FinCEN ADVISORY ON ILLICIT ACTIVITY INVOLVING CONVERTIBLE VIRTUAL CURRENCY (CVC) – TYPOLOGIES AND RED FLAGS

On 9th May, FinCEN issued an Advisory saying that criminals continue to exploit virtual currency to support illegal activity, money laundering, and other behaviour endangering US national security, including through entities facilitating its anonymous use.  The purpose of the Advisory is said to be to assist financial institutions in identifying and reporting suspicious activity concerning how criminals and other bad actors exploit convertible virtual currencies (CVC) for money laundering, sanctions evasion, and other illicit financing purposes, particularly involving darknet marketplaces, peer-to-peer (P2P) exchangers, foreign-located Money Service Businesses (MSB), and CVC kiosks.  It includes typical virtual currency abuse typologies, and “red flag” indicators.

https://www.fincen.gov/sites/default/files/advisory/2019-05-09/FinCEN%20Advisory%20CVC%20FINAL%20508_0.pdf

SINGAPORE REVOKES SHIP FUEL SELLER’S OPERATING LICENCE

Customs Today on 10th May reported that the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore has stripped marine fuel services provider Southernpec (Singapore) Pte Ltd of its licence to operate bunker barges that refuel ships in the port.  Investigations revealed it had engaged in bunkering malpractice, using a magnet to interfere with the mass flow meter (MFM) during a fuelling operation.  Southernpec in 2018 ranked as Singapore’s 30th-largest marine fuel supplier by volumes delivered out of 51 operators, according to the MPA.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/singapore-strips-ship-fuel-seller-southernpecs-operating-licence/

MALAYSIAN MINISTER: ‘PALM OIL IS A DEAL-BREAKER FOR EU-ASEAN TRADE RELATIONS’

EurActiv on 10th May reported that Malaysia’s Minister of Primary Industries, who visited Brussels and other European capitals in a last-ditch effort to kill new EU rules that will ban the use of palm oil in biofuels – a measure European adopted because of concerns about deforestation; and warned that Malaysia would adopt retaliatory measures to penalise European products if the ban goes ahead as planned.  Furthermore, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) will not sign a partnership agreement with the EU unless palm oil is allowed again.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/agriculture-food/interview/malaysian-minister-palm-oil-is-a-deal-braker-for-eu-asean-trade-relations/

E-SPORTS FACES ANTI-TRUST PROBLEM

An article from law firm Greenberg Traurig dated 9th May says that Esports — competitive video gaming, particularly involving professional leagues, teams and players — potentially faces an impending, although largely unexpected, crisis; and says that identifying and implementing proactive policies and carefully charting how to operate effectively within anti-trust regulations is paramount to continuing esports’ success.  It says that esports faces an inherent and fundamental anti-trust concern rooted in the fact that video game publishers enjoy intellectual property protections over almost all aspects of their games.  These IP rights allow the game publishers to control, and change, basic issues including who can play, how they can play, and how viewers watch.  The command over the games provides an unparalleled ability to dictate almost all aspects of competitive video gaming.

https://www.gtlaw.com/en/insights/2019/5/published-articles/the-antitrust-lion-at-esports-door-an-impending-threat

MALTA – SPECIFIC REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR ICO

On 5th April, Kinanis produced an article saying that Malta has recently introduced a specific regulatory framework for initial coin offerings (ICO) and has become the first jurisdiction worldwide to regulate ICO and Blockchain Technology.  The article seeks to give an overview of the recent laws and regulations relating to ICO.

http://www.kinanis.com/malta-icos-thenewlegislation

FINCEN SAYS SOME DAPPS AND DEALERS IN MONEY SUBSTITUTES ARE SUBJECT TO US MONEY TRANSMITTER RULES

On 9th May, Coindesk reported that decentralised applications (dapps) may qualify as money transmitters under US law in certain circumstances, says FinCEN.  A new guidance sheet highlighted when and how different companies, individuals and platforms in the crypto space may be money transmitters under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and other relevant laws.  Other aspects of the document could have far-reaching impacts, e.g. on crypto payment processors.

https://www.coindesk.com/fincen-says-some-dapps-are-subject-to-u-s-money-transmitter-rules

The guidance sheet, on how FinCEN regulations relating to money services businesses (MSB) apply to certain business models involving money transmission denominated in value that substitutes for currency, specifically, convertible virtual currencies (CVC). from FinCEN is available at –

https://www.fincen.gov/sites/default/files/2019-05/FinCEN%20CVC%20Guidance%20FINAL.pdf

FinCEN also issued an illustrated Advisory on Illicit Activity Involving Convertible Virtual Currency –

https://www.fincen.gov/sites/default/files/advisory/2019-05-09/FinCEN%20Advisory%20CVC%20FINAL%20508_0.pdf

NORTH KOREAN CARGO SHIP SEIZED BY US

CBC in Canada on 9th may reported that the Wise Honest, a cargo ship carrying coal from North Korea and detained in Indonesia last year, has formally been seized by the US – the first such case of a vessel being formally seized.  It is described as North Korea’s second-largest cargo ship.  The vessel was owned by a subsidiary of a North Korean shipping company that is controlled by the country’s military and is on a US sanctions list.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/us-north-korea-cargo-ship-sanctions-violations-1.5129611