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The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today announced a settlement with BitPay, Inc., a private company based in Atlanta, Georgia, that offers a payment processing solution for merchants to accept digital currency as payment for goods and services. BitPay agreed to remit USD507,375 to settle its potential civil liability for 2,102 apparent breaches of multiple sanctions requirements. We have edited the relevant media material and commented on it.

The case provides fascinating background as US PoTUS Biden undertakes a wide-ranging review of Trump-era regulations including sanctions. Much will turn on whether such sanctions are "revoked" or "repealed" or, even, just "cancelled." It also draws attention to "know your customer's customer."

The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission has today announced that it has preliminary competition concerns with Aon plc’s (Aon) proposed merger with Willis Towers Watson plc (WTW).

Note, unusually, this is actually a merger not a takeover: a new combined company will be owned as to approx 2/3 by AON and 1/3 by Willis shareholders. While shareholders have approved the deal, competition authorities around the world are not inclined to give an automatic nod.

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We all moan that we are having a bad day, that we need something ranging from coffee to a punch-bag, make hopeful statements that the universe (or whatever) will make tomorrow a better day.

Sometimes we tell ourselves, or each other, to pull our socks up and get on with making something good happen, even though we know, in our heart of hearts that we are deluding ourselves and that, in truth, there are times when we have no control over the present and no influence over the future.

Sometimes, there are no better days.

Morningstar has been mounting a persistent advertising campaign on LinkedIn recently. It it, it promotes its due diligence services. An announcement by the USA's Securities and Exchange Commission raises several questions, not the least of which is "who or what is Morningstar"?

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The Hong Kong Monetary Authority published today the credit card lending survey results for the fourth quarter of 2020.

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It's been months since we last had a threat of this type. But where there is one cockroach, there are usually many so we might expect that another wave of such spam-scams is happening.

Bitcoin wallet: 1L6XxPRuLJdr6JCqw8dwNUm1wFLisrGREL

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The best thing about the Gamestock story is that a short-seller tried to manipulate the market by doing deals then trying to talk down the stock. The market turned the other way, leaving the short seller out an estimated 30% of their entire funds under management.

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Hayley Joan Street of Richmond, Victoria has been disqualified from managing corporations for four years following her involvement in two failed companies.

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Art Lover writes:

I'm a long time reader and a first time writer. I'm desperate. I like art. A lot. I don't like sports. At all. I like science but I'm rubbish at it. I don't like history, geography and English Lit but I'm good at them. I'm good at English grammar and Composition and I quite like that. I'm rubbish at maths and I don't like it.

Norwegian-based, global, shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean AS (WWO) has pleaded guilty in the Australian Federal Court to criminal cartel conduct in a prosecution brought by the Australia on evidence obtained by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

One of the biggest reasons for migrating away from WhatsApp is privacy. It's been a problem ever since WhatsApp was launched. Indeed, I discussed it with the founders when it was new, ish, and they said that they had deliberately designed the system to create visibility between users. When I pointed out that a combination of various features compromised personal security, that was not something that concerned them... anyone can get your phone number, they said.

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The Australian Administrative Appeals Tribunal, on the joint application of the parties, agreed to replace an order cancelling a liquidator's licence and replace it with a period of suspension and a further period during which he must not act as sole liquidator.

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In 2015, I wrote "Cleaning up the 'Net." It was an action plan to reduce incidence of financial and other crime committed over the internet.

One of the main principles of the book is that those that provide services to internet users - including domain name registrars and others - were enabling and profiting from crime.

Is 2021 the year when someone listens and starts to take seriously the ease with which criminals can, for example, register domain names that even the most basic know-your-customer would establish is more likely than not to be used for some improper purpose?

On the weekend when, at last, the USA gets laws to require at least some degree of declaration of the ownership of companies, is there an appetite to tackle this even bigger problem?

Hint: it's not...

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The United States' Office of Foreign Asset Control has issued a penalty to a company that provides "security and scalability platforms for digital assets and offers non-custodial secure digital wallet management services." The case is interesting because it establishes that, for sanctions purposes, the internet is not a borderless world. It also demonstrates issues with Know Your Customer processes in non-face-to-face business - and the fact that, you know, people lie.

It raises serious questions for those who deliver services via the internet and which have any US footprint.

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