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EU’s financial crime watchdog sniffs around banks’ use of RegTech

EU’s banking regulatory body reports on RegTech pros and cons, ex-president Trump’s organisation indicted on financial crime charges, Ghana back in business as international watchdog takes it off money laundering watchlist.

Napier AI
July 2, 2021

European Banking Authority plans conference to advise on RegTech usage

The EU’s financial crime watchdog, the European Banking Authority (EBA), released a report on Tuesday which analysed the status of RegTech usage amongst the financial institutions of the union’s member states. The report aimed to assess the strengths, weaknesses, and potential future challenges of RegTech’s uptake throughout the region.

RegTech, or regulatory technology, refers to the management of client monitoring, reporting and compliance in the financial sector. It is constituted of a community of companies which emphasise use of technology and automation to ease the workload of anti-money laundering practitioners. The trend towards digitizing finance has seen increased use of its services throughout Europe.

The report noted that its use “speeds up routine tasks and reduces human error.” It noted, however, that different financial regulatory practices in EU states could prove to be an impediment to the widespread roll out of RegTech in the region. "There is a need to have an efficient knowledge exchange and to continue to improve the knowledge and skills of regulators and supervisors on RegTech," the EBA added.

The European regulator announced that a public webinar will be held during the fourth financial quarter to discuss the report’s findings on RegTech.

Read more on this story on Reuters.

Long history of charges against Trump catches up with his organisation

Although not himself named in the indictment, the mercurial property mogul, reality TV star, and ex-president’s long-time confidant and CFO of the Trump Organisation, lawyer Allen Weisselberg, is, along with the organisation itself and the affiliated Trump Payroll Corporation.

Centred around an alleged tax scheme, the charges cited that the defendants “during the period from on or about March 31, 2005, to on or about June 30, 2021 … engaged in a scheme constituting a systematic ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud more than one person and to obtain property from more than one person by false and fraudulent pretences, representations and promises, and so obtained property with a value in excess of one thousand dollars from one or more such person.”  The Inland Revenue Service, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, and the New York City Department of Finance are listed as complainants in the matter.

Although Mr Trump was not charged directly, it is the first time the Trump Organisation has been indicted with him at the helm. While the reality TV star was never fired for his performance in the role of US president, his reign was peppered with accusations of money laundering, bribery, and corruption.

Mr Weisselberg was scheduled to appear in a Manhattan, New York, court on Thursday afternoon.

Read more on this story in the Daily Maverick.

Ghana’s anti-money laundering regime restores investor confidence

The West African State’s Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, expressed relief at last week’s decision by the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF)- affiliated International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG) to remove Ghana from their ‘grey list’. He explained that being on the list meant that the country had been assessed to have deficiencies in its anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML-CFT) protocols, but a timeline-based set of strategic goals would be closely monitored and re-assessed after an agreed period. Mr Ofori-Atta added that Ghana had met these goals and expressed confidence that trust in the improved AML-CFT environment would boost foreign investor confidence.

The addition to the ‘grey list’ was prompted by a 2016 evaluation of Ghana’s financial crime risk by the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in West Africa (GIABA). Reaction to GIABA’s report to the ICRG saw the EU add the West African state to their list of countries deemed high investment risks due to failing AML/CFT regimes in 2018.

The 31 million strong West African country’s response was a two-year action plan running from 2019 to 2021- governed by an inter-ministerial committee- to iron out AML/CFT deficiencies. The success of the interventions was endorsed when the FATF and ICRG unanimously voted for Ghana’s removal from the prohibitive ‘grey list’.

Mr Ofori-Atta also thanked the country’s Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), for leading the successful battle against financial crime, and restoring foreign investor confidence in the country.

Read more on this story in the Ghana Business News.

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