US identifies Canada as major money laundering country, and notes concern over its low prosecution rate

Canada once again a “Major Money Laundering” country The 2019 “International Narcotics Control Strategy Report” (INCSR) published on Friday by the U.S. Department of State identifies Canada once again as a “major money laundering country” along with a host of risky countries for financial crime. A “major money laundering country” is one whose banks and financial [...]

Vancouver ICO firm co-founders alleged to have defrauded investors

RCMP Investigation According to court filings in Canada, Kevin Hobbs and Lisa Chang, the two co-founders of an ICO called EtherParty FUEL and an associated company, Vanbex, based in Vancouver, are allegedly under investigation by the Federal and Serious Organized Crime Division of the RCMP for, inter alia, fraud and are also allegedly under investigation by [...]

2018 Review of our Financial Crime Blog

Every year, we review the analytics of the Financial Crime Blog at year end, and share the results of what countries visit the site; what stories attract them to it; and what sorts of financial crime information people are looking for. Here is our review, below. For 2018, the number of hits to our website [...]

World’s first bi-national government issued digital currency launched in Middle East

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates announced yesterday in Abu Dhabi that they have created and launched a joint new bi-national digital currency. The name of the coin has not been released, not the type, not the amount issued, nor its price per coin. According to the governments of both nations, the new Saudi [...]

FinCEN issues money laundering advisory for Iran’s use of Bitcoin and digital currencies

FinCEN has issued an advisory for Iran that specifically is targeted for digital currency exchanges, banks and foreign banks so that the latter can understand their obligations under the correspondent banking system. The advisory is interesting because it is one of first instances of an attempt to provide guidance to foreign banks in respect of the [...]

ICOs & tokens increasingly attracting FBI criminal attention

According to this interview with FBI’s Financial Crimes Section Chief on CNBC, the FBI is seeing an increase in the number of complaints and cases opened involving digital currencies and crime. In particular, the FBI said that it is mostly ICOs and associated investment fraud schemes involving Bitcoin that are on the raise for investigations [...]

7 Russian foreign nationals indicted in US for alleged money laundering and hacking of Canadian / US agencies

The Department of Justice announced the indictment of 7 Russian foreign nationals in Pennsylvania for their roles in an alleged hacking of anti-doping sports agencies, including one in Canada called the Canadian Centre for Ethics and Sports. According to the indictment, the indicted persons hacked into computers for several years to allegedly influence sports doping [...]

Hezbollah financier arrested for laundering $10 million at casino

An alleged financier for Hezbollah, Assad Ahmad Barakat, was arrested in Brazil, accused of laundering $10 million at a casino in Argentina. In 2004, the US Treasury said Barakat was one of the most influential members of  Hezbollah, a listed terrorist organization. It accused him of using his businesses in the border areas of Brazil, Paraguay and [...]

Do foreign digital currency exchanges taking US customers online have to be AML registered in the US?

Do foreign digital currency exchanges that take US customers online have to be AML registered in the US? Not unsurprisingly, the answer is yes. Under US law, digital currency ​exchangers​ qualify as money transmitters and are subject to the obligations under the Bank Secrecy Act. Key concepts to know are that: An exchanger is a person engaged [...]