Seychelles' authorities investigate cryptocurrency fraud case at Nouvobanq
Nouvobanq is one of the commercial banks in Seychelles, founded in 1991. (Seychelles Nation)
An investigation is ongoing by Seychelles' authorities into what appears to be a fraudulent case involving cryptocurrency between several parties based internationally and locally, in which Nouvobanq, was the targeted bank.
According to a press communique on Wednesday from Nouvobanq, the ongoing investigation is being conducted by the bank, the Financial Crime Investigation unit within the Seychelles Police Force and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).
The bank said it has been able to detect those transactions and alerted the relevant authorities.
"Nouvobanq would like to reassure all its esteemed customers that no customer account was directly affected at any time, therefore no money has been deducted from any customer's account as part of the scam. Contrary to some reports being circulated on social media, the bank categorically denounces the involvement of its staff in this.
Nouvobanq is one of the commercial banks in Seychelles, founded in 1991, in a joint venture between the Seychelles Government and Standard Chartered Bank.
The bank has reiterated its commitment to delivering a good service to its customers and continues to adhere to governance structures which include the detection and prevention of fraudulent activities.
"In light of this recent fraud event, and noting that there is an absolute need for extra precautions, the bank has put in place additional necessary measures and controls to avoid a recurrence of a similar situation," it added.
Meanwhile, work in Seychelles has started to develop a national policy on virtual assets and cryptocurrency.
Finance minister Naadir Hassan told members of the National Assembly last month that "this follows a report on a national risk assessment done by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), which shows that complaints about activities using cryptocurrency are increasing in Seychelles."
Hassan revealed that in 2018, there were 28 complaints registered among which five were on activities using cryptocurrency. In 2019, among 27 complaints, nine were related to cryptocurrency. For 2020, 12 cases were recorded with eight for cryptocurrency and in 2021, 27 cases were recorded with 23 for cryptocurrency.
He said that since there is no framework, there is no legal protection for investors or the people using these products.