FIAU fines payment processing firm €435,000 for crypto breaches

Last Updated on Saturday, 2 October, 2021 at 4:05 pm by Andre Camilleri

The Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit has fined a payment processing company €435,576 for a series of anti-money laundering breaches linked to cryptocurrency. 

The FIAU said it the fine had been imposed on Phoenix Payments Limited following an inspection which had uncovered a series of regulatory breaches.  

In an announcement on its website, the FIAU said it found shortcomings in the way the business collected information on customers’ business and occupation and their source of wealth and source of funds. 

Other shortcomings were discovered when it came to ensuring it properly understood the anticipated level and nature of transactions, including the expected value and frequency of payments.

These failures were noted in the majority of files selected for a compliance review, the FIAU said. 

The FIAU said that the company had not applied enhanced due diligence measures in five customer files, which were all classified as posing a high or medium high risk by the company itself and involved customers having higher risk factors associated with them. 

All of these customers were linked to cryptocurrency, either by being a cryptocurrency service provider or as providers of crypto exchange services and in one instance, linked to a high-risk jurisdiction. 

In fact, even the basic level of due diligence had not been properly carried out, the FIAU said.

The company had also been fined by Malta Financial Services Agency in March for alleged regulatory breaches. It has since filed a constitutional challenge claiming that its rights to a fair hearing were breached.

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