The Week Of: November 18, 2019

This week’s news and stories of interest to the AML community. If you prefer a news roundup sent to you, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

FinCEN to crypto exchanges: “You will comply” with AML laws

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network director Kenneth Blanco emphatically stated recently that the U.S. government will “strictly enforce” the so-called travel rule requiring exchanges to identify the senders and beneficiaries of transfers more than $3,000 in cryptocurrency.

“You will comply,” Blanco said at a conference hosted by blockchain analysis company Chainalysis, according to Reuters. “I don’t know what the shock is. This is nothing new.”

The IRS also said it was focusing on potential tax issues involving Bitcoin ATMs, says Bloomberg Law. The machines, which have spread rapidly throughout the world but especially in the U.S., allow users to exchange cash for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Although there have not been any public cases involving the ATMs and illicit activity as of yet, IRS Criminal Investigation Chief John Fort acknowledged working with law enforcement to police potential crimes.

Report: Asia Tops Child Labor and Human Trafficking Activity

A new report says that Asia has the highest percentage of child labor and trafficked humans in global supply chains.

Ending child labour, forced labour and human trafficking in global supply chains was published by the International Labour Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, International Organization for Migration and United Nations Children’s Fund. It estimated a total of 152 million children in child labor and 25 million children and adults in forced labor. Twenty-six percent of child labor occurs in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, according to the report, while 12 percent is found in Central and Southern Asia. Another nine percent is spread across Northern Africa and Western Asia.

The report identified the risk factors associated with these human rights abuses in global supply chains and structured its findings around five key areas: addressing these abuses through a whole-of-supply-chain approach; public measures to protect workers and mitigate vulnerabilities; public governance measures to regulate business conduct; responsible business conduct for labor and human rights; and advancing collaboration and inclusive business approaches.

Read the report at the OECD’s website.

Mule Deviations

International criminal organizations are targeting bank customers in New Zealand to launder illicit proceeds, sometimes without the targets even realizing it.

According to that country’s Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC), “money mules” from all walks of life are being used to transfer the dirty money through the banking system, making it difficult for police to track.

Younger people are more likely to be targeted via employment scams where they are “hired” to work from home as account managers and told they are transacting payments on behalf of their new employer. Seniors may fall prey to investment or romance scams.

However, not every money mule is innocent as some are willing participants in the scam and enjoy the profits from it.

The New Zealand Herald has more.