SWISS AML RULES CONSULTATION
Finews on 1st June reported that the Swiss government has opened a nearly 4-month public consultation period on draft law to beef up its money-laundering defenses. The move comes as scandals like 1MDB, Uzbek telecoms, FIFA, and Brazilian graft roil the alpine nation’s finance sector. FATF examiners made several key recommendations for Switzerland, which has hardly updated its AML laws since rolling them out more than 20 years ago. In parallel, Swiss financial regulator Finma has pursued a far more openly aggressive stance on money-laundering. Swiss banks will be required to widen due diligence when clients ask to establish vehicles like trusts and other companies. The draft law also requires banks to verify who the beneficial owner of accounts is, which confirms case law but is not yet required by law. The proposed law also addresses associations, a quirk of Swiss law meant for not-for-profit entities like community groups but has also long shielded soccer’s global governing body FIFA from scrutiny. The draft law also seeks to crack down on the use of criminal funds to buy precious metals and gems by lowering the cash payment threshold.
AMAZON, E-BAY AND FRUUGO CO-OPERATE ON VAT FRAUD IN UK
Tamebay on 2nd June reported that HMRC has published the list of marketplaces who have signed up to co-operate on VAT Fraud and error on marketplaces and (the very short list). The list opened on the 25th April and HMRC published the list of first signatories to the agreement on the 29th of May. Amazon didn’t hesitate and signed on the 26th of April, eBay were swift to act signing by the end of the week on the 30th and the following week Fruugo signed on the 4th of May. HMRC are asking for data to enable them to identify individual business sellers and calculate the value and volume of UK sales of individual businesses. Marketplaces will also share your business contact information with HMRC so that the tax collectors can get in touch. This is the minimum information an online marketplace must provide if they sign up to the agreement.
PUTIN RATIFIES ANTI-TERRORIST NATIONAL FINANCING STRATEGY
Prensa Latina on 2nd June reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin has ratified the national strategy to fight money laundering and terrorist financing. The strategy identifies risk areas in the fight against the legalisation of illegally obtained money, and to prevent the diversion of financial resources to terrorism.
MONEY LAUNDERING ISSUES AGAIN LINKED WITH MALTA’S PASSPORT SCHEME
The Malta Independent on 2nd June reported that an Associated Press report has once again linked Malta’s passport scheme with money laundering issues. In a report mostly dealing with Latvia in the wake of US sanctions, Malta is mentioned as being a country used for money laundering purposes. The selling of passport is specifically mentioned.
HMRC SAVES PUBLIC £2.4 MILLION BY STOPPING FRAUDSTERS
A news release from HMRC on 2nd June reported that HMRC has saved the public over £2.4 million by tackling fraudsters that trick them using copycat websites into using premium rate phone numbers for services that HMRC provide for free.
LIEGE AIRPORT SECURES MAJOR E-COMMERCE DEAL WITH ALIBABA
Lloyds Loading List on 2nd June reported that Liege Airport will be the new European hub for Cainiao Smart Logistics Network, the distribution arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
PETITION TO BAN THE SALE OF FUR IN THE UK
On 31st May, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper ready for a debate will take place in Westminster Hall on 4th June on a petition calling for a ban on the sale of animal fur in the UK. According to the British Fur Trade Association, the majority of exporting fur farms are located in Europe and North America and wild fur is produced in North America and Russia. A campaign by the Humane Society International sets out their concerns about suffering in animals used for fur.
BRIEFING – THE UK IVORY BILL
Another House of Commons Library briefing covers the Government proposal to ban the commercial use of elephant ivory, with some exceptions. It also include background information on the ivory trade, its impact on wild elephant populations and international efforts to address this.
GIBRALTAR BLOCKCHAIN EXCHANGE SOFTLY LAUNCHES
Banking Tech on 1st June reported that the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX) has soft launched its digital asset exchange.