Due Diligence

When ransomeware strikes: Navigating risks and regulatory responses

Ransomware attacks are affecting millions of organisations worldwide. What is the correct response when someone breaks into your organisation’s IT system, encrypts critically important data and demands a ransomware payment in exchange for an encryption key? Besides the obvious information security and business continuity concerns, there are other important aspects to consider, such as the…

The Rise of Disinformation in OSINT

Due diligence investigators often rely on information available online to make an assessment of their target’s reputation. This means that the ability to distinguish between authentic and inauthentic sources is of critical importance. With the advancement of social media and AI-produced online content, and a fast-growing industry emerging around the creation and dissemination of disinformation,…

The future of US sanctions on Iran

One of the top foreign policy priorities for the Biden administration is to strike a new nuclear deal with Iran. The administration got one step closer to reaching this goal at the beginning of April when indirect talks began between the two parties in Vienna to negotiate a return to the Obama-era deal (JCPOA, see…

Virtual Currencies – Regulation and Terrorist Financing Risks

Jennifer Hanley-Giersch – Managing Partner Berlin Risk Advisors GmbH, Berlin – published her new article on ACAMS Today (EU) on 24 August 2020. The rise of bitcoin and other virtual currencies poses new challenges in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF). With virtual currencies, users can make global payments that are beyond the…

Take-Aways – ACAMS Conference – Berlin 2019

Berlin Risk joined ACAMS 15th Annual Anti-Financial Crime Conference as an exhibitor, sponsor and speaker at the Berlin conference in June 2019. Berlin Risk’s Managing Director, Jennifer Hanley-Giersch, took part as a panelist focusing on the management of high-risk customers. She discussed adequate approaches to customer risk rating and what levels of investigations are necessary to also address reputational risk. With high-risk clients it is not sufficient to simply identify the UBO. “It is important to have an in-depth understanding of who the customer is, the countries of operations, wider business interest and political associations,” Jennifer said.

Risky Business: 5AMLD and EDD

The fifth EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD) carries significant regulatory developments particularly in relation to high-risk customers and relevant enhanced due diligence requirements. Innovations concern EDD in view of high-risk third countries, ultimate ownership information, transparency of funds, and scrutiny of political exposed persons. Essentially, the 5AMLD further raises the benchmarks for the practice of EDD on high-risk customers.

The Controversial EU List of High-Risk Third Countries

The list of High-Risk Third Countries with strategic AML deficiencies presented by the EU Commission in February 2019 was rejected by the EU Council shortly after. It appears that the country risk assessment has been affected by political considerations.

Regulating a Game Changer—Europe’s Approach to Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies are seen as bringing innovation to the payments-services sector; furthering financial inclusion; and facilitating greater efficiency in cross-border transactions. However, as with other financial products and services, cryptocurrencies are also exposed to financial crime risks. The following article provides some background in relation to cryptocurrencies in general, and some insights into ongoing regulatory approaches and discussions in Europe.

The German Political Crisis Explained

Germany was a political pillar of stability in the EU for years, but failure to create a new coalition government has steered the country into the political unknown. European partners may have to get accustomed to a Germany that will be more oriented toward its own domestic political debate. As in other countries, controversy on EU reform could further deepen internal divisions. Merkel and her party are therefore likely to continue to act with caution. CDU and SPD, being part of the same government, will have even more problems than before in formulating a coherent position on EU reform. All forecasts point towards a political change for both Germany and Europe.