CySEC-Regulated TCR in €220 Million Money Laundering Storm

by Damian Chmiel
  • The Cypriot firm TCR faces a French probe for suspicious transactions, according to Le Monde.
  • Also, local authorities are investigating TCR International's potential money laundering links.
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A Cypriot financial firm offering wealth management services has landed in hot water after suspicious transactions worth hundreds of millions. TCR International Limited, an investment advisory shop registered in Cyprus and licensed by local CySEC, now faces a French anti-money laundering probe. Investigators allege the company channeled over €220 million of dubious funds from 2019 to 2021.

Cypriot Investment Firm Caught Up in Money Laundering Investigation

The probe, led by French anti-organized crime authorities, centers around hundreds of millions of euros in "suspicious" transactions that flowed through TCR International's accounts at BNP Paribas Securities Services in France a few years ago.

Investigators are examining whether the funds, which allegedly total over €220 million, were of illicit origin or had no economic rationale. The identity of TCR International's clients is also under scrutiny.

TCR International provides investment advisory and asset management services globally to companies and high-net-worth individuals. The company is registered in Cyprus and holds a "Cypriot Investment Firm" (CIF) license, the same type used by FX/CFD brokers.

The CIF license was granted almost 10 years ago. Source: CySEC
The CIF license was granted almost 10 years ago. Source: CySEC

Finance Magnates sent a request for comment to TCR regarding the alleged accusations against the company. At the time of publishing this article, we have not received a response yet.

Alleged Links to Sanctioned Russian Bank

According to the French news outlet Le Monde, leaked records show links between TCR International's clients and a Russian banker hit with EU and US sanctions over the war in Ukraine. The clients include Russian founders of financial apps and possible shell companies.

French authorities opened their probe after receiving intelligence from US investigators examining financial networks tied to the Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary organization.

The US Department of Justice sent French officials a formal request for legal assistance regarding TCR International's transactions through BNP Paribas. However, no evidence directly connecting TCR International to Wagner or its late leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has emerged so far.

Compliance Obligations in Focus

The investigation aims to determine whether TCR International and BNP Paribas fulfilled due diligence duties under anti-money laundering regulations.

Commenting for Le Monde, TCR International claimed it rigorously vetted clients and denied any ties to illicit finance. Nonetheless, BNP Paribas terminated its custody services contract with the firm in January 2022.

The probe highlights the compliance challenges banks face when handling funds from shell companies. Robust "know your customer" checks are essential to uncovering suspicious transactions.

With TCR International asserting its innocence and BNP Paribas staying silent, the outcome of the French investigation remains uncertain. Authorities face an uphill battle tracing the origin of layered financial flows and piercing corporate veils.

A Cypriot financial firm offering wealth management services has landed in hot water after suspicious transactions worth hundreds of millions. TCR International Limited, an investment advisory shop registered in Cyprus and licensed by local CySEC, now faces a French anti-money laundering probe. Investigators allege the company channeled over €220 million of dubious funds from 2019 to 2021.

Cypriot Investment Firm Caught Up in Money Laundering Investigation

The probe, led by French anti-organized crime authorities, centers around hundreds of millions of euros in "suspicious" transactions that flowed through TCR International's accounts at BNP Paribas Securities Services in France a few years ago.

Investigators are examining whether the funds, which allegedly total over €220 million, were of illicit origin or had no economic rationale. The identity of TCR International's clients is also under scrutiny.

TCR International provides investment advisory and asset management services globally to companies and high-net-worth individuals. The company is registered in Cyprus and holds a "Cypriot Investment Firm" (CIF) license, the same type used by FX/CFD brokers.

The CIF license was granted almost 10 years ago. Source: CySEC
The CIF license was granted almost 10 years ago. Source: CySEC

Finance Magnates sent a request for comment to TCR regarding the alleged accusations against the company. At the time of publishing this article, we have not received a response yet.

Alleged Links to Sanctioned Russian Bank

According to the French news outlet Le Monde, leaked records show links between TCR International's clients and a Russian banker hit with EU and US sanctions over the war in Ukraine. The clients include Russian founders of financial apps and possible shell companies.

French authorities opened their probe after receiving intelligence from US investigators examining financial networks tied to the Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary organization.

The US Department of Justice sent French officials a formal request for legal assistance regarding TCR International's transactions through BNP Paribas. However, no evidence directly connecting TCR International to Wagner or its late leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has emerged so far.

Compliance Obligations in Focus

The investigation aims to determine whether TCR International and BNP Paribas fulfilled due diligence duties under anti-money laundering regulations.

Commenting for Le Monde, TCR International claimed it rigorously vetted clients and denied any ties to illicit finance. Nonetheless, BNP Paribas terminated its custody services contract with the firm in January 2022.

The probe highlights the compliance challenges banks face when handling funds from shell companies. Robust "know your customer" checks are essential to uncovering suspicious transactions.

With TCR International asserting its innocence and BNP Paribas staying silent, the outcome of the French investigation remains uncertain. Authorities face an uphill battle tracing the origin of layered financial flows and piercing corporate veils.

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