Thursday, 24 September 2020

US Seeks International Support on Crypto-Linked Crime

The United States, through U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, is seeking to gain international support in dealing with crimes tied to digital currencies.

“We must not allow cybercriminals to hide behind cryptocurrencies,” Rosenstein said at the the annual meeting of Interpol, according to CoinDesk. “In addition, fraudsters use the lure of coin offerings and the promise of new currencies to bilk unsuspecting investors, promote scams and engage in market manipulation.”

The statements from Rosenstein come as a study from the Wall Street Journal found that of 2,500 crypto-related crimes tied to bitcoin and Ethereum, $90 million of funds found their way through crypto intermediaries, laundered across 46 exchanges. Recovery efforts by law enforcement have been able to retrieve a bit less than $2 million of funds.

Brexit Deal Awaits Vote

Separately, across the pond, the world waited, with bated breath, the fate of Brexit negotiations. Over the weekend, the U.K. and EU signed off on their divorce, and the language touching financial services is brief, and perhaps not all that surprising to stakeholders after months of back-and-forth negotiations.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, there are just three paragraphs out of 147 in the withdrawal agreement hammered out by participants that tie into financial services. The equivalence framework will govern a large chunk of financial services, and where the EU can judge whether a third country’s regulations are strong enough to allow that firm to operate within the EU. In terms of cross-border activity, lenders that operate with the U.K. as their home base must have EU subsidiaries in place. As always, everything hinges on the passage of the deal by parliament, slated for December.

Also in Europe, the man who blew the whistle on Danske Bank, pointing to money-laundering activities, has said that U.K. company structures are “a disgrace” and that limited-liability partnerships have been “abused” for years. That’s according to whistleblower Howard Wilkinson, and to commentary that he provided to European lawmakers.

As has been widely reported, Danske, which is Denmark’s largest bank, has been and is being investigated over as much as $150 million laundered from Russia and several former Soviet states. Transactions that are being eyed have been tied to the bank’s Estonian branch. In tandem with the investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice and others, Deutsche Bank has said that it has played a “secondary role” as a correspondent bank, having helped process $150 billion in suspect transactions. Wilkinson has also advocated that the EU should ban nondisclosure agreements that ban former employees from pointing toward illegal actions.

Also, in terms of individual company news, Wells Fargo is reportedly looking to keep at least some customers out of a plan that would compensate as many as 600,000 customers who took out car insurance from the firm that they did not need. As has been reported, the bank earlier this year was fined $1 billion and regulators have mandated that Wells Fargo compensate the drivers deemed harmed by the practices, which stretched from 2002 to 2016. The company wants to compensate only those drivers steered into policies dating back to 2005 and beyond. Wells had said in the past that it would compensate every driver harmed through the insurance practices; as reported by Auto News, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has allowed the bank to bracket its payout roadmap to a period that spans 2005 to 2016.

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