The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has received a forfeiture order for £2,000,000 regarding erstwhile Fintech QPay Europe Limited, a firm that at one point sought to be regulated by the FCA. The money was initially frozen in “urgent proceedings” initiated by the FCA in October and December 2020.
According to an email from the FCA, QPay Europe claimed to be a Fintech start-up offering due diligence and underwriting services. The FCA claimed that the money was the proceeds of illegal activity connected to criminal proceedings in the USA concerning an alleged conspiracy to commit wire fraud against banks, credit card companies, and other financial service providers. The FCA stated that it is not alleging that QPay is involved in this conspiracy.
The FCA’s became concerned following an application by QPay to become a regulated firm in March 2020. The FCA reports that QPay received money from software firm, Fintech International Q Software WLL, allegedly as an investment. However, the FCA said it observed QPay moving the money repeatedly to different bank accounts in several countries and none of the transactions appeared to be related to a legitimate business.
Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA, commented:
“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. The funds will now be used to assist the FCA and other authorities fight illegal activity. The FCA will continue to vet applications for authorisation to ensure firms meet our standards of integrity as well as competence.”
The £2,000,000 held by QPay will be paid to the UK government, following proceedings brought by the FCA under the Proceeds of Crime Act in the Westminster Magistrates’ Court.