Latest Payments News: UK Labour Party To Ramp Up Financial Crime Prevention, and more

Kat Pilkington

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May 27, 2024

Catch up on six of the stories our payments compliance analysts have covered lately, and stay up-to-date on the latest news.

UK Labour Party To Ramp Up Financial Crime Prevention

The UK Labour Party is set to introduce policies aimed at combating financial crime and corruption in the UK if it wins the general election due to take place in July this year.

Plans being pushed by David Lammy, the shadow foreign secretary, include punitive measures against white-collar enablers of kleptocracy and substantial rewards of up to £250,000 for whistleblowers exposing sanctions violations.

Key components of the plan include hosting a UK summit to address financial crime on a global scale, establishing an international anti-corruption court and enhancing transparency around UK trusts and property ownership.

The initiative also seeks to strengthen the UK's sanctions regime to target money laundering facilitators.

Labour has criticised the current Conservative government, accusing it of allowing London to become a hub for kleptocracy. Lammy, meanwhile, has emphasised the need for a "fresh approach based on action and enforcement".

Central Banks Of China, Thailand Sign MoU To Promote Local Currency Use

The Bank of Thailand (BOT) and the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) have signed a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote the use of the Thai baht and Chinese yuan in bilateral transactions.

Under the framework for cooperation, the MoU is aimed at enhancing accessibility and efficiency in local currency usage to promote its broader adoption for cross-border payments.

The BOT also noted that the agreement aligns with its ongoing efforts to create ecosystems that facilitate trade and investment within the region.

The MoU was signed by the two central bank governors following a meeting at the PBOC in Beijing on Tuesday (May 21).

Turkey To Escape FATF Greylist By End Of June, Says VP

Cevdet Yilmaz, Turkey’s vice president, has said he expects the country to be removed from the greylist of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) by the end of next month.

"I think we will be taken off the FATF grey list in June,” Yilmaz told Reuters in an interview last week. “If we are not, I believe this will be due to political reasons, not technical reasons.

"From a technical aspect, I believe there are no obstacles left. I think Turkey fully meets the technical criteria.”

Yilmaz also confirmed that a FATF team held an "on-site" visit with Turkish authorities this month ahead of a June 28 decision whether to upgrade the country.

Turkey was placed on the greylist in October 2021 due to supervision lapses in high-risk sectors such as banks, gold and precious stones.

Lithuania Prepares Market For MiCA Regulation With Simulation Training

The Bank of Lithuania is set to offer simulation training to help financial market participants prepare for the upcoming Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation.

These sessions will incorporate innovation lab principles and expand the use of the country's regulatory sandbox.

The training focuses on creating white papers for the crypto-asset regulation. Interested participants are invited to notify the Bank of Lithuania via email by May 29, 2024.

The programme includes joint development of pilot white papers with technology providers, allowing participants to familiarise themselves with the process before MiCA's implementation.

The training schedule begins with a simulation of e-money and asset-linked token pilot white papers from June 10-14, 2024, followed by a discussion of the developed pilot white papers from June 17-21, 2024.

From August 26 to September 26, 2024, there will be a simulation of white papers for other crypto-assets, concluding with a discussion of these trial white papers on September 17, 2024.

EU Council Approves Landmark AI Regulation

The Council of the European Union has provided the final approval to the world's first comprehensive AI regulation, known as the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act.

The legislation adopts a “risk-based” approach, imposing stricter rules on AI systems that pose higher risks to society.

The AI Act aims to harmonise AI rules across the EU's single market, promoting the development and adoption of safe and trustworthy AI by both private and public sectors.

It also seeks to protect fundamental rights of EU citizens while encouraging investment and innovation in AI technologies.

To ensure proper enforcement, several governing bodies are established under the AI Act. An AI Office within the European Commission will enforce common rules across the EU, supported by a scientific panel of independent experts.

Additionally, an AI Board, comprising representatives from member states, will advise and assist the commission and member states on the consistent and effective application of the AI Act. Meanwhile, an advisory forum will be created to allow stakeholders to provide technical expertise to the AI Board and the commission.

Iberpay, Banco Santander Begin Processing Instant International Transfers

Two Spanish firms, Iberpay and Banco Santander, have announced that they have processed the first instant international transfers based on the European Payments Council’s One-Leg-Out (OCT Inst) scheme.

Santander is the first European bank to join OCT Inst and to offer the service to its customers through Iberpay.

OCT Inst allows payment service providers (PSPs) in the SEPA area to process instant international transfers to and from countries outside the euro area. Transactions are typically executed in seconds and are available 24/7/365.

Going forward, the Spanish banking community has agreed to the full adoption of OCT Inst starting in October this year.

Consequently, other Spanish banks are preparing to connect to Iberpay's service over the coming months.

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