We can’t hear it anymore. Lawyers and financial service providers who facilitate cybercrime, scams, online fraudsters, and their respective schemes but do not want to take responsibility for that. Yes, they admit, they provided their services to the scams in their capacity as legal advisers or payment processors. But no, they say, we have no responsibility for the victims and the damage caused by these scams and schemes. And no, they say, we haven’t filed any Suspicious Activity Report even though several financial regulators already issued public warnings against these clients. They just facilitated their illicit business and earned their fees.
Cybercrime is an evolving form of transnational crime. The complex nature of the crime as one that takes place in the border-less realm of cyberspace is compounded by the increasing involvement of organized crime groups. Perpetrators of cybercrime and their victims can be located in different regions, and its effects can ripple through societies around the world, highlighting the need to mount an urgent, dynamic and international response.United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime on Cybercrime
What does it matter that a legal opinion from an attorney has given the scams access to the financial system in the first place? What does it matter that payment processors turn a blind eye to the scams and that they are the ones who make it possible for the scams to harm the victims in the second place? What about their responsibility as gatekeepers of the judicial and financial system?
You can argue morally as you like, but legally the situation is perfectly clear. The Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) and Countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) stipulate that lawyers and payment processors (and others) must carry out the appropriate KYC/AML/CFT checks. And yes, they have to file Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) in case they stumble upon possible scams. Lawyers and financial institutions are gatekeepers and play a crucial role in detecting and preventing money-laundering and cybercrime.
The basic intent behind the FATF Recommendations as it relates to legal professionals is consistent with their role as guardians of justice and the rule of law, and professionals subject to ethical obligations, namely to avoid knowingly assisting criminals or facilitating criminal activity.Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommandations
AML is not an option, but a legal obligation! Anyone who fails to carry out these checks properly becomes a co-conspirator and must take responsibility for it and/or must be prosecuted. Failing to apply proper KYC/AMK/CFT checks is a serious crime that causes harm to people and society. And this prosecutors should not accept.
Report lawyers and financial institutions
If you are aware of any lawyer or financial institution that facilitates cybercrime via its services please share your knowledge with FinTelegram. You can use our whistleblower system.