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New procedure types, i.e. passporting notifications and qualifying holding procedures in the IMAS portal

20 September 2021
Knowledge Base

The European Central Bank (ECB) has successfully introduced interaction on Fit and Proper testing with significant institutions and their advisors via a dedicated infrastructure called IMAS Portal. Two new procedure types will be onboarded in the coming months to the ECB’s IMAS Portal, i.e. passporting notifications and qualifying holding procedures. They will be onboarded end of (i.e. 27) September 2021. Passporting notifications and applications with regard to qualifying holdings will therefore need to be submitted via the IMAS portal as of 1 January 2022. This relates to passporting notifications by and qualifying holdings in Dutch banks. Hence, significant and less significant Dutch banks.  Continue reading…

Coordinated action against international investment fraud network

14 September 2021
Knowledge Base

In the morning of 8 September, coordinated searches and witness hearings in Palma de Mallorca (Spain), the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark took place to halt the activities of a criminal group committing large-scale investment fraud, causing damages amounting to over EUR 55 million to a large number of victims across Europe. The action followed a complex, three-year-long investigation, which was led by the Public Prosecution Office (PPO) of Dresden and the State Office of Criminal Investigations of Saxony in Germany and coordinated through Eurojust. Continue reading…

Fraud involving sale of facemasks halted thanks to Eurojust support

20 August 2021
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An online scam involving the sale of protective materials against COVID-19, such as facemasks, has been halted with the support of Eurojust. During a joint action day conducted on 10 August, 34 searches took place across Romania, Ireland and the Netherlands. In total, 23 suspects were charged, of whom ten have been detained, with Eurojust enabling cross-border judicial cooperation. Companies in at least 20 countries were defrauded of approximately EUR 1 million. Continue reading…

HSBC – A dirty bank as an accomplice of big style Cybercriminals!

13 August 2021
Knowledge Base

by Elfriede Sixt

EFRI, an association based in Vienna, Austria, set up in spring 2020, by now represents more than 1.052 European consumers who were defrauded by cybercriminals as of writing over EUR 59,2 million in the form of investment scams also referred to as boiler room scams. HSBC, one of the world’s largest banks, is known for being a “dirty” bank. It is public knowledge that HSBC for decades has laundered hundreds of millions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels and HSBC took a prominent role in about all scandals which evolved during the past years: Panama Papers, Swiss Leaks, … (a video on the history of HSBC and its involvement in crimes can be watched here). So probably it is not surprising that this “dirty” bank is also heavily involved in Cybercriminal activities. Continue reading…

Eurojust assists Italy in blocking VAT fraud scheme with car imports from Germany

10 August 2021
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Eurojust has supported the Italian authorities to stop an elaborate fraud scheme involving the import of new and used cars from Germany. In total, 60 suspects have been identified, who defrauded the Italian tax authorities of at least EUR 6.3 million in avoided VAT levies. Furthermore, over 200 vehicles were falsely registered in Italy and sold at below market price, creating unfair competition on the car market. Eurojust set up a coordination centre and helped with the execution of European Investigation Orders to Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Germany. Continue reading…

EBA consults on new Guidelines on the role of AML / CFT Compliance Officers

09 August 2021
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The European Banking Authority (EBA) recently launched a public consultation on new Guidelines on the role, tasks and responsibilities of anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) compliance officers. The Guidelines also include provisions on the wider AML/CFT governance set-up, including at the level of the group. Once adopted, these Guidelines will apply to all financial sector operators that are within the scope of the AML Directive. This consultation runs until 2 November 2021. Continue reading…

FCA and PSR publish updated evidence on cash access

28 July 2021
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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) have published an updated assessment of the UK’s access to cash infrastructure, taking into account the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19), alongside new research on consumers who rely on cash. The findings show that most people have reasonable access to cash through a combination of bank, building society, or Post Office branches and ATMs. The FCA and PSR estimate that 95.4% of the UK population are within 2km of a free cash access point and 99.7% are within 5 km. Consumers’ ability to access banking services and cash can be affected when banks and ATM providers make decisions to close branches and cash machines. Continue reading…

Beating financial crime: Commission overhauls AML/CFT rules

27 July 2021
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The European Commission has presented an ambitious package of legislative proposals to strengthen the EU’s anti-money laundering and countering terrorism financing (AML/CFT) rules. The package also includes the proposal for the creation of a new EU authority to fight money laundering. This package is part of the Commission’s commitment to protect EU citizens and the EU’s financial system from money laundering and terrorist financing. The aim of this package is to improve the detection of suspicious transactions and activities, and to close loopholes used by criminals to launder illicit proceeds or finance terrorist activities through the financial system. As recalled in the EU’s Security Union Strategy for 2020-2025, enhancing the EU’s framework for anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing will also help to protect Europeans from terrorism and organised crime. Continue reading…

Why Nassim Taleb says bitcoin is worthless

21 July 2021
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by Michael Edesess

Nassim Nicholas Taleb doesn’t mince words. When he thinks that something is worthless, he says so. In a recent paper he says in no uncertain terms that bitcoin is worthless. However, those “uncertain terms” are not only in mathematical language but in Taleb-speak. They need some explanation and interpretation. I will provide it in this brief article. In a new paper, “Bitcoin, Currencies, and Fragility,” Taleb aims a scattergun at bitcoin and its underlying database technology, blockchain. Some of those scattershots merely ding bitcoin or blockchain only slightly, or not at all. But some of them hit the mark squarely. Continue reading…

Eurosystem launches digital euro project

19 July 2021
Knowledge Base

The Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) recently decided to launch the investigation phase of a digital euro project. Following the decision, the President of the Eurogroup Paschal Donohoe joined the meeting, congratulated the Governing Council and expressed his full support for the project. “It has been nine months since we published our report on a digital euro. In that time, we have carried out further analysis, sought input from citizens and professionals, and conducted some experiments, with encouraging results. All of this has led us to decide to move up a gear and start the digital euro project”, says ECB President Christine Lagarde. “Our work aims to ensure that in the digital age citizens and firms continue to have access to the safest form of money, central bank money”. Continue reading…