Abler's Newsletter - March 2023

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MAURITIUS COMPLIANCE NEWS


Minister Seeruttun highlights opportunities for investors to unleash the potential of Africa


The opportunities for the investor community to unleash the potential of the African Continent was highlighted, on March 15, by the Minister of Financial Services and Good Governance, Mr Mahen Kumar Seeruttun, during the opening of the sixth edition of the Pension Funds and Alternative Investments Africa Conference at Le Méridien Hotel in Pointe aux Piments. In his keynote address, Minister Seeruttun emphasised that investors are moving focus to Africa to tap into a booming consumer market where investments can find long-term value. By 2030, he remarked, Africa will be home to 1.7 billion people with business and individual spending forecast to be USD 6.7 trillion. The Minister spoke of the important role of Mauritius for cross-border investments into Africa and pointed out that the Mauritius International Financial Centre is key to driving quality foreign direct investments in the Continent. He underscored that the investment from Mauritius into Africa represents 9% of overall foreign investment into the Continent.



Interagency collaboration is critical in combatting illicit financial flows, states Minister Seeruttun


Illicit enrichment is the key motivating factor of organised crime groups, and denying them the financial benefits of their crimes is a profound disincentive for criminality. As such, seamless communication and cooperation, at both national and international levels, between Financial Intelligence Units, Police, Prosecutors, and Asset Recovery Agencies is a critical aspect and provides the platform supporting effective counter action. The Minister of Financial Services and Good Governance, Mr Mahen Kumar Seeruttun, made this statement, on March 14 at the Holiday Inn Mauritius hotel in Plaine Magnien, during the official ceremony of the regional launch of the European Union (EU) Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) Platform in East, South, Centre of Africa & Yemen (AML-CFT ESCAY) Project, combined with the High-Level Meeting of the Heads of Asset Recovery Agencies.



Financial Services: MIFC organises awareness event on job opportunities in the sector


An awareness event aimed at shedding light on the Mauritius International Finance Centre (MIFC) and the career paths and job opportunities it offers was held, on March 13 at the Caudan Arts Centre in Port Louis, in the presence of the Minister of Financial Services and Good Governance, Mr Mahen Kumar Seeruttun, and the Chief Executive Officer of Mauritius Finance, Mr Samade Jhummun. In his keynote address, Minister Seeruttun highlighted that the MIFC is a growing and dynamic industry, establishing itself as a financial hub for the African region and attracting international businesses and investors. It is today an important contributor to economic development and stood strong in challenging times such as COVID-19 when traditional sectors were down on their knees, he said.



UAE COMPLIANCE NEWS


UAE: Ministry fines 29 companies over Dh22 million for non-compliance


The United Arab Emirates (UAE)'s Ministry of Economy has imposed fines worth Dh22.6 million on 29 companies. In a tweet posted on its official account, the authority said, the companies were operating in the designated non-financial business and professions sector. The firms were penalised for failing to comply with anti-money laundering, combating the financing of terrorism legislation.



UAE seizes assets worth DH3BN (€769M) from 270 companies for AML shortcomings


UAE has confiscated DH3BN from 270 companies for failing to comply with AML laws. The Director-General of the Department of Companies, Hamid Al Zaabi, said 3,000 companies were fined for non-compliance, according to Gulf News.



UAE Banks Federation organises workshop on combating money laundering


UAE Banks Federation (UBF), the unified representative body and voice of banks in the UAE, organised a virtual workshop on combating trade-and-credit-documents-based money laundering. The workshop comes as part of UBF's ongoing efforts to improve frameworks and procedures necessary to develop and maintain the highest levels of compliance and risk management at member banks. The workshop was hosted under the direct supervision and guidance of the Central Bank of the UAE with an aim to enhance the effectiveness of the banking and financial system to combat economic crime.



UAE Central Bank helps improve hawala operators’ compliance


The Khaleej Times published Abler Consulting’s CEO Shahannah Abdoolakhan’s expert views on March 10, 2023, covering how UAE Central Bank helps improve hawala operators’ compliance. The term hawala is used in a number of jurisdictions and is associated with a money transfer mechanism that operated extensively in South Asia many centuries ago, and which still exists there, as well in the Middle East, and in Africa. Click here to read the full article and understand how Abler supports hawala providers in the UAE to meet the requirement of independent compliance audit mandated by the Central Bank with a view to create a stronger enforcement structure and pave the way for a more robust jurisdiction.



GLOBAL COMPLIANCE NEWS


William Hill fined record £19.2 million for failing to protect customers


Three companies that fall under the umbrella of the William Hill Group will pay a total of £19.2 million for social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures. The record fine comes after it was found that customers were able to deposit large sums of money without the appropriate checks, with one customer allowed to open a new account and spend £23,000 in 20 minutes without any checks. The payment will be made to socially responsible good causes with WHG (International), which runs williamhill.com, hit with a £12.5m fine. Mr Green, which runs mrgreen.com, an online gambling company founded in 2007, will pay £3.7m, while the William Hill Organization Limited, which oversees more than 1,300 betting outlets across Britain, will pay £3m.



South Africa: Greylisted – FATF Plenary adopts Report on South African AML and CTF Measures


In late February 2023, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Plenary officially “greylisted” South Africa when it concluded that it would adopt the Report on South African Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing Measures. Being greylisted brandishes a country as being financially unsafe, in that it has inadequate safeguards against money laundering and terrorist financing. Countries and organisations shy away from, or increase their own compliance requirements for, dealing with countries that may be unable to prevent these crimes.



Global Financial Services Regulatory Momentum Monitor


The Financial Services Regulatory (FSR) Momentum Monitor is a horizon-scanning tool enabling financial service providers to plan and prepare for coming developments across the jurisdictions in which they operate. Grouping upcoming changes into key business-relevant themes, the FSR Momentum Monitor highlights the extent and expected impact of upcoming regulatory intervention in multiple jurisdictions across the globe.



Fed details Custodia Bank membership rejection over risk deficiencies


The Federal Reserve Board further expounded on the risk management deficiencies it found at Custodia Bank as part of the digital-first bank’s application to become a member of the Federal Reserve System.



Danske Bank to name audit exec new chief compliance officer


Danske Bank will appoint Chief Audit Executive Dorthe Tolborg to serve as its chief compliance officer after current CCO Satnam Lehal announced he would depart the bank in early 2024.



Report alleges Block’s Cash App facilitates fraud, disregards AML laws


An investment research firm accused financial technology payment company Block of facilitating money laundering, fraud, and scams on its platform.



Ex-Goldman banker sentenced to 10 years for 1MDB fraud role


Former Goldman Sachs Managing Director Roger Ng was sentenced to 10 years in prison on March 9, 2023, for his role in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fraud scandal. Ng was found guilty by a federal jury in April 2022 of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and commit money laundering.



SEC fines broker-dealer $100K over SARs reporting failures


A Utah-based broker-dealer agreed to pay $100,000, hire an independent anti-money laundering (AML) consultant, and be censured for allegedly failing to file suspicious activity reports (SARs) on certain transactions over a two-year period.

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