This week, the UK Treasury Committee’s new inquiry into crypto assets invited the public to weigh in; US authorities charged two financial asset managers in a billion-dollar Venezuelan money laundering operation; and Ukrainian prosecutors seized cash and assets from cryptocurrency brokers who traded with Russians.
Find out more on these stories below.
UK Treasury Committee invites public to submit evidence as part of new crypto asset inquiry
The UK’s Parliamentary Treasury Committee invited response from the British public when it announced a new inquiry into crypto assets on Wednesday 13 July 2022. The request aims to establish the current and future role of crypto assets in the UK economy, and to assess the potential pitfalls and opportunities which they present for the government, businesses, and consumers.
The committee’s call for evidence requested written submissions by members of the public, experts, and stakeholders on 13 different issues, including:
- The degree to which digital currencies are likely to take over from traditional currencies
- The risks and opportunities crypto assets bring for both the individual and the economy
- How crypto asset usage will affect social inclusion across UK society
The inquiry also seeks to learn how best to balance innovation and protecting the public through the regulation of crypto assets.
The Committee’s Chair, Rt. Hon. Mel Stride MP, said “Crypto assets have the potential to bring new and innovative changes to the UK financial system, the economy and broader society. However, there are also significant concerns around their use to launder funds, purchase illegal products, and evade international sanctions.”
Read more on this story at Finextra.
The U.S. charges two asset managers in $1.2bn money laundering scheme
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the charges against two financial asset managers - one Swiss and one Argentinian - on Tuesday 12 July 2022. The charges allege that the pair took part in an international scheme to launder $1.2billion which had been corruptly acquired from Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), a Venezuelan state-owned and run energy supply company.
It was alleged that from approximately December 2014 to at least August 2018, Mr Ralph Steinmann and Mr Luis Fernando Vuteff conspired to exploit the U.S. financial system to launder over US$200million related to the scheme involving Venezuelan officials connected to PDVSA, and established an intricate financial framework including creating bank accounts to serve two involved Venezuelan officials.
Vuteff was arrested in his native Switzerland and awaits extradition to the U.S., while Steinmann remains at large. If convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering, the pair each face up to 20 years in prison.
Read more on this story at Mondovisione.
Ukrainian Prosecutors seize funds and assets from crypto brokers who colluded with Russians
The Prosecution General Office of Ukraine announced on Tuesday 12 July 2022 that it had seized funds, bullion, and property from over-the-counter (OTC) currency brokers who enabled Russians to purchase crypto assets.
The seized funds and assets, worth around US$3.39m in total, were handed over to Ukraine’s Asset Recovery and Management Agency (ARMA), the government entity responsible for “finding, tracing, and management of assets derived from corruption and other crimes.”
Although the prosecutors’ office did not specify whether the trades were made before or after Russia’s 24 February 2022 invasion, it claimed all the seizures were of proceeds from illegal crypto asset trades.
Among the seizures were:
- €850k, $470k, and ₴460k (Ukrainian hryvnia), collectively worth approximately US$1.67m
- 830 kilograms (1,830lb) of silver
- Six parcels of land
- Three apartments
Prosecutors also said that local law enforcement officials are investigating tax evasion, money laundering, and fraud charges against as-of-yet unnamed suspects.
Read more on this story at UK Yahoo Finance.
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