- Refinitiv Releases Findings of Sub-Saharan Africa Financial Crime Survey for 2020
SOUTH AFRICA – Refinitiv today released its Financial crime in Sub-Saharan Africa Report 2020, which highlights several noteworthy compliance trends.
Responses show a high level of awareness of financial crime and a desire to upgrade compliance systems. The survey highlights that the crime threat continues to evolve, with techniques used by organised crime groups and fraudsters becoming more diverse and sophisticated.
According to the findings this year, more than 28 percent of respondents recognise that driving internal behaviour change within their companies is their primary challenge, 61 percent expect a substantial increase in their compliance investment, 74 percent have a Know Your Customer (KYC) program, while 66 percent embraced innovative compliance technology.
Only 43 percent indicate they have a sanctions program despite the growth in regulatory risk, especially in the area of ‘green crime’. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to a diverse range of wildlife and plants, as well as natural resources, and this has increasingly become the target of organised crime. We note that there is a robust regulatory response to green crime, thus increasing regulatory risk. The European Union has included environmental crime as a predicate offence under the 6th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (6AMLD); and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) priorities for 2020 will focus on illegal wildlife trade.
Sub-Saharan Africa based organisations should be especially vigilant, and it is encouraging to see that organizations are striving to meet the regulatory challenge. “Africa is at the forefront of embracing mobile technology and is host to more than half the world’s mobile money services. With this increased mobile access comes the threat of identity theft and money-laundering. In response, digital identity technologies, including those of Refinitiv, are quickly evolving to meet this need and as our survey reports, a quarter of respondents have already adopted digital identity solutions,” said Nadim Najjar, Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Refinitiv.
“The shift towards digitalization is a theme that comes through very clearly in our report. The pace of this transformation is likely to have accelerated in response to Covid-19 and it is unlikely to diminish once we exit the pandemic,” he added.
Leaked Documents Reveal Money Laundering Scam Worth $2tn
Several leaked documents have revealed how the world’s biggest banks enable criminals to launder money around the world.
The documents showing about $2tn of transactions are popularly called FinCEN files.
The BBC reports that the FinCEN files are more than 2,500 documents, most of which were files that banks sent to the US authorities between 2000 and 2017. They raise concerns about what their clients might be doing.
The documents are utilised by the banks to report suspicious behaviour. However, they may not be proof of wrongdoing or crime, the report said.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a bureau of the United States Department of the Treasury is saddled with the task of analysing information about financial transactions to combat domestic and international money laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crimes.
The FinCEN files revealed how top tier banks such as HSBC, JP Morgan, Barclays Bank, Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered amongst others helped highly connected individuals move money round several accounts in the world.
JP Morgan allowed a company to move more than $1bn through a London account without knowing who owned it.
One of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest associates used Barclays Bank in London to avoid sanctions which were meant to stop him using financial services in the West.
Some of the cash was invested in works of art, the report added.
UK Banks to Ditch Clients Across Europe
UK banks are “outrageously failing” many tens of thousands of expat clients across Europe as they plot to shut their accounts and cancel credit cards within weeks due to post-Brexit rules.
This is the damning assessment of Nigel Green, the CEO and founder of deVere Group, one of the world’s largest financial advisory and fintech organisations, as most of Britain’s biggest banks send letters to customers in the EU warning them that all services are to be scrapped unless they have a UK address.
Mr Green says: “Most of the UK’s high street banks are plotting to unceremoniously abandon their customers across Europe within weeks.
“Accounts will be shut and debit and credit cards voided – regardless of how much or how little you have in those accounts or how long you have been a client – as it becomes illegal for UK banks to service British customers living in the EU without applying for new banking licences.”
He continues: “Once again, traditional banks are outrageously failing their clients who now need to take urgent steps to continue to be able to access, use, and manage their money.
“The move by these banks will be a major inconvenience to many tens of thousands of Brits living in the EU.”
Before post-Brexit rules come into effect, those affected are being urged to find alternatives to avoid potentially serious financial disruption.
“I would urge expats to now seek a financial services provider that already operates under pan-European rules,” says the deVere Group CEO.
In 2017 the firm launched deVere Vault. deVere Vault provides borderless global services with a ground-breaking e-money app and a single card, multi currency service designed with those with an international lifestyle in mind.
“You’re able to open a deVere Vault account in around five minutes, withdraw money from any cash machine worldwide, get real-time notifications with all your transactions, spend money on the card wherever Mastercard is accepted, and send and receive money in most major currencies,” notes Mr Green.
He concludes: “deVere Vault meets a growing need in an increasingly globalised world for our clients to have borderless access to and use of their money.
“Agile, tech-driven challenger banks and fintech firms are ready to fill the void left by traditional banks who are now having to routinely ditch their customers.”
NNPC Says Private Investors Will Finance Rehabilitation of Downstream Assets
Private Investors to Finance NNPC Rehabilitation of Downstream Assets
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) during the weekend said a group of private investors would finance the proposed rehabilitation and replacement of its aging downstream assets, especially petroleum pipelines, across the nation.
In a statement released in Abuja, the Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari, said some of the assets to be replaced were as old as 40 years and long overdue for replacement.
The managing director explained that the investors to be engaged would be doing the financing under the Finance, Build, Operate and Transfer, BOT, Model, adding that the model became imperative given the state of the nation’s downstream infrastructure.
He said: “Some of these assets are as old as 40 years and they are due for replacement; and when you want to do a replacement of this scale, you do need a lot of resources.
“And we know that we require these assets so we decided that we bring in private partners who will fund these pipelines, they will construct it, they will operate it with us and then ultimately they will fully recover their investment from the tariff which we will pay for using these pipelines. And as soon as they recover their cost and their margin, they will hand over these assets back to us.”
According to the NNPC boss, no fewer than 78 firms have already submitted virtual bids indicating their willingness to undertake the rehabilitation of the downstream pipelines, associated depots and terminal infrastructure of the NNPC through the financing model.
He added that the final partners would be selected by the end of the first quarter of 2021.
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