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Daily fraud update: 12th March

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French banking giant “blocks” Coinbase access

A major bank in France has been accused of blocking access to a leading cryptocurrency exchange.

Press reports suggest that BNP Paribas, which is a well-known sight on the high streets in France, is blocking at least some users from sending cash to Coinbase.

The development appeared to occur this week, when users began to find that they were unable to move cash from their account to that of the exchange.

The problem was not, apparently, occurring last week, when transactions were able to proceed largely as normal.

The block also appears to be focused firmly on Coinbase, and not the wider crypto sphere.

According to one press report, transactions to the European version of Binance – Binance Jersey – were still possible for BNP Paribas customers.

One customer said that they had contacted BNP Paribas to check the issue.

They claim to have been informed that the bank was concerned about a range of issues, including fraud.

The bank supposedly also said that Monero, a well-known privacy coin, was part of the problem.

The customer claimed that there was no prior warning from BNP Paribas regarding the suspension of transfers.

This is, however, far from the first time that a major banking giant has taken moves to halt cryptocurrency usage.

Big banking names in the sector such as JP Morgan have done so in the past.

Zimbabwean government minister warns of forex fraud risks 

A senior government minister in the Sub-Saharan African country of Zimbabwe has warned that the nation’s law enforcement system is not doing a good job in relation to forex fraud.

The comments were made by Professor Mthuli Ncube, who serves as the country’s Minister of Finance.

According to the news website ZimEye, Ncube claimed that laws against forex fraud and wider financial scams – and the teams entrusted with enforcing them – were not operating effectively.

It was reported elsewhere that the government intended to carry out a “review” of relevant laws in the forex fraud area.

“The government will be reviewing all the laws and institutional framework in order to bring them in line with international best practices and, more importantly, monitor the effectiveness of institutions charged with implementing the laws”, Ncube was quoted as saying.

Ncube previously served as the vice president and chief economist of the African Development Bank Group.

Zimbabwe has faced a range of foreign exchange fraud cases in recent years.

Towards the end of last year, for example, it was revealed an alleged forex scam worth around $765,000 occurred in the capital city of Harare.

The country’s currency has famously fallen victim in the past to hyperinflation.

There is also a thriving black market for the US dollar in the country, which means that the forex picture is complicated – and offers an opportunity for fraudsters to step into the breach.