Latest Payments News: US Treasury Publishes 2024 National Illicit Finance Strategy, and more

Kat Pilkington

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May 20, 2024

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

US Treasury Publishes 2024 National Illicit Finance Strategy

The US Treasury has published its 2024 National Strategy for Combating Terrorist and Other Illicit Financing, which provides a blueprint of the US government’s goals and priorities to disrupt and prevent illicit finance.

The 2024 strategy addresses key illicit finance threats related to large-scale fraud schemes, ransomware attacks, drug trafficking, foreign and domestic terrorist attacks, and exploitation of technological advances in payments and financial services.

“Hamas’ financing of its brutal terrorist attack on Israel and Russia’s financing of its continued full-scale invasion of Ukraine demonstrate how key threats to national security can exploit vulnerabilities in the US and global financial system,” the agency said.

“The 2024 Strategy reflects the commitment of the Biden administration to protect the U.S. financial system from these threats by closing illicit finance pathways and strengthening supervision and enforcement mechanisms.”

New Zealand Parliament Introduces Consumer Data Bill

The New Zealand parliament unveiled the Consumer and Product Data Bill on May 15.

The legislation serves as an economy-wide framework aimed at facilitating enhanced access to, and exchange of, customer and product data among businesses operating in New Zealand.

Key provisions of the bill include requirements for businesses designated as data holders to provide designated customer data to the respective customers upon request, while also accrediting third parties for data access.

Additionally, stringent standards are outlined for data holders concerning electronic requests for various customer actions such as account openings, payments processing and alterations to customer plans.

The bill also establishes criteria and procedures for the accreditation of third parties, ensuring the reliability and trustworthiness of entities accessing sensitive customer information.

Oklahoma Governor Gives Green Light To Crypto Legislation

Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt has approved legislation with key provisions on crypto-assets, which is effective from November 1, 2024.

The act prohibits the government of Oklahoma from restricting or impairing the ability of an individual to use digital assets to purchase legal goods or services, and self-custody digital assets using a self-hosted wallet or a hardware wallet.

The law also stipulates, among other things, that engaging in home digital asset mining, digital asset mining business, staking, or staking as a service, and operating a node or a series of nodes on a blockchain protocol does not require a money transmitter licence under Section 1513, Title 6 of the Oklahoma Statutes.

FINTRAC Warns Of Risks Linked To Crypto ATMs For Financial Crime

Canada's anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing agency, FINTRAC, has issued a new report uncovering the risks associated with cryptocurrency ATMs for illicit financial activities.

FINTRAC's analysis demonstrates that crypto ATMs have emerged as pivotal tools in the money laundering cycle, particularly in cities such as Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, as well as in other urban areas like Edmonton, Calgary and Ottawa.

The report underscores the imperative for businesses and crypto ATM operators to enforce stringent compliance measures, including robust client identification protocols and ongoing monitoring of high-risk transactions.

FINTRAC has also warned the public to maintain vigilance against crypto-related fraud and promptly report any suspicious activities to the relevant authorities.

Philippines To Launch Stablecoin Pilot Backed By Central Bank

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has granted approval to Coins.ph, a local crypto exchange, to pilot a Philippine peso-backed stablecoin known as PHPC.

The pilot will take place under the BSP's Regulatory Sandbox Framework, which is designed to enable the development and testing of emerging financial technologies.

During the pilot, the PHPC deployed will be backed by cash and cash equivalents held by Coins.ph in Philippine bank accounts.

The project will assess the functionality and potential benefits of PHPC in real-world applications while monitoring its impact on the existing financial ecosystem.

PHPC’s potential uses include domestic and cross-border payments, trading with other virtual assets, hedging against market volatility, and providing collateral and liquidity in DeFi applications.

UAE, Indonesia Sign MoU To Promote Use Of Local Currencies

The central banks of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Indonesia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote the use of local currencies in bilateral transactions.

Under the agreement, the two countries will work with importers and exporters to build a joint framework for settlement of cross-border trade transactions in UAE dirham and Indonesian rupiah.

The framework will identify eligible transactions and will allow for developing the conditions to support hedging and liquidity management activities in AED-IDR.

Between 2017 and 2023, the value of trade in non-oil products between the UAE and Indonesia grew by 100 percent, reaching AED16bn ($4.3bn).

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