Silly Season Scams to Rise as AFP Forewarns Fake Delivery Texts

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has warned of fake delivery texts. Scammers use legitimate-looking texts to deceive people into providing the personal information that they use to fulfil their illicit intentions.

The scammers do texts that seem legitimate to lure people into providing their personal information, which is then either used to defraud victims out of thousands of dollars or sold on the black market for profit. The messages urge the receiver to click on a hyperlink to track, redirect, or pick up a package while claiming to be a shipping status update. Sometimes they request postal address confirmation from the addressee.

How Much Have Australians Lost to Scams? 

As per the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, scammers cost Australians over $2 billion in 2021. The amount is predicted to increase to over $4 billion by the end of the year. Customers reported over 57,000 instances of dubious calls and messages, making phishing the most prevalent type of scam.

Chris Goldsmid, Commander of AFP’s cybercrime operations, said that as the holidays approached, fraudsters specifically targeted people who were anxious and distracted, such as those awaiting multiple deliveries. “Scam activity, in particular, is profit-driven,” he said. “Whatever the criminals can do to monetise the information they steal from the public, they’ll do that.”

Goldsmid advised customers to verify the legitimacy of messages and watch out for warning signs, such as grammatical mistakes, suspicious URLs, and requests for personal details, before clicking on a link.

Most delivery services, like Australia Post and Amazon, never call or email consumers to ask for personal details, money, or the installation of software. Amazon claimed to have spent over $900 million hiring 12,000 extra employees globally to combat cybercrime and online fraud, adding that it had “zero tolerance for fraud”.

Suggested Read: Black Friday Shoppers Alert: Digital Scam Victims Lose an Average of £1,000 Each

Dutch Rabobank Under Investigation Over Suspected AML/CTF Violations

According to the Netherlands’ second largest money lender, Dutch prosecutors are investigating Rabobank over suspected violations of Anti Money Laundering and Countering Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) laws.

Rabobank made its announcement following a civil investigation by the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) that resulted in a fine of a half-a-million euros against the bank and a recommendation to launch a criminal investigation.

“The Dutch Public Prosecution Service has informed Rabobank that it has been designated as a suspect in connection with violations of the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act,” Rabobank said in a statement. “An investigation is underway into this,” it added without giving further details.

In September 2018, the DNB asked Rabobank to improve the way it screens clients, keeps track of transactions, and flags questionable ones. According to the NOS public broadcaster, Rabobank had to have all of its clients in compliance with the AML/CTF laws by April 2020.

However, the DNB found that Rabobank still wasn’t adhering to the requirements last year and issued the penalties. Rabobank stated that it was fully cooperating with the investigation. According to bank representatives, the NOS has to put its own “recovery plan” into action until 2024. This included a rule against accepting new customers from specific “critical groups”, such as professional sports clubs or particular industries that deal with large sums of money. A chief financial and economic crimes officer was reportedly hired by the bank in October, according to news sources.

The bank fraud scandal came after similar inquiries into ING, the top money lender in the Netherlands, which was penalised with a fine of 775 million-euro in 2018. Following a two-year investigation by Dutch authorities into that incident, ING fired its Chief Financial Officer, Koos Timmermans, after discovering that numerous suspects in white-collar crimes had accounts there. The incident sparked demands for the resignation of ING’s directors and posed a major reputational risk to the company.

Suggested Read: Rabobank Fined EUR 500K for Ineffective KYC Compliance

Egypt to Enact Updated AML Legislations and Develop Action Mechanisms to Curb Financial Crimes

Egyptian Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Combating Unit (EMLCU) is all set to enact revised AML regulations and scale up action mechanisms for curbing financial crimes in the country.

Chairman of EMLCU Ahmed Khalil said in a speech at the 13th annual conference of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) that Egypt is implementing updated legislation, establishing action mechanisms to deal with virtual currency, along with imposing heavy fines to fight money laundering & terrorist funding in compliance with international standards.

Ahmed Khalil said that Egypt has been making intense efforts to improve coordination with all relevant global bodies to ride out worldwide challenges regarding fighting money laundering, especially during the covid times. 

According to Khalil, criminals take advantage of global crisis like Covid-19, which is endangering the lives of billions of people worldwide. He also added that financial fraud and bad business practices deprive nations of reserves to be used for development.

ACAMS is hosting a two-day seminar so that participants can learn about shifting regulatory objectives and new threats of financial fraud. Attendees in this year’s ACAMS MENA conference will have the opportunity to connect with local subject-matter specialists in the AFC space. They can also ask conference speakers questions about issues like tracking cryptocurrency asset activity for ties to terrorism and drug trafficking, automating trade-finance controls to look for signs of trade-based money laundering, and trying to overcome compliance barriers to getting correspondent banking services.

Suggested Read: Egypt Government to Establish Central Bank Unit for AML and CFT

Adelaide Casino to Face Court Action Over AML/CTF Violations

AUSTRAC has revealed the beginning of civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court against SkyCity Adelaide for being non-compliant with AML/CTF regulations. 

The Adelaide casino has been under investigation since last year as part of a compliance campaign started by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).

Peter Soros, AUSTRAC Deputy Chief Executive, said that the watchdog discovered systemic failures in Adelaide casino’s approach to its AML/CTF obligations.

“Austrac’s investigation identified a range of circumstances where SkyCity failed to carry out appropriate ongoing customer due diligence,” he said. “SkyCity also failed to develop and maintain a compliant AML/CTF program, leaving it at risk of criminal exploitation.”

AUSTRAC has announced that it would start civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court against SkyCity Adelaide

According to Jarden Senior Analyst Adrian Allbon, SkyCity may be liable for penalties of A$50 million as a consequence of state investigations by AUSTRAC and South Australia.

Soros stated that AUSTRAC is still working with SkyCity to ensure it abides by its legal commitments.

In a comment to the NZX, SkyCity stated that its Adelaide casino gave “the utmost importance” to adhering to all of its legal requirements, particularly those pertaining to AML compliance. The business stated that before reacting, it would carefully analyze the accusations.

SkyCity Chairman Julian Cook informed the shareholders that a large construction initiative was underway at the Adelaide casino to improve its anti-money laundering procedures. Severe financial and reputational damage on SkyCity, he added, may result from Austrac taking criminal prosecution against the business.

Suggested Read: AUSTRAC Sues Star Casino for Alleged Anti-Money Laundering Breaches

Japanese Govt. to Enshrine FATF Crypto AML Standards into National Law

The Japanese government is getting ready to incorporate the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) crypto AML rules into national law after getting maximum votes from the country’s parliament in support of the initiative.

According to NHK, MPs supported the Revised Act on Prevention of Transfer of Criminal Proceeds in a voting that took place on Friday during a meeting of the House of Councilors. They favored the amendments to six other laws, including the Act on Freezing International Terrorist Assets, the Act on Punishing Organized Crimes, and the Act on Prevention of Transfer of Criminal Proceeds.

The measures would increase the legal consequences for offenses involving money laundering. Law enforcement will be able to freeze assets kept on domestic networks, including digital currencies such as bitcoin.

The media site stated that by requiring business owners who exchange crypto assets to reveal details about receivers, the legislative amendments would “make it easier” for law enforcement authorities and customs inspectors to trace cryptocurrency. As a result, cryptocurrency exchange transactions will no longer be anonymous.

Stablecoins, as well as their issuers, will be subject to the new restrictions imposed. The legal changes describe the types of warnings that should be sent to non-compliant parties as well as the heavy fines that courts should impose in judicial proceedings.

Suggested Read: Japan Revises Six Laws to Tackle Money Laundering in Cryptocurrency

Money Laundering Watchdog Fines HSBC for AML Violations

HSBC Malta has been fined €82,000 by Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) for AML violations. The FIAU found that the bank failed to document why one of its customers made a €2 million transaction.

The FIAU stated that even though the bank had given it more specific information regarding the client in question, HSBC had not backed this up through invoices or other transaction-related supporting documentation.

The FIAU said that in a separate incident, HSBC’s transaction tracking system failed to detect numerous high-value transactions by a particular client, which at times surpassed €800,000.

Even though the rule in effect at the time didn’t result in any warnings being sent regarding the transactions made by that specific customer, HSBC informed the FIAU that a “tuning exercise” had been conducted, and new thresholds had been set up for the transaction tracking system.

The FIAU reported that the bank also claimed that other safeguards in place had prompted it to examine the in-questioned transactions carefully. The unit did, however, highlight that the long-established monetary thresholds to check significant transactions moving through the accounts during a certain span of time were very high, elevating the danger that some large and unusual transactions weren’t being recorded and appropriately investigated by the bank.

Additionally, it was pointed out that in three customer records, HSBC neglected to compile the required paperwork to confirm the legitimacy of the addresses or identities of the senior managing professionals or beneficial owners.

The FIAU claimed that in deciding the penalty, it had taken into account HSBC’s “good level of cooperation” and cordial communication throughout the years, as well as the respect the bank had demonstrated for its anti-money laundering requirements. The  “continuous investment” made by HSBC in its technological and human resources for preventing and fighting money laundering activities has also been taken into account.

Suggested Read: FIAU Imposed a Fine of €130,000 on Olimp Limited for AML Failures

FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service Warn of Prevailing Telephone Scams

FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service have warned of prevailing telephone fraud in which callers act as court officers, marshals, or other legislative bodies in order to collect fines from victims.

The release states that fraudsters would use different tactics, including providing names of federal judges and legislative bodies, badge numbers, and courthouse addresses to sound credible. Moreover, they spoof contact numbers to appear to be someone calling from a court or any government agency. 

“During these calls, scammers attempt to collect a fine in lieu of arrest due to a claim of identity theft, failing to report for jury duty, or other offenses,” as per a joint release from the Marshals Service and FBI. “They then tell victims they can avoid arrest by withdrawing cash and transferring it to the government, purchasing a prepaid debit card such as a Green Dot card or gift card and reading the card number over the phone to satisfy the fine, or by depositing cash into bitcoin ATMs.”

One such fraud happened in the greater Philadelphia area in which the caller pretended to be an agent with Customs and Border Protection and informed the target that a parcel of illegal items addressed to them was seized.  

“The caller will say that the package was sent from Mexico or Colombia and that various bank accounts used to wire money to Mexico and Colombia have been associated with the target’s name,” as per the release.

To sound credible, the fraudster provides warrant numbers, phone numbers, fake badges, and any other easily accessible public data that is associated with that target.

“The victim is then told they must make payment to the U.S. Treasury or other government entity,” the release states. “The call then ends with the scammer advising the victim that they will be re-contacted by an investigating official.  A short time later, the victim is contacted by another individual identifying himself as the United States Marshal, references the previous conversation with the scammer posing as a CBP Officer, and presents a great monetary demand to the victim along with the threat of arrest for non-payment.”

As per the release, the main target of scammers is senior citizens, and they’ve caused losses of tens of thousands of dollars nationwide.

The release says Marshals would never ask anyone for details like debit/credit card data or bank routing numbers and advises residents not to provide their financial or personal information to any unknown caller.

The Marshals Service advises individuals to hang up immediately and call the local FBI or clerk of the court’s office of the U.S. District Court in the local area to stay safe from the scammers.

Suggested Read: FBI Warns of Tech Support Scammers Compromising Financial Accounts

HEDA Calls for Professional Regulatory Bodies to Sanction Corruption Enablers

The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), the leading civic society organization on anti-corruption and transparency in governance, has called for professional regulators to sanction corruption enablers.

The Chairman of HEDA, Olanrewaju Suraju, stated that in addition to the legal repercussions, professionals who are found to be encouraging corruption should also face additional suspensions or have a license of practice due to ethical violations.

Suraju said that “our focus should also be on the enablers who play a part in the corruption. It is unfortunate that bankers, lawyers, real estate valuers and doctors are enablers of corruption perpetrated by politicians and civil servants.”

Ahmed Idris, the suspended and embattled Accountant General of the Federation, has returned cash totalling $900,000 that was reportedly stolen from government coffers in the amount of N109 billion.

“We wrote to the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, asking for disciplinary action against her fellow, but the professional body remains mum. We have given them a 14-day ultimatum before we take it further,” said Suraju.

Suraju responded that the fall of the Naira in the world market is not due to economic worth, improvement, or service/production. He added that no currency would last if politicians continued to use dollars as a medium of exchange. 

According to Suraju, “it will go a long way on how our banks access dollars and appreciate the naira. Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unity should also check how the dollar is transacted and procured by who and for what.”

However, in order to combat corruption in all spheres of Nigerian society, the anti-corruption activist urged for media cooperation with civil society institutions. He also charged the media with editorials and exclusive reports advocating against corruption.

On HEDA plans for the current year’s anti-corruption week advocacy, Suraju said, “the organization will be holding her 6th annual compendium presentation of 100 high-profile corruption cases in Nigeria. Also, beyond the compendium presentation, HEDA will also be celebrating outstanding Nigerians with exemplary integrity and impact in society at the 5th Gani Fawehinmi Impact and Integrity Awards (GFIIA) and Awards to mark the International Human Rights Day.”

Suggested Read: FBI Expands its Corruption Unit to Closely Monitor Illicit Activities

CBN Issues AML/CFT/CPF Guidelines for Licencing Banks and other Financial Institutions

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued guidelines to assist promoters of banks and other financial institutions in fulfilling AML/CFT/CPF standards while they apply for operational licenses. 

The apex bank stated it’s for use by people and businesses requesting a license to operate as banks and other financial institutions.

The guideline is issued to comply with the Anti-Money Laundering, Combating The Financing of Terrorism, and Countering Proliferation Financing of Weapons of Mass Destruction (AML/CFT/CPF). Anybody applying for a license is obligated to consider the requirements, which are also mentioned in the guidelines.

The central bank has, for the first time, published strict standards that align its application process for banking licenses with considerations for the financing of terrorism, the purchase of weapons, and other forms of instability. Due to this, acquiring a banking license will likely become considerably more challenging and rigorous.

The CBN would be probing the shareholders of potential bank applicants more comprehensively than before, paying close attention to anyone who potentially has a history of criminal activity or links to criminals.

One significant and compelling conclusion is that applicants should be wary of penalties, especially those imposed by foreign countries and Nigerians. The outcome of their applications may be impacted, for instance, if the funders or supporters of bank clients are from nations that have already been sanctioned.

The criteria’ scope includes both fresh and pending applications. Although the rules list criteria for licensing applications, including applicability, these are insufficient explanations to reject application forms for just a banking license.

Suggested Read: CBN, NFIU to Monitor Illicit Crypto Transactions in Centralized Exchanges

Compliance Institute of Nigeria (CIN) to Up its Game in Addressing AML/CTF Gaps

With threats of financial fraud emerging across the globe, the Compliance Institute of Nigeria (CIN) has concluded plans to up its game for addressing gaps in Anti Money Laundering and Countering Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF).

The institution stated that this was important to maintain its position as the industry leader in Nigeria’s financial sector for compliance practice, in addition to promoting and upholding regulatory requirements in businesses for a reputable compliance profession.

According to the President of CIN, Pattison Boleigha, internal and external reforms were introduced by the public and business sectors to lessen the impact of the global financial downturn. According to him, it was unclear if the reforms had been successful. His remarks were made in advance of the institute’s annual meeting and induction, which will be held on December 3, 2022, with the theme ‘Compliance Culture and Corporate Governance: Role of Compliance Officers in the Public and Private Sectors.’

Pattison Boleigha stated that the Director General of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), Edwin Harris, would deliver the keynote lecture.

The President of CIN said: “How companies respond to this broader culture mandate will have a significant impact on how well companies succeed in going forward. Those companies that recognize and adapt early to the changing cultural dynamic in which we all operate will fare far better than entities that remain stagnant or turn a blind eye to the inevitable changes occurring in communities throughout the world. For us, there is no better time to dissect the issues than now.”

CIN Registrar Victor Oni said that it is imperative to analyze what would be expected of businesses to thrive in a progressively globalized consumer market in the coming year. He made this statement in light of the advancements in the corporate sector with regard to compliance and governance practices.

Suggested Read: Nigerian Parliament Strengthens AML/CTF Laws for Real Estate Industry

FATF to Reassess Morocco’s AML Measures for Possible Removal from Grey List

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is all ready to reevaluate Morocco’s Anti Money Laundering (AML) measures for the possible removal of the country from the grey list.

Nadia Fettah, the Minister of Economy and Finance, announced that Morocco is getting ready to host FATF representatives from January 18 to January 20, 2023. These three days would be critical for Morocco because if the assessors’ evaluation is conclusive, Morocco might be removed from the grey list at the February plenary. 

The FATF stated that Morocco had made political commitments with its Middle East and North Africa branch in February 2021 to tighten the framework for tackling money laundering,  financing terrorism, and funding the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The FATF also stated that the Kingdom had finished implementing the action plan but added that “however, it must be verified that work continues in this area.”  Despite Rabat’s best efforts, the FATF continued to include it among the nations on the grey list.

The FATF reports that the information exchanges with Moroccan authorities are currently going well and that the integrity of the procedure and the conversations between the assessment team and the engaged government agencies would impact the outcome to a large extent.

The Governor of Bank Al-Maghrib, Abdellatif Jouahri, emphasizes the significance of being removed from the FATF’s grey list since doing so would allow for the opening of discussions with the IMF about new lines of finance, which would ultimately result in significant transactions by global investors in the Alawi kingdom.

Getting off the grey list will also enable Morocco to be removed from the EU’s list, which is a strategic consideration for raising finances abroad. Being on the EU’s list can have a variety of effects, from financing to the rejection of transfer operations, since the EU’s AML regulation demands increased vigilance.

However, continuing to be on the list will be terrible for the North African country. If the FATF does settle on a single issue, the country would linger on the list and would have had to wait until another plenary in 2024.

Suggested Read: FATF to Conduct Checks & ‘Grey List’ Countries to Enforce Crypto AML Regulations

Ontario’s Casinos Need to Strengthen Efforts to Curb Money Laundering

According to Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk, Ontario’s casinos need to strengthen efforts in order to mitigate the risk of money laundering and other illegal activities across all lines of business.

Casinos managed by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation record fewer suspicious transactions than other gaming firms, according to Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk (OLG).

Lysyk employed “mystery shoppers” for a sting process at four Ontario casinos in Niagara Falls, the Greater Toronto Area, and Windsor in order to evaluate the effectiveness of anti-money laundering protocols.

“As part of the audit, mystery shoppers tested how easy it was to launder money, and they were able to obtain casino cheques with large amounts of cash without anyone confirming where the money came from,” Lysyk said.

The independent watchdog acknowledged that the covert operation had middling success because several of her agents had been nabbed by security.

“The mystery shoppers were not successful at the other two casino sites visited,” her report said. “The purpose of the mystery shopper assignment was to test whether the casinos verified the mystery shoppers’ play and casino wins before issuing cheques of $3,000 or more.” 

In two different transactions at the same casino, her agents were successful in collecting two casino cheques totaling $4,900 after depositing $5,000 and $10,600 after depositing $11,000 in cash.

The mystery shoppers entered with amounts ranging from $5,000 to $11,000 in cash at the two casinos, played at table games and slots for a short while (usually 10 to 15 minutes per table or slot machine), and then proceeded to be cashed out with cheques,” the report said.

Overall, Lysyk’s agents were able to depart these casinos with nearly 98% of the money they had first brought in as cash – now the funds would be considered ‘laundered’ as the cheque could be described as casino winnings.

No charges were filed against her team despite the OPP’s investigation.

Gaming industry professionals were incensed by the hoax and decried what they called its “unethical behavior.”

According to the Auditor, OLG and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario should “implement for all casino operators the requirements to obtain proof of source of funds at buy-in for cash and cash-equivalent transactions for amounts of $10,000 or more” to address potential money laundering in the statewide casinos. She recommends they “issue casino cheques only when the funds are verified as a casino win.”

OLG said that “to combat the risk of illegal activity across all lines of business, we will expand our efforts to ensure compliance with our anti-money laundering framework.”

Suggested Read: Macau to Introduce Digital Currency to Combat AML Threats in Casinos

AUSTRAC Sues Star Casino for Alleged Anti-Money Laundering Breaches

AUSTRAC has sued Star casino group with more civil penalties for doing business with ‘high-risk customers’ who launder illegally obtained funds.

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) lodged a case against the ASX-listed gambling giant in the federal court on Wednesday after wrapping up a joint probe with police and regulators in NSW and Queensland, which began in September 2019.

The case comes after an NSW royal commission-style inquiry resulted in Star being stripped of its casino licence and fined a record $100m last month.

The Queensland government has also issued the company with a show-cause notice as to why it should continue to hold a casino licence in that state after its own inquiry, also last month.

AUSTRAC will allege Star allowed customers to move money through non-transparent and highly risky channels didn’t know where the money in those channels was coming from and failed to consider their ongoing business relationships with higher-risk customers.

AUSTRAC’s chief executive, Nicole Rose, said all casinos must take anti-money laundering obligations seriously as “criminals will always seek to exploit the financial system to launder their money”.

“AUSTRAC’s investigation identified a multitude of issues including poor governance and failures of risk management and to have and maintain a compliant AML/CTF program,” she said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The Star Entities also failed to carry out appropriate ongoing customer due diligence, which has led to widespread and serious non-compliance over a number of years.”

Star’s chief executive, Robbie Cooke, said the company had cooperated with investigators and was reviewing Austrac’s statement of claim.

“We are transforming our culture, transforming our business. We are committed to improvement but there is a lot still to do,” he told the ASX in a statement.

Suggested read: Star Entertainment Group Hit with Record Fine of $100M for Money Laundering

Isle of Man Urged to Take Further Steps to Counter Money Laundering

The Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering committee has again called for an extension in the internal control requirements for AML and CFT in the Isle of Man.

The Council of Europe’s committee of experts on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing, MONEYVAL published its follow-up report on the Isle of Man. 

As per the mutual evaluation report adopted in December 2016, The Isle of Man was placed in MONEYVAL’s “enhanced follow-up” procedure as a result of the 2016 report.

The follow-up report examines the progress made by the Isle of Man in addressing some remaining technical compliance deficiencies identified in the December 2016 report.

In its previous follow-up report (September 2020), MONEYVAL considered the Isle of Man to comply or mostly comply with 39 out of 40 Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations, which are international standards for tackling money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

According to MONEYVAL, the Isle of Man retained moderate deficiencies implementing just one recommendation – Recommendation 23 – with which the Isle of Man was only “partially compliant” on the basis that:

– There was no specific requirement in the AntiMoney Laundering (AML)/Counter-Terrorist Financing (CTF) or Gambling Codes in relation to having an independent audit function

– There was no specific requirement in the AML/CFT Code for groups to have groupwide programmes against money laundering or terrorist financing

The Isle of Man subsequently asked MONEYVAL for a re-rating of its technical compliance with Recommendation 23.

In today’s report, MONEYVAL states that whilst steps have been taken to improve compliance with Recommendation 23, gaps remain. Therefore, the Isle of Man remains “partially compliant” with Recommendation 23.

The Isle of Man remains under MONEYVAL’s enhanced follow-up procedure and is expected to report back in three years’ time.

Suggested read: Council of Europe Shows Support to Serbian Authorities For Combating Money Laundering

Argentina Proposes VASP Registry as Part of Updated AML Law

Argentina is preparing to update its AML and CTF law and has proposed to include a registry for virtual asset services providers (VASPs).

The changes would prepare the country for the review that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is slated to do on the subject next year. The discussion of a proposed revamp of the anti-money laundering and terrorism financing law in Argentina might include the creation of a unified VASP registry. 

The proposal, which is being made by several institutions in the country, including the Argentine tax authority (AFIP), and also the national securities regulator (CNV), would bring the legislation up to modern standards.

This would be the first modification that legislators press on a law that has been untouched for 11 years. The institutions presented the changes to the Deputy chamber of the nation in a meeting that took place on Nov 25. 

One of the objectives of this move would be to prepare the country for the review that the FATF is slated to conduct about Argentina’s controls next year. The reform would also allow the AFIP to build a database of unique beneficiaries, with the CNV being at the head of the proposed VASP registry.

The proponents of these modifications explain that these are inspired by similar changes that have been implemented by other countries already reviewed by the FATF, and are part of the steps that must be taken before embarking on preparing cryptocurrency-specific regulation in Argentina.

Sebastian Negri, head of the anti-money laundering organization in the country (UIF) expanded on the need for these modifications to be approved and implemented. 

He stated: “We have to be able to create a registry that meets international standards for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing.”

Furthermore, Negri also stated that these modifications would be useful to protect users’ funds in these platforms from potential failures and even bankruptcy, taking cues from the situation that FTX, one of the top three cryptocurrency exchanges, is currently facing.

Suggested read: President of Argentina Open to CBDC Adoption but Central Bank Says No

Georgia Ramps Up AML Measures to Combat Financial Crime

A new report released by the Council of Europe’s AML body has highlighted Georgia’s progress in combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

On Monday, November 28, the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering body MONEYVAL released a new report which sheds light on the change in Georgia’s AML measures. 

The country has upgraded its status from “partially compliant” to “largely compliant” with Recommendation 29 of the Financial Action Task Force, an independent inter-governmental body developing policies for safeguarding the global financial system against money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

FATF’s Recommendation 29 concerns the significance of the establishment by subject countries of financial intelligence units operating as national centres for the purpose of receiving and analysing suspicious transactions and other information related to the issue.

The newly released report says Georgia has “addressed a significant shortcoming earlier identified” in its relevant system by “enhancing the powers of the financial monitoring service to disseminate information and results of analyses upon request and without a court order to all law enforcement authorities”.

Only minor shortcomings remain regarding a lack of explicit reference to requiring the financial monitoring service to conduct operational and strategic analysis and the scope of the money laundering definition”, it notes.

However, MONEYVAL also said these measures were “not sufficient to upgrade the ratings of Recommendations 22, 28 or 35″ for the country, as “moderate deficiencies” remained in the scope of “covered designated non-financial businesses and professions and the sanctioning regimes”

Recommendation 22 outlines the application of requirements to non-financial businesses and professions, with Recommendation 28 detailing their regulation and supervision and Recommendation 35 concerning sanctions against physical and legal persons.

Georgia has achieved full compliance with six of the 40 FATF recommendations, with minor deficiencies in its implementation of 22 recommendations where it has been found “largely compliant”.

Eleven recommendations remain “partially compliant” and one has a “non-compliant” rating in the assessment of the state’s efforts.

Suggested read: Cambodia and China Strengthen Ties to Combat Illegal Online Gambling and Scams

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