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Wednesday, 09 October 2019

Cryptocurrency companies in the UK FCA's crosshairs

The number of UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) investigations into cryptocurrency platforms has risen by 74% in the last year, according to the Financial Times.

The data obtained by Pinsent Masons from a Freedom of Information request shows the FCA’s willingness to crack down on the sector, according to partner David Heffron in London.

He told the FT that the numbers “reflect the FCA’s increasingly hands-on and no-nonsense approach to enforcing the law in the cryptocurrency market”.

He added: “For cryptocurrency businesses acting lawfully these statistics will be encouraging – they want bad actors pushed out.”

Switzerland’s Federal Tax Administration share bank data with Indian authorities

The Swiss Federal Tax Administration has reportedly shared with Indian authorities the first data on residents’ accounts in Swiss banks under the new automatic exchange of information (AEOI) framework.

The data contained in the exchange includes certain account information as well as personal details, such as name, residence and tax identification number.

Although governed by strict confidentiality clauses the exchange marks a significant development in India’s ability to trace illicit finances cached abroad, according to Business Today.

Since the AEOI came into effect in September 2018 the FTA has shared information on 3.1 million accounts with partner states, receiving information on 2.4 million in return.

MPF challenge decision to allow Temer to visit UK

Brazil’s Federal Prosecution Service (MPF) has asked the Federal Regional Court to reverse a decision that allows former president Michel Temer to travel to the UK while he faces trial on corruption charges, according to an 8 October statement.

Temer is due to deliver a talk at student debate society Oxford Union on 15 October. His lawyers have successfully applied for a temporary stay to the automatic ban on leaving the country, the MPF have said. However, the MPF said that it does not believe an invitation to the event constitutes sufficient grounds for allowing him to leave the country.

Temer has been charged with several corruption offences that occured while he was in office. He has denied wrongdoing. 

Milan prosecutors propose charges against BT in Italy

Prosecutors in Milan have formally requested that the Italian unit of British Telecom and 23 individuals, including three former executives, stand trial over allegations of fraud, Reuters reports.

Prosecutors recently submitted documents to a judge outlining how the branch allegedly disguised the company’s true financial performance through faked contract renewals and invoices, fabricated transactions and exaggerated revenue.

Sources who spoke to Reuters said that a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for mid-December, at which the court would decide on whether to dismiss the case or bring charges for false accounting, fraud in public procurement and issuing invoices for fictitious operations.

A spokesperson for BT allegedly declined to comment.

Cayman Islands to create a beneficial ownership register

The Cayman Islands announced on 9 October that it plans to introduce a law that forces companies incorporated in the British overseas territory to disclose their true owner on a public register.  

“Financial secrecy is not tolerated in our jurisdiction. While undue focus is often placed on our jurisdiction, we fully appreciate the need to ensure coherent and efficient registration and exchange of beneficial ownership information to facilitate the transparent flow of legitimate capital,” the statement reads.

The government said the beneficial ownership register will be created by 2023. 

Cayman Finance, the association that represents the islands’ financial services industry, expressed its support for the government’s plans in a statement.

Montenegro State Prosecutor to remain in office during corruption investigation

Montenegro’s Supreme State Prosecutor Ivica Stankovic will retain his post despite a corruption inquiry because there is nobody to replace him, according to Balkan Insight.

Velimir Rakocevic, a member of the country’s prosecutorial council, reportedly said on 8 October that the investigation into Stankovic will be completed within three months. Stankovic has denied wrongdoing.

The allegations of bribery emerged after the owner of local bank Atlas Banka reportedly posted taped conversations on social media revealing that Nenad Vujosevic, secretary at the prosecutor’s office, passed €800,000 to Stankovic in exchange for dropping an investigation into the bank’s foreign clients.

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