9.06.2020. EU blacklist of jurisdiction for money-laundering

The EU considers the 12 new countries to be a financial risk because of anti-money laundering and terrorism financing shortfalls in their regulatory systems.
The extended list is based on new methodology drawing on data from the EU and the Financial Action Task Force.
The new countries, which were added to the bloc’s notorious blacklist in in May 2020, include the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Panama, Africa countries – Botswana, Ghana, Mauritius and Zimbabwe, Asia countries – Cambodia, Mongolia and Myanmar.
The extension of the EU regulatory blacklist comes as the European Commission is working to establish its own, centralised, anti-money laundering taskforce.

29.05.2020. Falcon Private Bank AG, a Swiss bank finishs banking activities

Falcon Private Bank AG, in advanced negotiations for transfer of client relationships to other Swiss Private Bank and to exit private banking activities in 2021.
The bank gained global notoriety in 2015 after it was reported that investigators found nearly $700 million had been transferred from an account at the bank’s Singapore outpost to accounts in Malaysia linked to then Prime Minister Najib Razak that now is on trial for corruption in Malaysia.
The Switzerland’s independent financial-markets regulator FINMA found that Falcon had violated money-laundering regulations by failing to carry out adequate background checks into transactions and business relationships associated with state fund 1MDB which were booked in Switzerland, Singapore and Hong Kong in 2016.
This Swiss private bank specializing in wealth management and related financial services, headquartered in Zurich with offices in Dubai, London and Luxembourg.
The bank was founded 1965 as Ueberseebank and was then renamed to AIG Private Bank in 1998. Following a change of ownership, the name Falcon Private Bank was launched in 2009.
Falcon Private Bank is owned by the Abu Dhabi State Fund.

28.05.2020. 17 EU countries fail to implement 5AMLD

The European Commission (EC) has now launched enforcement action against more than half of the EU’s Member States for failing to fully transpose the EU 5 Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD) into their national law by the 10 January 2020 deadline.
Alongside the UK, eight Member States – Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg and Poland – received letters in April 2020 of formal notice warning them that they have only partially transposed 5AMLD.
8 have already received such letters because they have not implemented any 5AMLD measures at all; they are Cyprus, Hungary, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
The EC’s announcement does not specify which parts of 5AMLD have not been transposed by each country, although it is known that setting up fully public registers of trusts and other entities is causing significant difficulties for some members.
Any state that fails to provide a satisfactory response to the EC’s latest letters within four months may be put into the next stage of the enforcement process, under which the EC sends out ‘reasoned opinions’.
The EC has also sent letters of formal notice to Luxembourg and Portugal asking them to correctly transpose the interest limitation rule of the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive, because both allow entities that are not financial undertakings to make unlimited deductibility of interest from their corporate income tax bills.
It has also instructed Cyprus to fully apply EU rules on the publication of financial statements, management reports and audit reports by limited liability companies under the Accounting Directive and Company Law Directive .
Estonia has been informed that it has incorrectly implemented the EU 4 Anti-Money Laundering Directive (4AMLD). The EC says Estonia notified a complete transposition of 4AMLD on 14 January 2019, but has not correctly transposed its measures regarding the treatment of politically exposed persons, beneficial owners, the performance of risk assessments and risk management systems, and information access rights of national financial intelligence units.

29.04.2020. Gibraltar plans to tighten regulation of cryptocurrencies

Gibraltar was a pioneer in adopting and regulating blockchain technology.
In 2018 the Gibraltar Stock Exchange became the first stock exchange in the world to own a regulated blockchain exchange when it was granted a full licence from the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission.
Now Gibraltar is planning to introduce new regulations to further safeguard the digital coin sector and curb market manipulation.
The new guidelines are specifically designed to eliminate the possibility of market manipulation, which is many in the industry say is still being carried out by cryptocurrency firms and blockchain companies.
Gibraltar is also working to develop a platform to address some of the issues raised by the Financial Action Task Force in a recent review of Gibraltar’s financial sector regulations.

29.04.2020. UK to implement EU double tax dispute resolution system

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have published a policy paper to provide a more efficient framework for the resolution of double taxation disputes arising between the UK and other member states post-Brexit.
HMRC in a policy paper outlined its plan to implement the Union Arbitration Convention through regulations, which will provide a mechanism for EU member countries to resolve tax disputes with the UK nation.
The regulations will apply to questions in dispute relating to income or capital earned in a tax year beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2018.
The new regulations do not replace the existing bilateral tax treaties or the Union Arbitration Convention, but are another option for businesses and individuals to consider.
The measure is triggered at the behest of an individual, not HMRC.
Unlike existing bilateral tax treaties, the new measures include a provision for mandatory and binding arbitration.