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Cryptocurrency fraud case at Seychelles' Nouvobanq: Two new suspects in police detention

Victoria, Seychelles | May 22, 2023, Monday @ 15:37 in National » GENERAL | By: Rita Joubert-Lawen Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 4456
Cryptocurrency fraud case at Seychelles' Nouvobanq: Two new suspects in police detention

Magistrates' Court. (Seychelles Nation)

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(Seychelles News Agency) - Two additional suspects in the fraud case involving cryptocurrency at Nouvobanq remain in police detention granted by the Magistrates' Court on Monday.

The two suspects joined 12 others who were arrested and appeared in court last week.

The court has granted the police permission to detain the two suspects until May 30 while they continue their investigation.

The Magistrates' Court said it had granted the police's request since it believes a prima facie case has been made against the two suspects.

Mid last week, Nouvobanq said in a press communique that an investigation is ongoing by Seychelles' authorities into what appears to be a fraudulent case. The case involved cryptocurrency between several parties based internationally and locally, in which Nouvobanq was the targeted bank.

Nouvobanq said that 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 had 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.

Nouvobanq is one of several commercial banks in Seychelles, founded in 1991, in a joint venture between the Seychelles government and Standard Chartered Bank.

As such it falls under the regulatory purview of the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS).

CBS told SNA that "the particular incident reported by Nouvobanq relates to cryptocurrency, which is not treated as a currency and is therefore not legal tender in Seychelles. Albeit not a means of payment currently offered by financial institutions licensed or regulated by CBS under the Financial Institutions Act or the National Payment Systems Act, CBS and other relevant authorities are cognisant of its increasing popularity globally and rising interest locally."

It added that given this reality and mindful of the associated impacts and risks, a National Risk Assessment (NRA) has been conducted, which has identified cryptocurrency or virtual currency/asset activities as an important risk to the domestic financial system.

"The regulatory and law enforcement authorities are currently working to address the identified gaps and put in place a robust regulatory framework to help mitigate the country's exposure to the potential risks that can arise from such activities, which include money laundering and terrorism financing risks," said CBS. 

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