Financial Crime UK – Atos Victims Group http://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/ Sun, 16 Jan 2022 07:33:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/default1.png Financial Crime UK – Atos Victims Group http://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/ 32 32 Serial romance fraudster jailed after scamming women out of nearly £20,000 https://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/serial-romance-fraudster-jailed-after-scamming-women-out-of-nearly-20000/ Sat, 15 Jan 2022 10:53:34 +0000 https://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/serial-romance-fraudster-jailed-after-scamming-women-out-of-nearly-20000/ A romance fraudster who defrauded several women of thousands of pounds and targeted hundreds more has been jailed for 28 months, following an investigation by the National Crime Agency. Osagie Aigbonohan, 41, from Lagos, Nigeria, used a number of aliases to contact several women online through dating and social media sites. Of those identified, investigators […]]]>

A romance fraudster who defrauded several women of thousands of pounds and targeted hundreds more has been jailed for 28 months, following an investigation by the National Crime Agency.

Osagie Aigbonohan, 41, from Lagos, Nigeria, used a number of aliases to contact several women online through dating and social media sites. Of those identified, investigators believe he defrauded them out of a total of £20,000 and in one case cheated a woman out of almost £10,000.

Going by the name ‘Tony Eden’, Aigbonohan struck up a ten-month relationship with a victim last year via a dating site and persuaded her to lend him money to hire drilling equipment for his business abroad.

He made up a story claiming to be broke after paying for the funerals of a number of people who died in machinery accidents.

The victim made nine transfers, totaling £9,500, to various accounts held under false identities, with the money eventually ending up in a personal account held by Aigbonohan.

Aigbonohan’s phone data showed he also received money from at least eight other victims and had contact with more than 670 people in total.

One of the women targeted was terminally ill, with Aigbonohan continuing to pursue her even after her death.

NCA officers arrested Aigbonohan in July 2021. He was then carrying a fake driving license and was illegally in the UK, having overstayed his visa from two years ago.

Records showed that despite living in Abbey Wood, London, he had spent the victims’ money at locations in London, Manchester and Glasgow.

Today [14 January] at Southwark Crown Court he was sentenced to 28 months after pleading guilty to charges of fraud and money laundering.

Dominic Mugan, Head of NCA Operations, Complex Finance Team, said: “Aigbonohan had no respect for these women. He went to great lengths to gain their trust, fabricating stories to exploit them by the thousands.

“It’s a typical pattern of romance fraudsters; they strive to establish relationships before making such demands. Romance fraud is a crime that affects victims emotionally and financially and, in some cases, affects their families.

“We want to encourage anyone who thinks they’ve been the victim of romance fraud not to feel embarrassed or ashamed, but rather to report it.”

James Lewis of the CPS said: ‘Romance fraud is a particularly insensitive offence, involving the exploitation of an individual’s emotional needs and caring qualities, to extract money from them. People should be especially vigilant in the coming month as we head into Valentine’s Day and more and more people are looking for a partner.

“Aigbonohan showed a callous disregard for his victims, grooming them with romantic promises before dishonestly persuading them to provide him with financial aid.

“Through the extensive and thorough investigative work of the National Crime Agency and the support of individual victims, the CPS has brought Aigbonohan to a halt in fraudulent activities. Hopefully, this case will serve to deter other romance scammers who prey on victims in the same way.

The NCA advises anyone using dating sites to avoid disclosing too many personal details when talking online to someone you have never met in person, as this can lead to your identity being stolen. . You should stay on the site’s messaging service until you meet in person; don’t be tempted to switch to other platforms that offer less protection. And most importantly, no matter how long you’ve been talking to someone online and how much you trust them, if you haven’t met them in person, don’t send them money.

If you think you have been the victim of fraud, you should report it to ActionFraud.police.uk and follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign, which offers simple, unbiased advice to help people spot scams and to protect against fraud.

January 15, 2022

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Leading activist urges UK to target Kazakh elite wealth | Business https://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/leading-activist-urges-uk-to-target-kazakh-elite-wealth-business/ Wed, 12 Jan 2022 19:27:00 +0000 https://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/leading-activist-urges-uk-to-target-kazakh-elite-wealth-business/ One of the architects of the updated UK sanctions legislation called on the government and criminal agencies to target the wealth of the Kazakh elite after at least 164 people died in the unrest. Bill Browder, a US investor turned activist, said the UK government could use anti-corruption legislation to target Kazakhstan’s rulers on the […]]]>

One of the architects of the updated UK sanctions legislation called on the government and criminal agencies to target the wealth of the Kazakh elite after at least 164 people died in the unrest.

Bill Browder, a US investor turned activist, said the UK government could use anti-corruption legislation to target Kazakhstan’s rulers on the basis of human rights abuses.

“It could be imposed in Kazakhstan very easily, and it should be used much more widely than it is now,” he told British MPs on Wednesday.

A report released last month by think tank Chatham House identified 34 British properties purchased by the Kazakh ruling elite from 1998 to 2002 at a cost of around £ 530million. Pressure is mounting on the government to use the tools at its disposal, including sanctions, property records and lawsuits to curb the flow of money from Kazakhstan and other autocratic regimes .

Protests over fuel prices in Kazakhstan last week turned into armed battles for control of vital infrastructure such as the airport of Almaty, the financial capital. The protests sparked a violent crackdown as well as an external military intervention backed by Russia.

Browder was speaking at a remote event hosted by MPs from the all-party parliamentary group on tackling corruption and responsible taxation, alongside MPs such as Dame Margaret Hodge of Labor and Andrew Mitchell of the Conservatives. All three were instrumental in the UK’s introduction of legislation in 2017 giving criminal agencies the power to target unexplained wealth.

Browder also helped ensure that gross human rights violations were included in offenses covered by the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018. The legislation was inspired by Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer and colleague of Browder who was killed in a Moscow prison after exposing an alleged fraud involving Kremlin officials.

Hodge and Browder both criticized the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), saying it had not done enough to target the illicit wealth of dictators and kleptocrats, or their families. The NCA’s approach was “lazy,” pursuing easy pursuits rather than larger targets, Browder said. A spokesperson for the NCA strongly denied that this was the case.

Hodge said the UK failed to enforce sanctions against members of the Kazakh elite in part because of the ANC’s failure in 2020 to freeze the assets of the daughter and grandson of former President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. Nazarbayev officially resigned in 2019, but he is widely seen as wielding significant influence over the Kazakh government, although that may change in the wake of the unrest.

Regarding the failed sanctions against the Kazakh rulers, Hodge said: “I think they are afraid because they have lost the unexplained order of wealth, but of course they should use the sanctions regime against them. . It’s scandalous.

MPs and activists called for increased funding for criminal agencies as well as other measures such as proper checks by the UK companies register and a register of beneficial ownership of property. Hodge told the Guardian that UK efforts to prevent kleptocrats from hiding wealth in the UK could fund themselves if the NCA were allowed to “take a slice of frozen assets to cover their costs.” She also said there should be a cost cap for agencies when prosecuting deep-pocketed offenders.

The NCA spokesperson said: “Tackling the flow of illicit finance into the UK is a top priority for the National Crime Agency. We will continue to use all the legislation at our disposal to prosecute suspicions of illicit financing and harness the full capabilities of UK law enforcement against serious criminals and corrupt elites. “

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Barclays Wins Offer to Recover $ 130 Million from Health Co. Exec https://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/barclays-wins-offer-to-recover-130-million-from-health-co-exec/ Mon, 10 Jan 2022 17:39:00 +0000 https://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/barclays-wins-offer-to-recover-130-million-from-health-co-exec/ By Silvia Martelli (January 10, 2022, 5:39 p.m. GMT) – A judge ruled on Monday that Barclays could enforce a $ 131.5 million judgment against the founder of a bankrupt hospital operator implicated in a fraud scandal, allowing the banking giant to recoup losses created by human forex trading. The High Court granted Barclay Bank […]]]>
By Silvia Martelli (January 10, 2022, 5:39 p.m. GMT) – A judge ruled on Monday that Barclays could enforce a $ 131.5 million judgment against the founder of a bankrupt hospital operator implicated in a fraud scandal, allowing the banking giant to recoup losses created by human forex trading.

The High Court granted Barclay Bank PLC summary judgment in its fight to recover money from Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty, the founder of a large international conglomerate that collapsed under controversial circumstances, wiping out billions of dollars for the shareholders.

Judge Andrew Henshaw has said that a $ 131.5 million judgment Barclay holds against Shetty is enforceable in English courts. The…

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How the Kazakh elite invested their wealth in British real estate | Kazakhstan https://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/how-the-kazakh-elite-invested-their-wealth-in-british-real-estate-kazakhstan/ Sat, 08 Jan 2022 21:27:00 +0000 https://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/how-the-kazakh-elite-invested-their-wealth-in-british-real-estate-kazakhstan/ The ministers face allegations that they allowed Kazakhstan’s ruling elite to secretly invest large swathes of the country’s wealth in London’s property market after failing to introduce the promised new transparency laws. Former Prime Minister David Cameron pledged at an anti-corruption summit in London in 2016 that the UK would end covert ownership of offshore […]]]>

The ministers face allegations that they allowed Kazakhstan’s ruling elite to secretly invest large swathes of the country’s wealth in London’s property market after failing to introduce the promised new transparency laws.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron pledged at an anti-corruption summit in London in 2016 that the UK would end covert ownership of offshore properties. More than five years later, a draft register of foreign owners of British real estate has still not been introduced.

The uprisings in Kazakhstan last week reflected widespread anger over the three decades of reign of former President Nursultan Nazarbayev and the immense fortunes amassed by the privileged few.

Goods worth hundreds of millions of pounds in London and southern England have already been identified as purchased by Kazakhstan’s wealthy elite over the past two decades. The government is now under pressure to speed up new laws to introduce the registry promised by Cameron.

David Lammy, shadow foreign minister, said: “The government has failed in any way to bring the UK’s role in money laundering, corruption and illicit financing under control. London is the destination of choice for the world’s kleptocrats looking to store ill-gotten wealth. There is no point in using harsh words against the Putin regime, or criticizing Kazakhstan’s human rights record, while being a soft touch to the elites who support and profit from autocratic regimes.

David Cameron, Prime Minister in 2016. Photograph: Andy Rain / EPA

There are almost 90,000 businesses in England and Wales owned overseas by companies incorporated in secret jurisdictions.

A report titled The UK’s Kleptocracy Problem, published last month by think tank Chatham House, identified 34 properties purchased by the Kazakh ruling elite from 1998 to 2002 at a cost of around £ 530million. John Heathershaw, professor of international relations at the University of Exeter and lead author of the report, said: “Most of the assets are linked to Nazarbayev’s family or to members of the ruling elite close to them. Experts say the portfolio is likely to be “the tip of the iceberg” as many other properties will be owned by offshore shell companies who do not disclose their beneficial owners.

Heathershaw said London was a popular destination for ruling elites with questionable wealth, as it was a cosmopolitan and global financial center; it has provided a range of law firms offering aggressive reputation management services; and he offered the chance to mingle with influential figures in political, royal and business circles.

He said: “London has been very important to Kazakhstan’s political elite and that includes the relationships they have developed with individuals such as Tony Blair and Prince Andrew.” Blair has advised the Kazakh regime and Prince Andrew has been close to some of its wealthier people.

Properties of the Kazakh elite purchased during Nazarbayev’s presidency include Prince Andrew’s marital home, Sunninghill Park in Berkshire, purchased in 2007 for £ 15million by oligarch Timur Kulibayev, the former president’s son-in-law from Kazakhstan.

It also emerged in early 2020 that Nazarbayev’s daughter Dariga Nazarbayeva and grandson Nurali Aliyev owned property in London worth at least £ 80million. The National Crime Agency has issued unexplained wealth orders, which are used to track suspicious funds, against three properties: a mansion on The Bishops Avenue, one of the capital’s most expensive roads; an apartment in Chelsea; and a mansion in Highgate, north London. The orders were overturned by a judge who ruled that the NCA had proven no connection between the purchase of the houses and the criminal funds.

Protesters clash with police at a rally against rising energy prices in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Jan.5, 2022.
Protesters clash with police at a rally against rising energy prices in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Jan.5, 2022. Photograph: Alexander Kuznetsov / EPA

Oliver Bullough, author of Country of money, a book that studies how illicitly acquired wealth can be moved around the world, said the uprisings in Kazakhstan were linked to the uninterrupted flow of wealth from the country to cities like London. According to a KPMG report, 162 people control about half of Kazakhstan’s total wealth.

Bullough said, “Kazakhstan’s elite have been able to extract a great deal of wealth and leave ordinary people with very little. And the main catalyst for this extraction has been the UK. “

Ben Cowdock, head of investigations at Transparency International UK, an independent anti-corruption organization, said the UK should now consider whether it can impose sanctions on any of Kazakhstan’s ruling elites that could have benefited illicit funds.

He said: “Kazakhstan is a kleptocracy and there are high levels of corruption at the highest levels of power. The UK should be looking for evidence to act, but it’s extremely difficult in a country that has essentially legitimized corruption. They took control of all property in the country and divided it among the ruling elite.

It is not known where Nazarbayev is this week and there has been speculation he may have left the country. Nazarbayev, 81, resigned as president in 2019, but until last week he still wielded considerable power and chaired the country’s powerful security council. He has now been removed from this post.

A UK government spokesperson said: “The government will establish a new beneficial ownership register of foreign entities that own property in the UK, in order to combat money laundering and achieve greater transparency on the UK property market. It is essential that the registry strikes the right balance between improving transparency and reducing burdens on legitimate business activities. The government will legislate when parliamentary time permits.


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Watchdog probes MacIntyre’s audits on mortgage broker https://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/watchdog-probes-macintyres-audits-on-mortgage-broker/ Fri, 07 Jan 2022 11:03:00 +0000 https://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/watchdog-probes-macintyres-audits-on-mortgage-broker/ By Najiyya Budaly (January 7, 2022, 11:03 GMT) – The UK accountancy watchdog said on Friday it was reviewing MHA MacIntyre Hudson’s audits of a mortgage intermediary’s financial statements for the years ending 2018 and 2019 . The Financial Reporting Council said it has opened an investigation into audits conducted by accountants MacIntyre Hudson LLP […]]]>
By Najiyya Budaly (January 7, 2022, 11:03 GMT) – The UK accountancy watchdog said on Friday it was reviewing MHA MacIntyre Hudson’s audits of a mortgage intermediary’s financial statements for the years ending 2018 and 2019 .

The Financial Reporting Council said it has opened an investigation into audits conducted by accountants MacIntyre Hudson LLP on the books of MRG Finance UK PLC for the years ending December 2018 and 2019.

The investigation will be conducted by the FRC’s enforcement division as part of the board’s verification enforcement process. The regulator has the power to impose fines and ban auditors if they find they have not complied with …

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Sight Magazine – Metaverse to crypto: Five tech trends to watch in 2022 https://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/sight-magazine-metaverse-to-crypto-five-tech-trends-to-watch-in-2022/ Wed, 05 Jan 2022 04:30:26 +0000 https://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/sight-magazine-metaverse-to-crypto-five-tech-trends-to-watch-in-2022/ 05 January 2022 ZOE TABARY London, United KingdomThomson Reuters Foundation From the fight against the coronavirus pandemic to working remotely and communicating with our loved ones, digital tools, platforms and policies are increasingly affecting our way of life. Here are five tech trends to watch in 2022. Crypto-currenciesCryptocurrencies are moving from the financial fringes to […]]]>

London, United Kingdom
Thomson Reuters Foundation

From the fight against the coronavirus pandemic to working remotely and communicating with our loved ones, digital tools, platforms and policies are increasingly affecting our way of life.

Here are five tech trends to watch in 2022.

Crypto-currencies
Cryptocurrencies are moving from the financial fringes to the mainstream, with major investors, businesses and even countries moving to embrace digital money as an asset and a routine payment method.

In September, El Salvador became the first country to adopt bitcoin as legal tender, as the U.S. city of Miami reflects on using bitcoin for paying taxes and paying city employees’ salaries.

But countries like China and Nigeria have moved to ban some or all cryptocurrency transactions, which technology experts say could displace crypto mining – the power-hungry computer process by which tokens of currency digital are created – underground.

This year is expected to see more restrictions as authorities fear these highly volatile, privately-exploited digital coins will undermine their control of financial and monetary systems, increase systemic risk, promote financial crime and harm investors. .

A customer tests a smartphone during the launch of the new iPhone XS and XS Max at Apple’s “re: Store” retailer in Moscow, Russia, September 28, 2018. PHOTO: Reuters / Tatyana Makeyeva / File photo.

Metaverse
From virtual goods to AI-powered avatars that can be rented by businesses, a growing digital world is pushing property and privacy rights into uncharted territory.

In October, Facebook rebranded itself as Meta Platforms Inc and announced plans to create thousands of jobs and invest billions in the so-called metaverse – a virtual environment where people can meet, play and collaborate.

The term is popular in Silicon Valley, with Microsoft having mentioned the convergence of the digital and physical worlds, while online games like Roblox and Fortnite are already considered part of the metaverse.

The buzz has fueled the debate on how to protect fundamental rights as more and more activity moves online.



Monitoring
The coronavirus pandemic has prompted governments from China to the United Arab Emirates to impose surveillance measures such as drones and phone data tracking to trace infections and keep tabs on the population.

But human rights experts fear that measures put in place to protect citizens in exceptional circumstances, when most people agree to be necessary, may survive the current crisis and infringe on privacy rights. .

Authorities also regularly use surveillance technologies such as facial recognition to fight crime, leading activists to warn that such measures can disproportionately target minorities and marginalized communities.

For example, they note, police technologies predicting where crime might occur can be informed by biased data sets, leading them to mistakenly identify black people and people of color as more likely to offend.

Sight Subscriber Announcement Oct. 21, 2

Content moderation
Social media companies have been criticized for their content moderation practices, berated for not combating hate speech online and facilitating the spread of fake news.

In December, Rohingya refugees filed a $ 150 billion class action lawsuit against Meta, arguing that the social media company’s failure to control the content and design of its platform contributed to violence against the community. rohingya.

Tech companies in the United States – where most large companies are headquartered – enjoy broad protections under a law known as Section 230, which protects online platforms like Facebook and Twitter from liability. legal about what others say or do on their sites.

This left the regulation of content to the companies themselves, exposing them to criticism.

Internet shutdowns
Global Internet shutdowns and shutdowns have disrupted communication and made life difficult for millions of people over the past year.

Internet services were cut off in Sudan for more than two weeks in October, following a coup by military leaders. Myanmar has also suffered several blackouts since a military coup in February.

Such measures are increasingly used by authoritarian governments to restrict people’s ability to organize, voice their opinions and participate in online governance, digital rights activists warn.


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2021 scam: warning issued as fraudsters cheat wealthy Britons with their pension funds’ | Personal Finances | Finance https://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/2021-scam-warning-issued-as-fraudsters-cheat-wealthy-britons-with-their-pension-funds-personal-finances-finance/ Mon, 03 Jan 2022 06:00:00 +0000 https://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/2021-scam-warning-issued-as-fraudsters-cheat-wealthy-britons-with-their-pension-funds-personal-finances-finance/ More than half of those classified as high net worth individuals (HNWI) admitted to having been duped by a financial scam in recent years. That figure rises to almost two-thirds of wealthy people with assets over £ 2million. As part of its research into financial scams and fraud in the UK, Saltus Wealth Index interviewed […]]]>

More than half of those classified as high net worth individuals (HNWI) admitted to having been duped by a financial scam in recent years.

That figure rises to almost two-thirds of wealthy people with assets over £ 2million.

As part of its research into financial scams and fraud in the UK, Saltus Wealth Index interviewed 1,000 people with assets over £ 250,000 to determine how they were affected by financial crimes over the course of in recent years.

Around 36% of those with fortunes between £ 250,000 and £ 1million said they had fallen for financial scams.

READ MORE: TSB throws raffle with £ 1,000 reward – could you be a winner?

That number rose sharply to 41% for people with assets of around £ 500,000 to £ 1million.

More than half of people (53%) with assets totaling between £ 1-2million have also lost hard-earned money to fraudsters.

In the study, women were slightly more likely than men to say they had been the victims of financial scams.

DO NOT MISS

Of all age groups, Gen Xers were found to be the most likely to be reported as the target of fraud.

Mike Stimpson, a partner at Saltus, explained how people can protect their pensions and other assets from scammers.

Mr Stimpson said: “We all know that professional advice can help you reach your financial goals, but one of the lesser known – but hugely important – benefits of having a financial advisor is that they can also help you. help protect you from financial crime.

“We can see that people aged 35 to 44 are the most likely to have reported being scammed.

“Although this study focuses on reported crimes, we cannot conclude with certainty that this age group is actively targeted by criminals.

“Logic suggests that those who start thinking about what to do when they can access their pension (at age 55) may be at greater risk as fraudsters see an opportunity to defraud people from their pension fund. retirement.”

The financial expert noted the importance of seeking professional advice before making risky investments or other decisions involving money.

Mr Stimpson added: “As a general rule, it’s best to ignore – or ideally, report – any unsolicited contact because a true financial advisor wouldn’t cold call about a specific investment opportunity.

“Any unconventional commission arrangement should also raise a red flag.

“Having a long-term relationship with a financial advisor can give you real peace of mind, not only that they make your money work for you, but also that they support you when it comes to protecting your wealth. .

“Financial advisers know the markets, they know when something is too good to be true, and they care about your best interests.

“At the end of the day, that means they’re your best line of defense when it comes to financial scams.”

Those who have been affected by any form of financial scams in the UK are encouraged to report their case to Action Fraud, the UK’s official scam watchdog.


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Outlook 2022: Marc Murphy, Cengiz Kiamil & Niall Twomey, Fenergo https://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/outlook-2022-marc-murphy-cengiz-kiamil-niall-twomey-fenergo/ Wed, 29 Dec 2021 05:43:00 +0000 https://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/outlook-2022-marc-murphy-cengiz-kiamil-niall-twomey-fenergo/ Marc Murphy is CEO, Cengiz Kiamil is responsible for product strategy and Niall Twomey is CTO at Fenergo. Marc Murphy What key themes can we expect to see in 2022? Change will be underway in the financial sector in the new year with some of the UK’s biggest banks, including Nationwide and Barclays, appointing new […]]]>

Marc Murphy is CEO, Cengiz Kiamil is responsible for product strategy and Niall Twomey is CTO at Fenergo.

Marc Murphy

What key themes can we expect to see in 2022?

Change will be underway in the financial sector in the new year with some of the UK’s biggest banks, including Nationwide and Barclays, appointing new CEOs. With new leadership comes an expectation of change and with that new leaders are likely to want to modernize from top to bottom. On top of that, digital transformation is likely to play an important role in 2022 as banks prepare to comply with ESG and other regulations while striving to gain customer experience and reduce costs.

What are your expectations for 2022?

Cengiz Kiamil

The regulatory landscape for financial institutions has never been so complex. The speed of change is increasing and the lines between regulations such as financial crime, ESG, reputational risk and fraud, etc., are blurring. Operational efficiency and the focus on automating compliance will be central concerns for banks in 2022. Banks will not retain customers if they continue to spend a long time providing services. For too long, employees have had to manually re-enter the same customer information in disparate and numerous computer systems that do not communicate with each other. When it comes to data, the third party is the way to go, but the key to success will be how we set standards for auditing.

While still satisfying regulators, banks will take seriously replacing legacy technologies with technology ecosystems connected to APIs that streamline data management and policies to ultimately improve time to revenue generation and longevity. ‘client experience. They will be the best performing banks in 2022.

How can asset managers cope with ever-increasing technological challenges in 2022?

Niall twomey

Schroders’ acquisition of the trust management business of Rivers and Mercantile is just the latest in a long line of mergers and acquisitions in the industry this year. In 2022, it will be interesting to see if asset managers can eliminate long-standing tech headaches after some of these high-profile acquisitions. One of the biggest challenges following any acquisition agreement is data management. Even the most established companies have their data kept in siled systems, posing a clear risk from a regulatory perspective. Having information about clients, funds, and counterparties in different parts of the business not only creates a significant compliance headache, but it also means that the end investor is not getting the best experience. For any asset manager looking to integrate newly acquired funds, a centralized data strategy leveraging cloud technology is essential to bring all information together and maintain it consistently.


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“Blockchain Rock”: Gibraltar to become the world’s leading cryptocurrency hub | Crypto-currencies https://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/blockchain-rock-gibraltar-to-become-the-worlds-leading-cryptocurrency-hub-crypto-currencies/ Mon, 27 Dec 2021 10:01:00 +0000 https://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/blockchain-rock-gibraltar-to-become-the-worlds-leading-cryptocurrency-hub-crypto-currencies/ ohn the southern Mediterranean coast, nestled in the shade of the Rock’s sheer limestone cliffs and its tangle of wild olive trees, the Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSX) is quietly preparing for a corporate takeover that could have global consequences for the old naval garrison. Less than a mile away, next to the blue waters of […]]]>

ohn the southern Mediterranean coast, nestled in the shade of the Rock’s sheer limestone cliffs and its tangle of wild olive trees, the Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSX) is quietly preparing for a corporate takeover that could have global consequences for the old naval garrison.

Less than a mile away, next to the blue waters of Gibraltar Marina, regulators on the peninsula are examining a proposal that would prompt blockchain company Valereum to buy the exchange in the New Year – which means the UK Overseas Territory may soon host the world’s first integrated exchange, where conventional bonds can be traded alongside major cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and dogecoin.

It’s a bold move for a territory of just 33,000 people, where the financial sector – which accounts for around a third of Gibraltar’s £ 2.4 billion economy – is overseen by a regulator made up of 82 employees. If all goes according to plan, the enclave could become a global cryptocurrency hub; if the controls put in place by the small team of regulators fail, it risks damaging its reputation and, ultimately, diplomatic sanctions that could threaten its economy.

While countries like China and the UK have banned or openly cautioned against investing in crypto assets, Gibraltar has turned the tide, having pledged to officially regulate cryptocurrencies in a bid to keep the market going. status of the territory as a financial hub.

It comes as Gibraltar struggles to shake off its reputation as a global tax haven, as the government has sued a Spanish newspaper in an attempt to restore its global standing.

Albert Isola, Gibraltar’s Minister for Digital, Financial and Public Services, said that while Gibraltar was a tax haven 20 years ago, the territory has now overhauled its tax and information-sharing policies. The introduction of crypto regulation has a similar effect – eradicating bad actors and providing insurance to investors, he says.

“If you wanted to do naughty things in crypto, you wouldn’t be in Gibraltar, because the companies are licensed and regulated, and they’re nowhere else in the world,” Isola says.

Gibraltar’s regulator has so far approved 14 cryptocurrency and blockchain companies for its licensing program, drawing the attention of former Sirius Minerals chairman Richard Poulden, who has chosen Gibraltar for the project. Valereum cryptocurrency exchange. Valereum, he says, is trying to mine a cryptocurrency industry that’s worth around $ 3.5 billion (£ 2.6 billion) – roughly the combined value of all the companies listed on the Exchange. from London.

Poulden is the chairman of Valereum, which is based in Gibraltar and focuses on providing technology to link traditional conventional currencies such as the pound and the dollar with crypto assets.

It will be a major task to overhaul an exchange that currently only has three employees and will require an amendment to Gibraltar’s regulations to govern how crypto will be traded on the GSX. But Poulden says his business relies on technology, rather than people, to take out bad actors.

He says performing anti-money laundering checks on cryptocurrencies is “not much different than performing checks on currencies from any other source. And indeed, in some cases, because you can go back up through the blockchain and see exactly where that money is coming from, it can actually be a lot easier than trying to find where a block of funds is coming from in. a bank.

Other countries will follow closely. Neil Williams, based in London Deputy Head of Complex Crime at Reeds Solicitors, says: “If it’s a success, you would definitely think other jurisdictions would be looking to follow, because it’s an increasingly valuable commodity.

However, experts have warned that Gibraltar could face sanctions from countries such as the United States if its regulators end up giving legal approval to crypto firms that, even inadvertently, give a pass. to money launderers, black market criminals or kleptocrats who prefer crypto anonymity. assets.

It comes as the world’s leading financial regulators, including the Bank of England, worry about the rapid development of crypto assets and the potential consequences for consumer and investor protection, market integrity, money laundering. money and the financing of terrorist groups.

“It could allow or facilitate money laundering, sanction evasion, terrorist financing, so everyone is wary of that as well,” said Charlie Steele, partner at the accounting and consulting firm Forensic Risk Alliance and former head of the US Department of Justice.

“Regulators around the world, almost all of them in fact, approach it from a position of deep skepticism… so it’s a bit outside of this tendency of thinking for a country to welcome them to buy a stock exchange. “.

A month before Valereum announced its offer for the GSX in October, the head of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, Gary Gensler, said that as an asset class, crypto looked “more like the Wild West… plagued by fraud, scams and abuse. in some applications ”, raising further concerns about the possibility of criminal funds infiltrating the traditional financial system.

Lax anti-money laundering (AML) controls have led jurisdictions such as Malta to appear on the gray list of the global money laundering and terrorist financing (FATF) watchdog, for lack of basic financial guarantees. This could seriously harm Malta’s economy and has served as a stark warning to other countries and territories that may be tempted to drop the regulations.

Meanwhile, Singapore has had to do an about-face on its approval for the standalone crypto exchange Bitget. He suspended the exchange earlier this month for promoting a digital currency involved in a high-profile branding dispute, using an unauthorized image of K-pop group BTS to maximize its profits.

“If it starts to look like everyone has been running in Gibraltar to get away from the real regulators, it won’t turn out well for them,” Steele warns.

If anti-money laundering rules or sanctions are broken or circumvented, “there is a lot that they could do, and lead internationally through the FATF, to make it difficult for Gibraltar. You will see that the FATF can impose all kinds of measures, which will force its members to put limits on doing business with this country, ”he adds.

But Gibraltar insists it has welcomed crypto firms with its eyes wide open, having consulted on its regulations for the sector for four years before introducing it in 2018, helping it secure a reputation as “Blockchain Rock”. By filtering and licensing companies, Isola says, they are eliminating bad actors.

“I don’t understand how there can be increased risk in Gibraltar, when today you can go to any other European country and run the exact same business without being supervised, unlicensed and unregulated. So how can we be more exposed by regulating them? It’s the complete opposite, ”says Isola.

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He points out that the country’s regulator has only approved applications for 14 companies over three years, a number he says is a testament to the stringency of the licensing regime. “It’s not really a gold rush,” he says.

“The knee-jerk reaction of any commentator when it comes to blockchain-based innovations – especially when it comes to a small jurisdiction like Gibraltar – is’ Oh my God, the risk, the alarm and everything else, “” says Tom Keatinge, director of the Center for Financial Crime and Security Studies at RUSI. “I think it’s very important to understand the capacity of the court before you get down on your knees, and why I say this is because of all the small jurisdictions on the planet, the one that has invested the most time and effort in understanding the opportunity offered by blockchain is Gibraltar. ”

Gibraltar’s Financial Services Commission declined to comment on the deal with Valereum.


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Christmas Parcel Scam Alert Issued As Fake Texts Received – “We’re Witnessing a Scam” | Personal Finances | Finance https://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/christmas-parcel-scam-alert-issued-as-fake-texts-received-were-witnessing-a-scam-personal-finances-finance/ Thu, 23 Dec 2021 17:22:19 +0000 https://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/christmas-parcel-scam-alert-issued-as-fake-texts-received-were-witnessing-a-scam-personal-finances-finance/ Christmas is only two days away, but despite its proximity, scammers are still looking to take advantage of the British where possible. Proofpoint urged buyers to beware of fake messages as cybercriminals send fraudulent messages regarding package deliveries. “With a swipe of the phone, typing pressure, mouse movements or device angles, users can be recognized […]]]>

Christmas is only two days away, but despite its proximity, scammers are still looking to take advantage of the British where possible. Proofpoint urged buyers to beware of fake messages as cybercriminals send fraudulent messages regarding package deliveries.

“With a swipe of the phone, typing pressure, mouse movements or device angles, users can be recognized personally with 99.999% accuracy. By removing reliance on SMS messages as a means of identifying customers, retailers are removing a significant security vulnerability. in an email format that was never designed for security, and eliminate a risk to their reputation that they cannot control (in the form of fraudulent text messages).

“The public will be able to access services quickly, easily and securely, and will be safe knowing that they will face further checks if something goes wrong. It’s time to stop blaming the customer and start protecting them instead. “

Additional research from Saltus has also shown that those with the most to lose are the most likely to fall victim to scams. According to the results of the Saltus Wealth Index, half of wealthy people (HNWI) admitted to being victims of a financial scam, reaching almost two-thirds of those with assets over £ 2million.

When asked if they had ever been the victim of a financial scam, 49% of all respondents said yes, with wealthier respondents more likely to have said they had been targeted.

Among those with assets between £ 250,000 and half a million, just over a third (36%) said they had been victims of financial crimes, and this figure steadily increased with wealth, up to 41% for those with assets between £ 1million and £ 1million and over half (53%) for those with between £ 1million and £ 2million .

However, the level of reported crime is even higher among those with the largest assets, rising to 66% of those with assets between £ 2-3million, and 65% – for those with £ 3million. pounds or more.

Research also found that women are slightly more likely than men to say they have been the victim of a financial scam. Among the women surveyed, 52 percent said yes compared to 48 percent of the men.

Generations approaching retirement may also be at greater risk. People aged 35-44 were the most likely to report being targeted – 57% said they had, compared with 48% of millennials, 51% of 25-34, 31% of 55-64 and just 18% over 65s.

Mike Stimpson, Partner at Saltus, commented, “We all know that professional advice can help you reach your financial goals, but one of the lesser-known – but hugely important – benefits of having a financial advisor is that it can also help protect you from becoming a victim of financial crimes.

“We can see that people aged 35 to 44 are the most likely to have reported being scammed. While this study focuses on reported crime and therefore we cannot conclude with certainty that this age group is actively targeted by criminals, logic suggests that those who start to think about what they might do when ‘they will be able to access their pension (at age 55) could be more at risk because fraudsters see an opportunity to defraud people from their pension fund. “

He added, “As a general rule, it’s best to ignore – or ideally, report – any unsolicited contact because a true financial advisor wouldn’t cold call about a specific investment opportunity. Any unconventional commission arrangement should also raise a red flag.

“Having a long-term relationship with a financial advisor can give you real peace of mind, not only that they make your money work for you, but also that they support you when it comes to protecting your wealth. .

“Financial advisers know the markets, they know when something is too good to be true and they have your best interests at heart and, at the end of the day, that means they are your best line of defense against financial scams. . “


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