Virtual Currencies

Conversations: Ross Delston, Attorney & Expert Witness

Course Duration: 30 minutes
Course Points: 

On Fridays with Fintelekt this week, host Shirish Pathak, Managing Director, Fintelekt is joined by Ross Delston, Expert witness, attorney & former US banking regulator (FDIC), who shares his varied experiences in policy responses to trade-based money laundering and trade-based terrorist financing, anti-corruption, corporate transparency and the risks from new technologies.

Our key picks from this interesting conversation full of anecdotes and experiences from Ross’s long career are: 

  • There hasn’t been much progress in combating TBML and that all elements in the trade supply chain should be covered by an AML programme, and made to file STR reports to achieve any tangible results. 
  • Ross compares the new AML law in the US, especially in the area of public access to beneficial ownership registries, with that across the European Union, India and other countries.
  • On NFTs and ICOs, he believes speculation may be a more important issue than money laundering fuelled by the huge rise in prices of various classes of assets over the years.
  • Conviction rates in money laundering are often low because understanding the flow of money, and especially explaining it to a jury, is difficult and it may be easier to prosecute the predicate crime rather than money laundering.

For more expert comments, please view the entire episode. 

Conversations: Shawki Ahwash, North Africa Commercial Bank

Course Duration: 23 minutes
Course Points: 20

This week Fridays with Fintelekt hosted by Shirish Pathak, Managing Director, Fintelekt features Shawki Ahwash, Head of AML/CFT & Sanctions Division, North Africa Commercial Bank from Beirut, Lebanon.

A career banker, Shawki enjoys sharing the knowledge that he has gained with others through training and teaching. He feels that AML/CFT is a dynamic and evolving field and technology has changed everything about it – be it onboarding, profiling or monitoring of customers and transactions.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, banks have had to take proactive measures to combat fraud and cybercrime and have had to sensitize their clients. The need of the hour is to upgrade and re-skill front-line staff that is dealing directly with the customer.

For AML/CFT to become more effective, he recommends that banks and financial institutions conduct a separate risk assessment for sanctions and AML, ascertain the quality of data to reduce false positives and move away from filing defensive STRs. High quality STRs which provide the underlying predicate offence, an elaborate narrative, profile of clients and the circumstances of the transaction to the extent possible will contribute to the regulator’s database and aid the understanding of newer trends and typologies.

On the new AML law in the UAE, Shawki thinks that many Arab or GCC countries may copy some of the steps – around screening, targeted financial sanctions, DNFBPs, etc. – to fortify their regulatory environment on anti-financial crime.

For many regional trends and insights on crypto, financial inclusion, screening, and others, tune in to the entire episode. 

Conversations: Leah Callon-Butler, Emfarsis

Course Duration: 30 minutes
Course Points: 30

In this episode of Fridays with Fintelekt, host Shirish Pathak, Managing Director, Fintelekt Advisory Services is in conversation with Leah Callon-Butler, Director, Emfarsis on cryptocurrency and blockchain adoption, its challenges and potential benefits to society.

Leah’s company Emfarsis, helps early stage companies with their product to market fit. She says that often when a new technology is evolving, it isn’t clear to consumers how it can solve their needs. The same goes for blockchain and cryptocurrencies and Leah works to tell the right stories about how this technology can improve people’s lives. 

An example is her video about the Play to Earn NFT game – Axie Infinity – which has garnered considerable popularity amongst people affected by the pandemic by helping them with an alternative revenue source as it allows cashing out into real money (

While Leah is all for allowing innovators to build new solutions, she recognises the role of regulation in fostering trust and confidence, in making regulated financial institutions enter the space and make it more accessible. However, there is a fine balance to be achieved. She feels that regulating too early without proper industry consultation and understanding of how the technology works could lead to unintended consequences. She thinks that blockchain technology could be more useful to compliance and potentially be a better way to prevent crime. 

For more such insights around the challenges with the FATF travel rule, the financial inclusion potential of the crypto economy, and a variety of resources that the compliance community can use to keep in touch with developments in this space, watch the entire episode. 

Expert Speak: Rob Loh, Huron

Course Duration: 24 minutes
Course Points: 20

Rob Loh, Director, Huron speaks about “Are Non-Fungible Tokens the Perfect Money Laundering Tool? A Look at Mitigating AML/CFT Risks” in this presentation from Fintelekt Asia AML/CFT 3rd Annual Summit 2021, held virtually from July 5-9, 2021.

Expert Speak: Claire Wilson, Holland & Marie

Course Duration: 41 minutes
Course Points: 40

Claire Wilson, Partner, Holland & Marie speaks about Developments in Virtual Assets in this presentation from Fintelekt Asia AML/CFT 3rd Annual Summit 2021, held virtually from July 5-9, 2021.

Conversations: Dr David Utzke, Cryptoeconomics & DLT Expert

Course Duration: 33 minutes
Course Points: 30

In this episode of Fridays with Fintelekt, join in for a unique insight into the world of crypto as Shirish Pathak, Managing Director, Fintelekt Advisory Services hosts Dr. David Utzke, Associate Professor at University of Advancing Technology & U.S. Treasury IRS CID Cybercrimes Unit.

Speaking from years of research and experience in distributed ledger technology (DLT) and blockchain, David provides a historical perspective to the development of cryptocurrencies, clarifies many of the prevailing misconceptions, explains the challenges in regulating the space, and provides his take on the future of money.

Understanding the technology, he says, is the key to staying ahead of the criminals, whether you are a consumer, a financial institution, an investor or a regulator.

Expert Speak: Pamela Clegg, CipherTrace

Course Duration: 36 minutes
Course Points: 35

In this presentation, Pamela Clegg, Director of Financial Investigations & Education, CipherTrace talked about Investigation, Seizure and Confiscation of Virtual Assets. She shared findings from The CipherTrace Cryptocurrency Intelligence Report and talked about handling risky Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs).

This presentation was part of the AMLC-Fintelekt AML/CTF Summit Philippines 2020, conducted virtually from November 23rd – 27th, 2020.

Expert Speak: Malcolm Wright, 100x Group

Course Duration: 31 minutes
Course Points: 30

Malcolm Wright, Chief Compliance Officer, 100x Group & Advisory Council Chair, Global Digital Finance talked about Virtual Assets and Virtual Asset Service Providers. He cleared many myths surrounding cryptocurrencies and talked about the evolution of cryptocurrencies. He shared recommendations for Supervisors of cryptocurrencies and benefits to ‘right-sized’ regulatory oversight in this industry.

This presentation was part of the AMLC-Fintelekt AML/CTF Summit Philippines 2020, conducted virtually from November 23rd – 27th, 2020.

Conversations: Claire Wilson, Consultant and Chairperson, HKICPA Disciplinary Panel

Course Duration: 19 minutes
Course Points: 15

In this video from the Fridays with Fintelekt series, Shirish Pathak, Managing Director, Fintelekt Advisory Services is in conversation with Claire Wilson, Independent Consultant and Chairperson, HKICPA Disciplinary Panel. The focus of the discussion is cryptocurrencies and virtual assets. Claire speaks about her extensive research on cryptocurrencies from an economic, technology and legal perspective, the impact of large companies investing in Bitcoin on the cryptocurrency ecosystem, banning cryptocurrencies and its impact, advice to governments on the fence that are neither banning nor allowing crypto trading and advice to compliance professionals on how to protect their financial institutions from risks associated with cryptocurrencies.

FATF Plenary February 2021: Outcomes and Interpretation

Daniel Thelesklaf, International AML/CFT and Anti-Corruption Expert provides a round-up of the outcomes of the FATF Plenary Meeting which was held virtually from February 22 to 25, 2021. Despite the pandemic, the FATF has kept up with its planned timelines and the developments in this latest plenary are relevant for the public and private sectors alike. Daniel explains the rationale behind FATF’s recent report on risk-based supervision, highlighted also by FATF Executive Secretary David Lewis at Chatham House recently. Daniel also covers strategic initiatives in the areas of proliferation financing, mitigating risks from virtual assets and terrorism financing. He also covers key results of the mutual evaluation of New Zealand, changes to the gray list, and ends with an outlook on what may be coming in the area of beneficial ownership.

Updated: March 2021
Level: Intermediate
Duration: 27 minutes
Course Points: 25

Trainer: Daniel Thelesklaf, International AML/CFT and Anti-Corruption Expert
View Trainer Bio

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