According to the Financial Times Revolut has uncovered suspected money laundering on its digital payment system. As a result they have reported the concerned activity to the UK law enforcement (National Crime Agency) and financial watchdog (Financial Conduct Authority) authorities.
As per the article, the rapid growth of the company and its use of automated compliance checks which enables customers to open an account in seconds could leave it vulnerable to money laundering abuse. There is also mention of a “expand at all costs” corporate culture that could have contributed to the problem. Revolut are applying for a banking licence in Lithuania, shunning the UK due to Brexit fears.
Automated compliance checks are the future, with artificial intelligence complementing and thus improving the integrity of the process. However, this case demonstrates that one should not reply solely on this method, or at least not until it has been developed further to make it more fool proof. Until then, to have competent and experienced compliance experts oversee and support the process is essential.
Hong Kong is preparing for the launch of digital banks and should take note of this case. With the current aggressive growth culture and relatively lax anti-money laundering laws, regulations, and enforcement, this could lead to disaster if not handled properly.