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Europe unites on centralized databases in war against financial crime
Napier
May 14, 2021

EU regulators will use a central database to crack down on money laundering and financing of terrorism, EU member states launch Malta’s proposed shared database of financial crime-linked ships, and cash to be banned in Sydney's casinos.

Find out more on these stories below.

EU regulators will use a database to crack down on money laundering and financing of terrorism

The European Banking Authority (EBA), the agency tasked with standardising and regulating the rules governing banks throughout the European Union (EU), is setting up the centralised database to “name and shame” banks with poor anti-money laundering measures.

The database will compile and store information on financial institutions which do not have strong enough anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) systems in place.

The EBA launched the public consultation phase of setting up the database earlier this month. The stakeholder engagement has several objectives, one of which is to establish in which form the database will be made available to officials and the public.

Additionally, it seeks to determine how best to understand AML/CFT deficiencies. This will help regulators to develop the most effective systems for on-site inspections and off-site monitoring across the borders of all EU countries.

Read more on this story at the Irish Independent.

EU member states set to share a database of ships believed to be involved in criminal activity

The shared database, originally proposed by Malta’s Sanctions Monitoring Board Chairman, Mr Neville Aquilina, will make it easier for participant countries to combat criminal activity at sea.

All IMO member states will have access to the database, which will allow them to check if any ships applying for a flag are suspected of criminal involvement, subject to international sanctions or have unknown ultimate beneficial ownership.

Mr Aquilina explained that maritime crime is “difficult to combat effectively due to gaps and weaknesses in existing international rules and national legislation. The problem is particularly serious on the high seas due to the inadequate enforcement jurisdiction by certain flag states.”  

Find out more on Malta’s database and the EUs new approach at Times of Malta

Sydney’s casinos ban cash after money laundering inquiry into Crown

The only two casinos in the New South Wales capital, The Star and the unopened Crown Sydney, agreed on Thursday to ban the use of cash in their gaming operations. The odd move is intended to flush out money laundering. It comes in response to an inquiry’s findings in February against Crown Resorts casino group, which saw CEO Ken Barton and several company directors resign.

The Inquiry found that Crown Resorts, which is majority-owned by billionaire James Packer, unfit to hold a gaming license in New South Wales, leaving the company unable to operate its recently completed A$2.2bn (£1.2bn) Sydney casino.

The unusual hand of banning cash has been played to help Crown acquire a gaming license in the state. The Independent Gaming and Liquor Authority (ILGA) did not specify a timeline for phasing out the use of cash in Crown’s casinos, adding that The Star was also making a gradual transition to cashless gaming.

For several years, Crown has faced allegations of illicit dealings and money-laundering at its casinos, both within Australia and abroad, which saw 16 employees jailed in China in 2017.  Additionally, the Bangaroo Residential Tower block on Sydney Harbour, which opened in December, was prevented from operating a casino. ILGA added, however, that Crown was making “significant progress” towards being eligible to hold a casino license.

Read more on this story at BBC.

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