China grappling with HFT activities run by foreign firms in its capital markets

China’s influential newspaper Caixin, recently investigated the renewed use of high-frequency trading (HFT) in China’s futures market, operated by foreign companies that, it reports, are incorporated under fictitious corporate purposes. According to Caixin, some HFT firms are ostensibly registered to engage in the trading of physical goods in China, when in reality they are engaged […]

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

At reporting entities, such as banks, casinos or accounting firms, the AML compliance officer’s obligations to report are obligations owed to the state that arise as a matter of public law. That’s why legislation requires reporting by the registered entity and its employees. If the reporting entity does not report to the FIU, the compliance […]

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

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 […]

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 […]