The Upper Tribunal has considered the FCA’s decision not to register Gidiplus Limited under the MLRs and the firm’s application for a suspension application to allow it to continue business pending an appeal. The firm, a crypto-asset exchange provider, which operates crypto ATMs, had registered under the temporary regime FCA had set up. When FCA came to consider the firm’s application, it was not satisfied about the firm’s AML systems and controls, particularly in respect of its risk assessments, CDD, EDD and transaction monitoring. It was also concerned that the individual who was the firm’s majority shareholder, director, and who was to have responsibility for AML compliance, had not demonstrated adequate skills and knowledge. It considered the AML/CTF policy proposed was “superficial” and did not analyse the risks of the business. FCA noted that the applicant did not know what “smurfing” meant, which, as a proposed MLRO, he would be expected to. Its interview with the individual had also raised questions about his probity, when it discovered that he had misled three banks as to the true nature of Gidiplus’ business, because he knew the banks would close or not accept the accounts if they knew what the business was.
The firm had first wishes to dispute the decision notice and then applied for suspension of it. However it put forward no evidence of how it would act compliantly. Further information on CDD and other processes was then submitted, which gave the impression of a more thorough process than had previously been described.
In order to grant the application, the Tribunal would need to have considered that allowing the firm to continue its activities would not prejudice those who the FCA decision was meant to protect. Overall, the Tribunal felt that all the submissions made to it missed the point of FCA’s original objections. Given that there was a lack of evidence as to how the firm would carry on business in a broadly compliant manner pending determination of the appeal, the Tribunal dismissed the application.