Article: FCA comes down on Wirex after allegations of turning a blind eye to money laundering

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FCA comes down on Wirex after allegations of turning a blind eye to money laundering

Aisling Finn,  30 March 2021

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has decided to crack down on crypto and fiat currency payments provider Wirex after money laundering allegations surfaced, according to an investigation by Fintech Futures.

In response to the article, Wirex’s legal team said: “The article in question contains a number of false, defamatory and misleading statements, including the allegations that money is being laundered through the company, and Wirex is currently considering its legal options to have the article removed immediately.”

Concerns were allegedly first raised all the way back in February 2019 after several Wirex employees independently approached the FCA with concerns that customer money was being laundered through the company, according to the report by Fintech Futures.

The employees, one of which was in a senior compliance position, also reportedly raised concerns that Wirex was trading crypto that wasn’t the company’s to trade.

A former employee told Fintech Futures: “The FCA turned a blind eye. [Wirex is] telling customers they’re FCA regulated, but the irony is the FCA doesn’t care.”

Since going to the FCA with their concerns, one of the employees was made redundant and the other was given a significant pay rise.

Despite the serious allegations, the FCA reportedly only went to Wirex last week and, as a result, Wirex announced its decision to temporarily pause recruiting new UK customers.

Wirex was found to be in direct violation of the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD), which came into force in January 2020, and protects consumers against new money laundering threats that have arisen with the growing popularity of digital currencies.

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