CFTC files complaint against couple for multi-million dollar commodity pool scheme
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has filed a complaint in a US District Court against Michael and Amanda Griffis. The couple is accused of defrauding individuals across the US in connection with a multi-million dollar commodity pool scheme they operated between July 2022 and January 2023.
As per the allegations, the defendants, who own a real estate company, convinced colleagues and customers to pool their funds for trading digital asset commodity futures contracts. Despite having no trading experience, they persuaded more than 100 people to invest in excess of $6 million in their commodity pool named “Blessings of God Thru Crypto.”
The defendants promised investors a safe investment with high profits through digital asset futures contracts. They claimed to trade on the “Apex Trading Platform” with guidance from someone named “Coach Wendy.” However, they misappropriated the funds, transferring a significant portion to untraceable digital wallets and using some for personal expenses.
The CFTC seeks restitution for defrauded participants, civil penalties, permanent trading and registration bans, and a permanent injunction against further violations.
ESMA to withdraw recognition decisions of three UAE CCPs under EMIR
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s financial markets regulator and supervisor, has withdrawn, as required by European Market Infrastructure Regulation, the recognition decisions of the following three central counterparties (“CCPs”) established in the United Arab Emirates (including the Dubai International Financial Center):
- Dubai Commodities Clearing Corporation;
- Dubai Clear LLC;
- Nasdaq Dubai Ltd.
This withdrawal follows the addition of the United Arab Emirates, by the European Commission, to the list of high-risk third countries presenting strategic deficiencies in their national anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (“AML/CFT”) regime, on 16 March 2023.
In order to minimize potential market disruption, ESMA has provided for an adaptation period of three months. The withdrawal of recognition decisions will therefore enter into effect on 25 October 2023. From that date, the three CCPs concerned will no longer be permitted to provide clearing services to clearing members or trading venues established in the EU.
CMA acts against UK banks
The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) has written to three UK banks, Nationwide, TSB and HSBC identifying ‘significant failure’ with each in failing to comply with Part 5 of the Retail Banking Market Investigation Order 2017 (the Order). Part 5 of the order requires banks and building societies to send Payment Transaction Histories to any personal current account (PCA) customer or to any business current account (BCA) customer with a turnover of less than £6.5 million who closes their PCA or BCA (unless an exception applies).
- HSBC failed to send an estimated 12,200 Payment Transaction Histories to former BCA holders between February 2018, when Part 5 of the Order came into effect, and November 2022
- TSB failed to send 105,607 Payment Transaction Histories to former BCA and PCA customers between April 2022 and 20 March 2023.
- Nationwide failed to provide an estimated 51,185 Payment Transaction Histories to former PCA holders between 2 February 2018 to 17 May 2023.
Noting that each breach is a failure of management oversight and regulatory obligations, the letters also note that in each case the bank concerned has already taken action to end future breaches and hence the CMA is not taking further action other than the public letters.
A selected summary of key developments for regulated financial institutions
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