Daily fraud update: 9th December

Chris Lee

South Korean regulators on verge of categorisation decision

Regulators in the major Asian economy of South Korea have decided to enter the discussion around what sort of asset cryptocurrencies actually are.

They are expected to make a decision soon on whether to treat crypto assets in a similar way to stocks.

If so, this would mean looking at crypto assets in a more rigorous way.

Exchanges would need to go through a “know your customer” (KYC) process every time someone signs up.

Granular records would also need to be kept for each new user.

The overarching reason for the shift in focus has come from the government’s desire to start taxing the profits of crypto trades.

It is understood that taxation on crypto profits is expected to come into force by Q1 of 2020.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance in the country is seeking to do this.

In a statement published in newspaper The Korea Times, it was hinted that conversations about the proposed tax have been going on behind the scenes.

“Related discussions have been taking place. The revised bill will be drawn up by the first half of next year”, said a government source.

UK white collar prosecutions drop

The number of people in Britain prosecuted for white collar crimes has gone down.

According to data published by Thomson Reuters, prosecutions are down by well over 10% – with 6,670 people being hit with convictions in 2018.

This stands in contrast to 2017, in which 7,790 people were prosecuted.

A wide range of specific crimes fall under the umbrella of white collar crime, including everything from fraud to insider trading.

However, in a sign that digitalisation has impacted even the crime world, the overall number of computer misuse crimes is now higher than ever recorded.

The figures reveal that the combined total number of convictions for fraud and computer misuse was 700,000 in 2018/19, which is a sharp rise from 593,000 in 2014/15.

According to City AM, part of the reason for the rise has been the use of cryptocurrencies as new-found tools for scammers and fraudsters.

According to a lawyer quoted in the Law Gazette, part of the reason for the lack of convictions might be down to funding cuts.

“Budget cuts are taking their toll on police forces, who are having to downsize fraud teams whilst fraud cases continue to rise”, said Charles Thomson, a partner at Baker McKenzie partner and a writer in the financial crime field.

“The result is that police forces may not always have capacity to investigate complex fraud cases and are more likely to focus on the investigation of other offenses, which are likely to be less resource intensive.

“There is an urgent need for more police funding in this area and without this, the situation will only get worse”, he added.

Chris Lee

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