The use of crypto-assets for the purpose of money laundering is a hot topic. Apparently it is on the rise globally and the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) is working with the Reserve Bank to develop a legislative framework to regulate these activities in South Africa.
In terms of how the FIC Act works, banks, financial institutions, estate agents and other accountable institutions have to report any suspicious transactions to the FIC.
The FIC executive manager for monitoring and analysis is Mike Masiapato. He recently stated that once a legislative framework has been worked out it will be obligatory to report suspicious transactions related to crypto-assets.
In addition to this, the Financial Action Task Force (FTAF) whi are the international body that sets standards for measures to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism have urged authorities to develop mechanisms to regulate the use of crypto-assets.
“There is clear evidence internationally that money laundering is moving away from conventional financial systems and regulated currencies into the crypto space,” Masiapato said.
He then added “Currently, in the absence of a clear regulatory framework, we are just working with the service providers of crypto-currencies, such as Luno, so they give us reports of suspicious transactions within their own spaces related to crypto-assets.”
FIC director Xolisile Khanyile spoke about the lack of convictions in the cases that the FIC reported to the various authorities and Masiapato explained that this is due to money laundering being very complicated it has been hard to take action.
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