The Week Of: June 1, 2020

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

Crypto crime surges in first five months of 2020

Cryptocurrency and blockchain intelligence firm CipherTrace says that crypto-related financial crimes rose to nearly $1.4 billion since the start of the year.

Crypto crimes connected to the pandemic were minimal and generally took place by luring victims off legitimate platforms and into chat rooms, according to a report the company published. It also included impersonations of entities such as the Red Cross and the sale of bogus PPE, fake treatments, and testing kits.

CipherTrace also noted some emerging trends, such as a significant reduction in direct criminal funds received from exchanges as crypto AML regulations begin to be implemented. It also found an exponential growth in funds sent to high-risk exchanges from US-based Bitcoin ATMs.

Read more from Reuters. Read the CipherTrace report here.

ACAMS launches new modern slavery and human trafficking certificate

The Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) has teamed up with the Liechtenstein Initiative for Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAST Initiative) to launch the Fighting Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking certificate.

The certificate will be provided free-of-charge to the public as an online training course. The groups say it is the first of its kind and that it “provides an introduction to the steps that financial sector actors should take to meet the growing requirements to identify, report, mitigate and remedy modern slavery and human trafficking risks.”

Modern slavery is a far-reaching problem that has gained more attention in recent years. Best estimates say that, in 2016, 1 in every 185 people—more than 40 million—were victims of modern slavery, the proceeds of which generated over $150 billion.

Read the press release here.

Reuters: Scammers in Russia exploit pandemic to launder money using medical goods purchases

Russia’s central bank said that people are using medical goods purchases as a front for money laundering scams, according to Reuters.

Fraudulent practices have risen since the onset of the pandemic; suspicious money transfers out of the country from domestic banks reached a record low last year.

Dmitry Skobelkin, deputy governor of the Bank of Russia, said there was a small number of suspicious foreign purchases of protective gear. Skobelkin said that in one case, the Bank froze 91 million roubles from an account that was allegedly being used to buy masks at the beginning of the pandemic but were never supplied.

Read more from Reuters.