Investors are advised by the Spanish regulator CNMV to avoid falling for the EuroFX (www.eurofx.trade) scam, which is run in the Commonwealth of Dominica by Donnybrook Consulting Ltd. Additionally, this offshore company runs the Energy Markets fraud. We have found that the licensed e-money provider Epayblock acts as a facilitator for the unlawful operations of the Lithuanian payment processor Merelita UAB and the Russian Piastrix. In addition, we have found a Bitcoin address that has approximately BTC490, or almost $23.2 million. It seems that the con artists are successful in tricking investors.
The scam operating entity
The Energy Markets scam (www.energy-markets.io), about which the Spanish CNMV issued a warning back in November 2020, is also connected to Donnybrook Consulting Ltd. The Energy Markets fraud websites were ordered to be blacked up by the Italian Consob in January 2021.
The same payment processors were utilised in the scams involving Energy Markets and EuroFX. Moreover, Merelita and Epayblock are included. And the Perfect Money and AdvCash-powered Russian Piastrix
Illegal payment processors and money laundering
With the authorization code LB001911, the Bank of Lithuania regulates the e-money institution Epayblock (www.epayblock.com). Skylas UAB, which also serves as an illicit payment processor for numerous scams, is a banking partner of Epayblock. For the customer victims, Merelita and Skylas both provide online phoney invoices that are created on the payment pages of the schemes. The deposits made to the con artists are misrepresented as service fees. This is how money laundering is often done. Everything about the Merelita and Skylas bills is the same, even the language. a well-organised money laundering network.
The discovered crypto-millions
Cryptocurrency deposits to these two sams are made directly through the respective websites www.eurofx-wallet.cc and www.energy-markets-wallet.cc. We have located almost $22 million worth of BTC490 on two addresses, totaling more than $22 million at the current price as of March 5, 2021. It appears that Donnybrook Consulting’s illicit business is flourishing.
Transaction Laundering: What Is It?
With the growth of e-commerce, thieves now have more ways to launder money using a technique called transaction laundering. It is a type of electronic money laundering that enables unlicensed retailers to mask their operations by using the payment credentials of an authorised vendor to conduct sales.
Essentially washing the filthy money, this procedure involves an approved vendor processing payments for an unnamed store that sells unidentified goods and services. If Merchant Service Providers (MSPs) that assist in this procedure don’t follow their Anti-Money Laundering (AML) obligations, they risk serious penalties and harm to their reputation.
Transaction laundering has significantly increased as a result of the rapid expansion of e-commerce and mobile payments; estimates place the annual cost of the issue at over $300 billion in the US alone. Governments all throughout the world are now very concerned about this, which has led to new legislation and more regulation aimed at minimising electronic money laundering.
By passing off illicit transactions as those of reputable e-commerce companies, transaction laundering takes advantage of the credibility of payment networks. It serves as a payment processor for websites that offer illicit goods, including drugs. As e-commerce continues to expand, it is critical that governments and companies recognize and address the problem of transaction laundering.
The Role of AML Requirements for Payment Processors
The payment processing sector is renowned for its quick thinking. Though it all began with optimistic technology developments and changing customer demands, the contemporary financial industry has forced us to adopt quicker, safer, and more practical payment methods.
But reliable transactions and providing the greatest client experience aren’t the only difficulties that modern firms must overcome. Payment processors are required to adhere to different Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations. This implies that individuals need to be fully aware of the steps they need to take to shield themselves from being used as a pawn in financial crimes such as money laundering.
A Payment Processor: What Is It?
An organisation or service that manages the electronic transmission of payments during a financial transaction between a buyer and a seller is known as a payment processor. One well-known example of a payment processor is PayPal.
It makes it possible for other companies to take electronic checks, credit cards, and recurring payments without opening a separate merchant account. Between the financial institutions and the retailers who use them, a payment processor manages payment data. Another name for a third-party payment processor that oversees transactions between buyers and sellers is a gateway.
By taking care of technological difficulties, security precautions, and financial transactions, third-party payment processors streamline the payment process. They serve as a go-between for businesses and clients to facilitate smooth financial transfers.
Wind-Up-How Banks should Keep an Eye on Possible Risks of Money Laundering in Payment Processors
- Make a thorough investigation: Banks should perform due diligence before cooperating with a payment processor to make sure the processor complies with applicable laws and regulations and has strong anti-money laundering (AML) measures in place.
- Keep an eye on transactions: Banks should keep an eye out for any suspicious activity, such as big or odd transactions, that payment processors process, and they should report any such conduct to the relevant authorities.
- Build a relationship with the payment processor: In order to gain a better understanding of the processor’s operations and any dangers related to money laundering, banks should create a relationship with the payment processor.
- Employ reputable third-party service providers: To assist them in keeping an eye out for potential money laundering in payment processors, banks may turn to reputable third-party service providers. These suppliers are capable of providing a wide range of services, including AML training, customer due diligence, and transaction monitoring.
- Keep up with industry best practices: Banks should make sure they are in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations regarding payment processors and money laundering.