Digital currencies such as bitcoin are likely to come under increased scrutiny from global regulators to ensure they comply with anti-money laundering processes, according to the South China Morning Post.
China has led the crackdown on crypto-currencies with the ban of initial coin offerings and forcing bitcoin exchanges operating on the mainland to close down. Other countries have followed suit with South Korea introducing a similar ban, while Japan has introduced licensing requirements for bitcoin exchanges. Europe is also considering tighter regulatory controls. Phil Cottar, managing director of risk and supply chain at Thomson Reuters, told the South China Morning Post that regulators have digital currencies in their sights :
“They will not be banned, but they will need to follow more rules and regulations,” he said.
He said digital currencies and other formats of digital payments are sure to up their game when it comes to innovation, bringing in greater consumer choice on how to make payments.
But without the necessary regulatory channels to counter those new risks, he added, some people may use the digital currencies to conduct financial crime or other money laundering activities.
North Korean hackers may have stolen sensitive military data, including details of a joint U.S.-South Korean plan to eliminate the Pyongyang leadership, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported :
Citing information from unnamed defense officials, Democratic Party Rep. Lee Cheol-hee said that the hackers broke into the Defense Integrated Data Center in September last year to steal the secret files, such as Operational Plans 5015 and 3100.
OPLAN 5015 is the latest Seoul-Washington scheme to handle an all-out war with Pyongyang, which reportedly contains detailed procedures to “decapitate” the North Korean leadership. OPLAN 3100 is Seoul’s plan to respond to the North’s localized provocations.
In the five years since the $1.7 billion accounting fraud was uncovered at medical equipment maker Olympus Corp, the number of improper accounting cases unearthed each year at Japanese companies has nearly doubled, according to Bloomberg. Kobe Steel is the latest Japanese company to be engulfed in a corporate scandal after Japan’s third-biggest steelmaker admitted to falsifying data on the strength and durability of aluminum and copper used in aircraft and cars. Bloomberg reports on how the latest scandal further undermines Japan’s once-revered reputation for quality manufacturing:
“These problems are coming to light pretty regularly,” said Keita Kubota, an investment manager at Aberdeen Investment Management K.K. in Tokyo. “It’s not fair to single out Japan, but investors need to be looking very carefully to make sure they’re putting their money into companies that take governance and compliance seriously.”
Since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took over in 2012, there’s been a concerted push to improve corporate governance, but the focus has been mainly on improving profitability, rather than policing bad behavior. Share buybacks and dividends have surged.
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