Greetings, and welcome back to MyZucoins! We’re here to keep you updated on all things crypto, finance, and tech.
My sincere apologies for the lack of updates on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Unfortunately, I had an unplanned hospital stay that temporarily put activities on hold. Rest assured, I’m back in the swing of things and ready to delve into the latest updates.
What a great week of news with the conclusion of the investigation into Zucoins by Westpac, one of Australia’s largest banks. In an email sent on 8 June 2023, Westpac confirmed that Zucoins is not a fraud or a scam, bringing a positive outcome for the digital asset. This announcement follows months of scrutiny and the freezing of funds held in Zukaz’s bank accounts. (Zukaz was the selling agent for Zucoins).
On 22 March 2022, Westpac blocked all bank accounts linked to Zukaz, which included significant funds from the sale of Zucoins. The decision was based on a flawed internal report from the Commonwealth Bank (CBA), falsely accusing Zucoins of fraudulent activities. However, after Zukaz filed an official complaint and provided compelling evidence to refute the allegations, the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) intervened.
After acknowledging the AFCA Complaint, Westpac’s fraud team conducted their own investigation, seeking an internal report from their institution to counter the allegations against Zucoins. They also required an official notification from the CBA confirming the withdrawal of their fraud report. Finally, on 8 June 2023, Westpac concluded its investigation, lifting the blocks on Zukaz’s accounts and granting access to the funds. Read more here
Following on from the successful close of the year-long ASIC investigation in recent weeks (which was no doubt unofficially correlated), this milestone from Westpac serves as another powerful affirmation of the legitimacy of Zucoins. The brilliant team behind it are tirelessly pushing to make Zucoins a reality, working to get on top of these hurdles and many, many others, aiming to make sure they check as many boxes as they can. It’s another great step in the growing story of Zucoins, as a pioneering digital asset in the ever-evolving landscape of the crypto industry.
“I appreciate your patience while the bank investigates this matter and apologise for the inconvenience and frustration caused”
This was Westpac’s closing statement in their email, after freezing working capital for 14 months and damaging Zucoins’ reputation. It is astonishing. Now, let’s delve into some of the exoneration cases involving Australian banks.
Here is just a snippet of cases publicly reported following the behavior from major Australian Banks (other country’s banks have similar issues):
- Westpac Banking Corporation (WBC): WBC reached an agreement with AUSTRAC to pay a $1.3 billion penalty for breaching the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act. WBC admitted to contravening the act on over 23 million occasions, exposing Australia’s financial system to criminal exploitation. The penalty order represents the largest civil penalty in Australian history. Read more here
- National Australia Bank Ltd (NAB): NULIS Nominees and MLC Nominees, entities within NAB’s wealth management division, were ordered to pay a total penalty of $57.5 million. The Court found that they made false and misleading representations to superannuation members regarding plan service fees. MLC Nominees will pay $49.5 million, while NULIS will pay $8 million. Read more here.
- Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA): CBA agreed to a $700 million penalty to resolve Federal Court proceedings related to serious breaches of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act. CBA admitted to contravening the act on 53,750 occasions, including failures to carry out appropriate risk assessments and report threshold transactions on time. Read more here
- ANZ Banking Group Ltd (ANZ): ASIC filed civil penalty proceedings against ANZ for misleading customers and failing to provide promised benefits. ANZ admitted to making false or misleading representations to customers and has had to remediate nearly $200 million to impacted customers, in addition to a $25 million fine. Read more here.
These cases highlight only a few of the regulatory breaches and misconduct by Australian banks in recent years, leading to significant penalties and remediation efforts.
For a comprehensive understanding of the proven cases against Australian banks and more examples that shed light on the integrity of our banking industry, visit ASIC’s own list here or Zucoins.com’s page on banks for detailed information and insights.
Hong Kong’s banking regulator, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), is urging major banks, including HSBC and Standard Chartered, to onboard crypto exchanges as clients, even as US regulators tighten their grip on the industry. The HKMA questioned these banks and Bank of China on their reluctance to accept crypto exchanges as customers, citing undue burden and the need to seize opportunities. While banks in Hong Kong do not have a ban on crypto clients, concerns over potential money laundering and illegal activities have made them cautious.
The HKMA regulator is encouraging banks to overcome resistance and fears within traditional banking circles. The enthusiasm for the crypto sector in Hong Kong is exemplified by pro-Beijing lawmaker Johnny Ng’s invitation for Coinbase and other exchanges to establish a presence in the city, following the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s lawsuit against Binance and Coinbase for violating securities laws.
Banks in Hong Kong face a delicate balancing act, torn between supporting the government’s crypto industry policies and concerns over anti-money laundering and know-your-customer compliance. The HKMA’s stance, in contrast to more crypto-skeptical regulators elsewhere, is seen as unusual but underscores the city’s desire to reclaim its status as a crypto center. HSBC, Standard Chartered, and Bank of China, as key players in Hong Kong’s financial landscape, are vital to the city’s ambitions. The HKMA’s efforts, coupled with the new licensing regime for crypto platforms, aim to facilitate the opening of banking services to the sector. Read more here.
What did you think of this newsletter? Reply to send me feedback on what you liked or want to see featured more. There’s more coming, so stay tuned.
All the best,