UK’s FCA Suspends Epayments Service – Over £100M Frozen and Alleged Onecoin Connection

Epayments, one of many largest cost suppliers within the U.Okay., has halted operations after the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) suspended the corporate for “weaknesses” associated to its anti-money-laundering (AML) course of. Since Epayments shut down on February 11, clients have been complaining as a result of they can not entry their cash. Reports additionally element that if the agency turns into bancrupt, Epayments shoppers received’t be protected by any kind of FCA-regulated insurance coverage fund. Additionally, a non-executive director who resigned final week was as soon as the pinnacle of playing cards and funds at Locke Lord, a legislation agency that represented Onecoin’s ‘cryptoqueen’ Ruja Ignatova.

Also learn: New Regency Television Wins Screen Rights to Onecoin Story – The Missing Cryptoqueen

UK Firm Epayments Suspends Services – Over £100 Million in Client Funds Believed Inaccessible

Epayments was a extremely popular cost processor based mostly within the U.Okay. and estimates say the agency held £127.5 million of buyer funds. However, the corporate suspended operations as a result of an FCA mandate that mentioned the agency had “quite a few weaknesses” tethered to its AML system. The suspension has neutered Epayments’ means to facilitate funds and clients can not use their pay as you go playing cards or withdraw and switch funds.

UK's FCA Suspends Epayments Service - Over £100M Frozen and Alleged Onecoin Connection
On February 11, 2020, the U.Okay. cost supplier Epayments suspended companies and now clients can not entry their funds.

The FCA-regulated firm claimed it had over one million registered shoppers and dealt with greater than 1,00zero enterprise accounts as nicely. The Epayments web site shows a discover that explains why it suspended operations and notes that the FCA mentioned whereas they investigated Epayments AML system controls, they “recognized a weak spot that required remediation.” The Epayments discover additionally states:

We know this will likely be a really irritating time for our clients. We apologize for any inconvenience brought about and are working tirelessly to make sure enhancements are made and accounts will be reactivated as quickly as doable.

So far buyer accounts haven’t been reactivated and the topic is trending all through social media, boards, and Telegram assist channels. Customers are upset they can not entry their cash and nobody really is aware of how a lot is being held again by the FCA suspension. Financial information outlet FT claims to have spoken with a slew of sad Epayments clients who can not use their very own cash.

An grownup entertainer from Brazil mentioned she had $400 locked in her Epayments account and a person from Turkey advised the publication he has $54,00zero caught contained in the Epayments platform. FT highlights that quite a few on-line grownup entertainers leveraged Epayments companies and their earnings has been affected by the outage. Other information retailers, together with, have underlined the truth that the lion’s share of Epayments clients labored in both the grownup business or multi-level-marketing (MLM) affiliate schemes.

UK's FCA Suspends Epayments Service - Over £100M Frozen and Alleged Onecoin Connection
The U.Okay.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) mentioned whereas they investigated Epayments AML system controls they discovered “weaknesses.”

Is the Epayments Suspension Connected to the Onecoin Fallout?

In addition to the suspension, a non-executive director from Epayments, Robert Courtneidge, abruptly resigned on February 17. Courtneidge wouldn’t touch upon why he left the corporate however experiences present that he was formally employed by Locke Lord. The legislation agency is well-known for doing enterprise with Onecoin’s ‘cryptoqueen’ Ruja Ignatova and one other worker Mark Scott.

UK's FCA Suspends Epayments Service - Over £100M Frozen and Alleged Onecoin Connection
Former Locke Lord LLP lawyer Mark Scott is preventing fees towards him that declare he helped Onecoin associates launder $400 million within the British Virgin Islands. During Scott’s courtroom case prosecutors introduced up the identify Robert Courtneidge in keeping with Inner City Press reports.

The former Locke Lord lawyer Scott was indicted for cash laundering fees and accused of laundering $400 million for Onecoin leaders. Scott, a Florida resident, is preventing the case however he faces as much as 50 years in jail for the alleged crime. Just earlier than he begined working with Epayments, Courtneidge labored for Locke Lord and was the Global Head of Cards and Payments till 2018.

UK's FCA Suspends Epayments Service - Over £100M Frozen and Alleged Onecoin Connection
Former Locke Lord LLP Global Head of Cards and Payments Robert Courtneidge just lately resigned from Epayments. In the case towards Locke Lord lawyer Mark Scott, Robert Courtneidge’s identify is concerned in an e mail between Scott and the Onecoin ‘cryptoqueen’ Ruja Ignatova.

Reports element that at Locke Lord, Courtneidge was thought of a “crypto skilled” and he hasn’t been charged with any crimes related to Onecoin. However, FT and Inner City Press reveals that U.S. lawyer Christopher DiMase brought up Courtneidge’s identify fairly a bit throughout Scott’s trial. DiMase advised the courtroom that emails between Courtneidge, Scott, and Ruja Ignatova present that he “understood that Onecoin, successfully, was a fraud scheme.” One particular e mail shared by Inner City Press was despatched to Courtneidge and Scott’s e mail displaying the cryptoqueen asking them to retailer £220Okay in London for her. Ignatova additionally disappeared shortly after and she’s been lacking for nicely over a 12 months. FT requested Courtneidge concerning the emails and his spokeswoman mentioned:

Mr. Scott was counting on a typically out there paper Mr. Courtneidge had written on cryptocurrency regulation world wide that was out there on the Locke Lord Website and not on any conversations had through e mail with Mr. Courtneidge.

UK's FCA Suspends Epayments Service - Over £100M Frozen and Alleged Onecoin Connection
The e mail to Mark Scott and Robert Courtneidge from Onecoin chief Ruja Ignatova. Soon after this e mail, Ignatova disappeared and nobody has heard from her since.

FT said that Courtneidge’s spokeswoman wouldn’t touch upon his resignation or any material pertaining to Onecoin. No one is aware of when the Epayments service will start working once more or if Courtneidge’s resignation has something to do with the AML weaknesses. Despite all of the hypothesis regarding the Onecoin drama, a large number of individuals can not entry funds held on the Epayments platform and over £100 million in shopper funds could be held hostage. The story highlights the truth that centralized cost suppliers are sketchy and will be extraordinarily dangerous. The story additionally shines a light-weight on why permissionless money held in a noncustodial fashion is the way forward for cash.

What do you consider Epayments suspending companies and the current resignation of Robert Courtneidge? Do you suppose the Epayments suspension and the Onecoin investigation are linked? Let us know what you consider this thriller within the feedback part under.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational functions solely. It just isn’t a suggestion or solicitation of a suggestion to purchase or promote, or a advice, endorsement, or sponsorship of any merchandise, companies, or firms. doesn’t present funding, tax, authorized, or accounting recommendation. Neither the corporate nor the writer is accountable, immediately or not directly, for any injury or loss brought about or alleged to be attributable to or in reference to using or reliance on any content material, items or companies talked about on this article.

Image credit: Shutterstock, Wiki Commons, Inner City Press, Fair Use, Twitter, Wiki Commons, and Pixabay.

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