European Compliance Mess – A challenging week for BaFin and MFSA
BaFin's President Felix Hufeld and Vice President Elisabeth Roegele had to resign because of the Wirecard scandal. Germany's Finance Minister Olaf Scholz wants to make a fresh start. In Malta, former CEO Joe Cuschieri and his longtime confidant and MFSA General Counsel Edwina Licari are involved in compliance issues. They have let themselves be invited to Las Vegas by Yorgen Fenech. Fenech is said to be the mastermind behind the murder of investigative blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia and suspected of bribing members of the former Maltese government.
Check this out – German PPRO Group gets $180M at $1B+ valuation
Germany has a new FinTech. FCA-regulated PPRO Financial is controlled by the German PPRO Holding GmbH and has affiliated companies in Europe, Asia, North and South America. Today, the company announced that it had received a total of $180 million in fresh money from investors based on a valuation of more than $1 billion. With this, PPRO joins the club of FinTech unicorns. However, in the past, PPRO has also attracted attention for supporting broker scams with its payment services.
Porn Baron Hamid “Ray” Akhavan arrested again for violation of pretrial release
January 7, 2020, was a productive day in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Russian hacker Andrei Tyurin was sentenced to 12 years in prison as an accomplice to Israeli cybercrime supervillain Gery Shalon, who was also charged. He had previously pleaded guilty. In parallel, Hamid "Ray" Akhavan and his German partner Ruben Wiegand, charged with money laundering and bank fraud, had a trial. Akhavan was rearrested for violating pretrial release conditions.
PXP Financial and MoneyNetInt cooperate for cross-border payments
Regulated by the FCA with reference No 504318, PXP Financial Limited as an Authorized Payment Institution was originally founded as Kalixa Accept Limited by Austria's Bwin. Following the acquisition of Bwin by public-listed GVC Holdings PLC, Kalixa was sold to Senjo Group for €29 million in late 2019 and renamed PXP Financial. The company recently announced its cooperation with FCA-regulated MoneyNetInt Group. Senjo Group was one of the largest - and, according to the Financial Times (FT), most opaque - partners of the collapsed Wirecard.
BaFin employee fired for conspicious Wirecard speculations
The collapse of the listed German FinTech miracle Wirecard is still making high political waves. The regulator BaFin is at the center of criticism for not acting properly in this affair. The Wirecard fraud took place under the sleepy regulatory eyes of BaFin employees. Some employees actually used the Wirecard crisis and possibly insider information to speculate privately with its shares. At least four BaFin employees have been exposed as Wirecard speculators; one of them was fired as of November 30.
Money-laundering complaint filed against Deutsche Handelsbank and PPRO Group
EFRI has filed several crucial money-laundering complaints against banks and payment processors with the competent authorities in various jurisdictions. Without the intentional or negligent facilitation of these institutions, investment fraud by scammers would not be possible in the first place. EFRI has now filed a money laundering complaint against Deutsche Handelsbank and the PPRO Group along with extensive evidence.
PPRO Group and its involvement in vast scam operations
PPRO Group consists of PPRO Financial Limited (www.ppro.com), an e-money institution (EMI) regulated by the UK FCA and several other entities in different jurisdictions including South America and Asia. The German PPRO Holding GmbH is the controlling entity. Philipp Nieland, a German citizen, is a director in both companies. The FCA-regulated PPRO Financial has a bank account with the BaFin-regulated Deutsche Handelsbank and through these accounts, it processes payments from scam customers and their victims.
Sorry, too late! BaFin issued a cease-and-desist order against dissolved laundromat
In recent years, German companies have increasingly been used as payment processors for scams and cybercrime. Dozens of German companies are still acting as illegal payment processors for scammers. The law calls it money laundering. Lipans Smart Consult GmbH was one of those laundromats. BaFin issued a Cease-and-Desist Order but the company has already been dissolved months ago.
The German regulator BaFin has announced that it will examine the allegations made by short-seller Fraser Perring about a report of his Delaware registered Viceroy. The German watchdog would have learned from Wirecard, says Raimund Roesler, who is responsible for banking supervision at BaFin. They would now probe the allegations raised by the report.
Wirecard Supervisory Board Stefan Klestil had to retire from N26
He is the latest Wirecard victim. Stefan Klestil, the son of the former Austrian president, is the Lead Partner FinTech at the Austrian VC SpeedInvest. Now Klestil is catching up on his past as a member of the Supervisory Board of Wirecard and close business partner of its founder and CEO Markus Braun. He allegedly has to withdraw from the supervisory board of the German FinTech start-up N26 under pressure from BaFin.
Viceroy Report exposes German Grenke as the next Wirecard-like fraud case
Delaware registered Viceroy Research has once again published an obviously explosive analysis. The group around Fraser Perring is specialized in investigative financial research and was among the first to point out the irregularities in the German Wirecard scandal. Now Viceroy is revealing the irregularities at Grenke, a public-listed German financial services provider. The companies share price has collapsed as a result.