The scale of fraud using financial technology companies has likely increased during the coronavirus pandemic, Transparency International Lithuania (TI Lithuania) said on Thursday.
Study indicates increase in fraud via fintech firms during pandemic
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A study conducted by the anti-corruption organization has revealed that "supervisory institutions overseeing money laundering lack sufficient resources to prevent rapid and illegal profiting by fintech companies", it said in a press release.

"Money laundering goes hand in hand with grand corruption," said TI Lithuania CEO Sergejus Muravjovas. "Knowing Lithuania's ambitions in the sector of financial technology, both institutions responsible for money laundering prevention and fintech companies should make an extra effort."

"I would very much like the prevention of money laundering to become a priority for our political leaders," he added.

Experts who participated in the study point out that the greatest money-laundering risks involved in fintech companies' activities stem from what are their biggest advantages, such as speed and innovation.

"Companies with the highest risks are those working with cryptocurrencies due to the higher value of these currencies," according to the press release.

TI Lithuania notes a lack of publicly available information on fintech companies operating in the country.

"For example, less than one out of ten companies publish their financial statements, and some companies do not even have their own websites," it said.

There is also insufficient data to gauge the actual extent of money-laundering and risks in Lithuania's fintech sector.

There is a lack of cooperation between public and private sector bodies and between fintech companies, too.

In light of the main risks identified by the experts, TI Lithuania recommends, among other things, ensuring "continuous sharing of data between authorities responsible for money laundering prevention in the fintech sector and other entities in order to better understand the extent of money laundering, the risks associated with it, and to better manage them".

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