FCA seizes £2m from QPay over links to $150m US payment fraud case
The UK’s financial watchdog has seized millions of pounds from QPay believed to be the proceeds of illegal activity.
The Financial Conduct Authority claims the money is connected to criminal proceedings in the US concerning an alleged conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud in a $150m payments processing scheme.
QPay was ordered to pay £2m under the Proceeds of Crime Act in the Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
“Account forfeiture orders are an important means of intervening and capturing illegal money and this action is a good example of what can be done,” said Mark Steward, the executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA.
“The funds will now be used to assist the FCA and other authorities fight illegal activity,” he added.
The funds are allegedly linked to a case in the US which saw the executives of Allied Pay, a payment processing company headquartered in Los Angeles, secure payment processing for high-risk businesses through fraudulent misrepresentations of clients.
The defendants and their co-conspirators are accused of fraudulently obtaining more than $150m in payment card processing through more than 100 sham merchants.
While QPay Europe, which claims to be a fintech offering due diligence and underwriting services, is not accused of participating in the conspiracy the firm had millions of pounds frozen in urgent proceedings brought by the FCA in 2020.
The regulator’s suspicions were raised after QPay applied to be regulated by the FCA. Officers discovered QPay had received money from a software firm which was repeatedly moved between different bank accounts in several countries. None of the transactions appeared to be related to a legitimate business, the FCA said.
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