “extended sanctions, possible sanctions on third country airlines involved.”
Belarus must stop putting people’s lives at risk.
I call for approval of extended sanctions, possible sanctions on third country airlines involved.
We also want to prevent a humanitarian crisis and ensure safe returns
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) November 8, 2021
Mexico: Head of money-laundering unit resigns over wedding cash scandal
Santiago Nieto, the head of Mexico’s anti-money-laundering unit has resigned after $35,000 of undeclared cash in a suitcase was discovered on a private jet taking friends to a wedding in Guatemala.
The money was reportedly seized from fellow wedding guest Juan Francisco Ealy Ortiz, president of prominent Mexican newspaper El Universal. The paper reported on Monday that the money was for medical treatment and had been properly declared to Mexican officials. The scandal also includes mention of the Secretary of Tourism for Mexico City, Paola Felix who has also since resigned after further allegations of illegally attempting to bring cash into the country after being detained at a Guatemalan airport.
Netherlands money laundering: Over €25 million in cryptocurrencies seized
In recent months in The Netherlands, the Public Prosecution Service (OM), the National Criminal Investigation Service, and the Tax Authority’s financial investigation service (FIOD) have seized over 25 million euros in cryptocurrencies in a money laundering investigation. This involved digital wallets containing Bitcoin and Ethereum from dozens of suspects.
These crimes are perpetuated by the anonymous nature of cryptocurrencies and their popularity as a payment for various types of crime. With the proceeds often being used in the drugs trade, human trafficking, fraud and tax evasion to name a few.
Risk-based customer screening: A how-to guide (part 1)
The first in a series of blogs on how to achieve a risk-based approach to effective customer screening in AML & KYC compliance. In this article we look at why screening matters, which businesses need to screen their customers and the different types of screening tools that are available.
Customer Screening – achieving a risk-based approach
Last week we held a webinar on how to build an effective risk-based screening program, with over 800 compliance professionals registering for a presentation with RiskScreen’s Tom Devlin and Alex Tame from Dow Jones. You can watch a replay of this webinar right here:
Tom explains the importance of customer screening, how technology can help and some best practices – one of which is using high quality data. Alex explains how Dow Jones data provides the bedrock for effective screening – as well breaking down the categories of PEPs that are guided by international regulation. He also delves into the risk associated with relatives and close associates of PEPs.
AML Talkshow – Andrew Fox in Conversation with Stephen Platt
KYC360 AML Talk Show host Stephen Platt interviews guest speaker Andrew Fox, a former army major and specialist in ethical leadership. You can listen to the podcast by clicking the image below:
“I realize, of course, that the battlefield may seem like a long way from the boardroom, but there are several reasons why I think what Andrew will talk to us about this afternoon that you will find relevant and compelling. Here are some of my thoughts. The Army are experts at fighting, but they don’t get to decide who or where they fight, or indeed, when. That is always a political decision. What they can control is how they fight. In having the ability to plan their own operations, they have a huge input into how fighting is done, how ethical it is, how likely it is to be effective, how serious its effects will be on third parties and so on. And in that sense, they’re analogous to compliance officers.”
Listen to the podcast and read the full transcript here.
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