The investigation called the Pandora Papers is the collaboration of journalists from all over the world. Among 2.94 terabytes of data they discovered are documents, emails, images, and more, that expose more than 400 politicians, billionaires, celebrities, and members of royal families around the world. Among them: the King of Jordan; the leaders of Ecuador, Ukraine, Kenya, and the Czech Republic; and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The information that the journalists gathered exposes tax mitigation corruption and money laundering. This leak is yet another proof that the need for AML procedures and diligent AML and KYC monitoring is real. 

What are AML and KYC?

AML (Anti-Money Laundering) is a broad term that refers to the laws, regulations, and procedures intended to prevent money laundering activities, while KYC (Know Your Customer) refers to a set of guidelines that professionals are required to carry out to verify the identity of their customers. 

Failure to comply with the AML and KYC rules can cause serious consequences. AML-related fines,  which rose 59% in comparison to the previous year, just in the first part of 2020 alone, and have reached over $706 million.

Already the Pandora Papers leak sparks conversations to expedite new AML rules. Since the people who were responsible for upholding and creating the rules are the ones that are involved. 

Pandora Papers and AML

It was reviled in the documents that many of the offshore financial services firms don’t conduct proper due diligence on clients and they don’t monitor their transactions. Such actions could stop the illicit money flow. One of such companies was Singapore-based Asiaciti, an international trust, and corporate services provider. The company was already fined $1,100,000 in 2020 by the Monetary Authority of Singapore for failure to comply with AML  and CFT (Countering the Financing of Terrorism) requirements. The company did not implement adequate AML and CFT policies and procedures and did not use independent audits.

Asiaciti failed to corroborate the source of funds from their clients. One of them was a politically exposed person (PEP) and as such should be regarded as a higher-risk customer. Many PEPs hold positions that can be abused to launder illicit funds and make them more liable to corruption or bribery. That is the reason why companies should implement enhanced customer due diligence when it comes to PEPs, to monitor their actions. 

Regulations

Acts regarding Anti Money Laundering and Know Your Customer procedures require businesses to keep track of their users’ activities. To answer the need for regulation compliance Fully-Verified offers video identity verification. The process allows users to be verified in real-time and checks their identity against their documents to make sure they are who they say they are. Additionally, Fully-Verified offers Sanction and PEP checks to fully comply with the strictest KYC and AML norms and processes.

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