News In Brief: April 19-April 22, 2022

April 20, 2022
FinCEN issues advice for U.S. banks to help identify kleptocracy and foreign public corruption.

US: FinCEN Lists Kleptocracy Red Flags

The US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has released an advisory on kleptocracy and foreign public corruption, urging financial institutions to focus their efforts on detecting the proceeds of foreign public corruption.

The advisory has been issued as part of a wider US effort that made the fight against corruption a core national security interest.

FinCEN warns that corrupt public officials, like other criminal actors, launder the proceeds of their corruption through a variety of means, including funnelling money through shell companies or by purchasing various high-end assets, such as real estate, yachts, private jets and high value art.

The advisory provides typologies and potential red flags for identifying kleptocracy and other forms of foreign public corruption, such as bribery, embezzlement, extortion and the misappropriation of public assets.

“Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine is a yet another example of how a kleptocracy like Russia — a country whose government has been characterised for years by corruption, money laundering, malign influence, sanctions evasions and armed interventions abroad — harms not only its own citizens, but those living beyond its borders,” said FinCEN acting director Himamauli Das.

“Financial institutions play a crucial role in identifying corrupt activity and associated money laundering on the part of foreign public officials and should remain vigilant and promptly report suspicious financial activity,” he added.

India: New Deadline For Laggards To Implement UPI Global Set At Q3 2022, Says NCPI

India’s national payments operator has put slow-walking financial service firms on notice for the launch of UPI Global, the international arm of the Universal Payments Interface (UPI).

Following the introduction of international merchants payments acceptance in September 2020, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) set a deadline to implement the feature at the issuer and UPI app level by December 31, 2021.

However, in a statement released this week, the NCPI said that “many” members, payment service providers (PSPs), and Third Party Application Providers (TPAPs) have breached the mandated timeline.

The NCPI has therefore said that all market players must implement these changes by September 30 this year, and failure to do so will result in “appropriate penal actions”.

It also reminded participants that, once enabled for one country by the issuer bank, PSP and TPAP, there should be no need for additional certification from participants for additional countries.

Even if the quick response (QR) standards differ in one country, using a QR translation table from the NPCI, every incremental QR can be read by the UPI app without needing to change the app or certification.

The NCPI also said that incremental work for additional countries shall be done only by the NCPI, such as certifying and connecting to the country’s or partner’s infrastructure, and rules and regulation compliance, including the settlement guarantee mechanism.

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