Bitcoin exchange owners charged by CFTC and US DoJ with various federal violations

CFTC civil enforcement action The Commodities Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC“) today filed a civil enforcement action in the SDNY against the owners – operators of a digital currency exchange called BitMEX, for alleged violations of the Commodity Exchange Act. BitMEX processed trillions of dollars in transactions, received over US$11 billion in Bitcoin and made more […]

Growing risks for AML compliance officers – client threats, intimidation and expanding personal liability

Threats and intimidation The story of how two reporters in London investigating the FinTech Wirecard were pursued by a government regulator in Germany, which commenced a bogus criminal investigation against them, and how those reporters were followed and intimidated by Wirecard and its lawyers, is reminiscent of what can happen to anti-money laundering (“AML“) compliance […]

Digital currency exchange and ICO founder with £220,000 in cash to stash

Inner City Press, a blog that covers trials in the Southern District of New York, and which covered one of the trials associated with the initial coin offering (“ICO“) of OneCoin, released an email by the founder of OneCoin, Ruja Ignatova, where she said she had £220,000 in cash and wanted it stashed in London. […]

US releases national strategy for anti-money laundering threats to US financial system

The US Department of the Treasury has released a “2020 National Strategy for Combating Terrorist and Other Illicit Financing“, which provides a roadmap to identify current money laundering and terrorist financing threats and provides strategies to mitigate the identified threats and risks. In the Strategy, some of the key money laundering risks are identified as […]

US Treasury files civil claim against foreign Bitcoin exchange and its owner / officer to enforce penalties of $100M for AML failures

The US Attorney for the Northern District of California, on behalf of the US Treasury, has filed a civil complaint against the Bitcoin exchange known as BTC-e and one of its alleged owners / officers, Alexander Vinnik, to enforce over $100 million in monetary penalties for a series of anti-money laundering law violations. BTC-e was […]

Brazil arrests 2 bank employees for AML compliance failures that allowed $249 million to be laundered and says its considering suing the bank for not stopping money laundering

Two bank employees arrested over AML failures Brazil’s chief prosecutor, Eduardo El Hage, who is in charge of Operation Car Wash, obtained an order from Brazil’s federal court for the arrest of two bank employees with Banco Bradesco SA this week, arguing that they were lax on applying anti-money laundering law. Their alleged AML compliance failures, […]

FATF to finalize interpretation of virtual assets, digital currency exchanges and ICOs to require they be FIU-registered and supervised for AML compliance

In furtherance of the US approach to responsible innovation, the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF“)’s private sector consultation in Vienna two weeks ago, will help drive changes to FATF Recommendation 15 to bring digital currencies, ICOs, and digital currency exchanges more fully into the AML requirements in June 2019. The Vienna change will take effect […]

France & Spain go after Syrian PEP, the Butcher of Hama’s $1 billion in unexplained wealth

Rifaat al-Assad, the uncle of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, is facing permanent asset forfeiture in France in connection with unexplained wealth and asset accumulation in France. He was charged in France last month with corruption, money laundering and embezzlement of state assets from Syria. He was ordered to remain in France. He is a politically exposed […]

US DoJ unseals indictment against two people associated with payment processor of digital currency exchanges

The DOJ from the Southern District of New York, unsealed a grand jury superseding indictment against two people today for allegedly providing payment processing services to digital currency exchanges without being licensed and under circumstances where they allegedly lied to obtain bank accounts. They are charged with bank fraud. According to the indictment, Reginald Fowler, […]