One hundred million euros disappeared into the virtual world – it is appropriate to say – and at least six thousand customers were deceived. With the damage now done, and in the midst of the investigation into New Financial Technology ltd, headquartered strictly in London, it is legitimate to ask how such cryptocurrency fraud could have occurred, given the frequency of fraud. Warning Supervisory authorities have released them over time, not to mention the obligations and controls already in place in our legal system.
Beyond the sexy and catchy name (which I don’t have to remember Non-fungible tokens), the company lured investor clients by promising 10% returns on the purported availability of an algorithm that would generate profits from arbitrage concluded on cryptocurrency trading platforms. Activities that must be followed in Italy are very specific regulations and rules.
Already on March 9, the head of Consob, Paolo Savona, indicated before the Parliamentary Committee for the Protection of Consumers and Users, how the supervisory trial defines occasional deviant behaviour, from aggressive marketing via email, chat, social networks, as well as more traditional methods. phone calls. Furthermore, the use of shell companies that claim to be based in non-European countries or that are in fact untraceable if they appear to be located in the European Union; Proposed activities for the consumer that are often related to services trade On web platforms and financial instruments that are difficult to understand, such as derivatives with base currencies, stock market indices, commodities, and cryptocurrencies frequently. Finally, according to Savona, the promotion of illegally offered products that are becoming increasingly “atypical” and connected to the world of crypto assets. Often the fraudulent scheme is the usual and very well known “Ponzi” which guarantees high profits for the first customers but only thanks to the immediate use of payments from the “park of bulls” attracted, in fact, by marketing.
The national legislator has already implemented EU Directive 2018/843 by Legislative Decree 125/2019, which in turn amends Titles I, II, III and V of Legislative Decree 231/2007 on the issue of preventing the use of the financial system for recycling. Virtual currency is defined by anti-money laundering legislation as “the digital representation of value that is not issued or guaranteed by a central bank or a public authority, and is not necessarily linked to a legal tender currency, used as a medium of exchange for the purchase of goods and services or for investment purposes and for its transfer, storage and trading electronically.” “. Regarding anti-money laundering obligations, the Guardia di Finanza has already indicated in its responses to Telefisco 2021 that service providers with regard to the use of virtual currency and digital wallet services can operate, but since they fall into the category of “non-financial operators” they are required to fulfill customer due diligence obligations and retain data and send suspicious transaction reports.
Finally, specifically with reference to an activity exchangerGdf invoked a criminal cassation ruling on “the solicitation and public offering of bitcoins” (26807/20). The case concerned allegations of money laundering, misuse and fraud of credit and payment cards, and financial fraud; The cassation held that the sale of bitcoins, advertised through a website, would be comparable to an investment solicitation to the public, and thus subject to the disclosure obligations that the Uniform Code provides on financial matters. Hence Gdf believes that activity exchanger It is not excluded from the legislation on financial instruments, to the extent that the sale of virtual currencies is advertised as a real investment proposal.