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Daily fraud update: 25th November

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Hello and welcome to your daily update on foreign exchange and cryptocurrency fraud.

Founder of African airline accused of forex fraud

A man who founded, and now chairs, a leading African airline has been hit with allegations of a $20m fraud involving international bank accounts.

Allen Onyema has been charged by the US government with bank fraud and money laundering.

It is understood that the US government is accusing Onyema of routing tens of millions of US dollars through  bank accounts in the US – and for misrepresenting documentation which suggested the cash was part of a plan to buy aeroplanes.

However, problems for Onyema appeared to intensify in recent days after an official who advises the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari took to Twitter to accuse Onyema of needing to face the charges.

She also sought to move President Buhari away from the allegations – and claimed that the Nigerian government had not received an update about the charges.

“I do not understand what Pres. @MBuhari has to do with Mr. Onyema of Air Peace being indicted and charged in the USA”, said Lauretta Onochie.

“According to our Attorney General, the Federal Government has not even been informed of the situation”, she added.

She then went on to tie the allegations against Onyema to an ongoing effort to build a Nigerian national identity.

“We are smarter now than ever before. Gradually, the scales of tribalism, religious affinity and political loyalty, are falling off our eyes and being replaced by Nigerianism”, she said.

“Nigerians are not keen on tales by the moonlight. Let him Return to America and face his accusers!” she added.

Thailand set to reform its crypto laws

A regulator in the major Southeast Asian economy of Thailand has announced that it will consider changing some of its cryptocurrency rules.

According to industry press, Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol – who heads up the country’s Security Exchange Commission (SEC) – said that there was an opportunity to check that the laws in the country matched market requirements.

“[Crypto] laws should not be outdated and should serve market needs, especially for new digital asset products, and be competitive with the global market. We need to explore any possible obstacles”, she said.

It is not that long since the rules were last updated.

In the last quarter, any cryptocurrency companies which wanted to operate in Thailand have had to get permission from the Finance Ministry in the country.

Any initial coin offerings (ICOs) have had to get permission from the Thai SEC as part of the previous push towards regulation.

Now, the Thai SEC aims to go further – and says it will attempt to “protect investors from the risk of fraud and deception.”

“The legislation also aims to protect investors from the risk of fraud and deception by dishonest persons, money laundering and exploitation of digital assets to facilitate illegal financial transactions, while ensuring regulatory clarity to facilitate legitimate uses of digital assets”, according to Rapee Sucharitakul, former head of the SEC.