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  • Lo Furneaux

March Events Recap

7th - 8th March - Kosovo Training

We kicked off March with a Parliamentary Working Group to advise the government in Kosovo on changes to their proposed crypto legislation. Organised by the European Union (EU) and the Council of Europe (CoE) as part of their “Project against Economic Crime in Kosovo (PECK III), the group aims to ensure the new laws on crypto assets are aligned with international anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) standards.

Representatives from both the public and private sectors in Kosovo discussed the possibilities and challenges related to regulating digital assets in the region, with a particular focus given to the mechanisms, procedures and supervision involved throughout the process.

Our Chief Learning Officer, John Valkovci, was one of two designated CoE experts to be involved in the session:

“By actively participating in Kosovo’s Parliamentary Working Group on proposed cryptocurrency and digital assets legislation, Asset Reality is helping to pave the way for innovation and progress, and to ensure the development of a responsible regulatory framework designed to protect the interests of all stakeholders.”

13th - 14th March - Council of Europe Conference

The CoE also invited our co-founder & CEO Aidan Larkin to discuss sanctions implementation at their conference on ‘Preventing Abuse of Virtual Assets Service Providers for Evasion of EU Sanctions’ in Valletta, Malta.

The conference was organised by the CoE’s Economic Crime and Cooperation Division, in cooperation with the European Commission, Directorate General for Structural Reform Support (DG REFORM), together with the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and Trade of Malta. It brought together more than 80 international representatives responsible for supervising and regulating Virtual Assets Service Providers (VASPs) in the financial sector.

After several informative presentations by CoE experts, participants discussed the CoE’s latest research into using VASPs to evade international sanctions before being treated to additional insights on the current trends and common challenges being seen across the EU.

Aidan highlighted the need for an effective and efficient software solution to improve global asset recovery and management processes for digital assets. Despite a busy schedule, he was delighted to discuss the benefits that our new seized asset platform will provide:

“A busy few months sharing our experiences of dealing with crypto asset recovery from on-site assignments in Jamaica and Seychelles followed by presenting to members of the House of Commons Select Committee Team in London, remotely supporting projects in Kosovo and judicial training in Ukraine, rounded off by in-person events in Malta with the Council of Europe and member states.”

“It’s a huge source of pride for me personally that our team’s collective efforts in this space are recognised and we’re being asked for our input on these issues all around the world. It’s even more encouraging to see seized assets getting the attention it deserves as governments realise the virtuous cycle created by disrupting crime, compensating victims/society and reinvesting in law enforcement.”

“We’re proud to be playing our part at Asset Reality in training and providing software solutions for managing seized assets that will ultimately help improve the prospects for victims in Asset Recovery cases.”

21st March - OECD Tax Panel

Last year, the OECD approved the creation of the Crypto Asset Reporting Framework (CARF) aimed at standardizing tax reporting for digital assets like cryptocurrencies or non-fungible tokens (NFTs). CARF incorporates new developments and best practices in the global anti-money laundering standards of the Financial Action Task Force and makes amendments to strengthen reporting requirements as needed. Asset Reality was the only private sector company invited to speak to the OECD Task Force at their latest panel on tax crimes. Aidan was joined by our Chief Recovery Officer, Joanna Summers, to discuss the common challenges faced by practitioners when managing and realising digital assets that have been seized during a criminal investigation; and the opportunities that exist to overcome those challenges in the field.

Joanna was thrilled to present to such a receptive audience:

“Aidan and I were honoured to speak to OECD’s Task Force on Tax Crimes and Other Crimes as well as the Tax Debt Management and JITSIC Network on “Demystifying Asset Recovery of Crypto Assets”. We discussed the importance of pre-seizure planning, challenges in management and realization of cryptocurrency, and the pros and cons of various storage methods.”

“With over 300 participants from 38 countries, we received many thought-provoking questions regarding crypto asset recovery. It’s clear that OECD members are staying up to date on crypto industry changes and committed to fighting tax crimes and other financial crimes.”

23rd March - HACC Judge’s Training

Towards the end of the month, we were asked to lead a training course focused on the adjudication of money laundering and corruption for judges on the High Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine. The sessions were organised by the CoE and the National School of Judges in Ukraine as a part of the project on 'strengthening measures to counter money laundering and financing of terrorism in Ukraine.'

John used case studies from the European Court of Human Rights and international best practices alongside current Ukrainian legislation to help those in attendance update their knowledge and skills. He was delighted to facilitate these training sessions for the CoE:

“Asset Reality is honoured to have provided digital asset and cryptocurrency training to judges from Ukraine’s High Anti-Corruption Court on March 20. Our training empowers the judges with knowledge about the seizure and management of digital assets and is not just a step toward modernizing Ukraine’s legal system, but a key ingredient for success in the Court’s ability to deprive criminals of these types of assets, and address legal issues involving digital assets and cryptocurrency in a world increasingly driven by technology."

23rd March - Chainalysis Law Enforcement Workshop

Joanna was also asked by our partner Chainalysis to deliver a presentation on the management of seized crypto assets at their inaugural Chainalysis Law Enforcement Workshop in Chicago this month.

The workshop was designed to provide vital cryptocurrency training to members of local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies in Chicago who are actively fighting against crypto-related crime. The panel of world-leading experts in the prosecutorial, law enforcement, and national security community delivered presentations detailing the trends arising from crypto-related crimes in the Chicago area using case studies, best practices and new original research.

Joanna covered the basics of cryptocurrency crime and digital asset governance before highlighting the need for collaboration between the public and private sectors. She concluded by demonstrating the impact that our seized asset management platform could have to improve asset recovery and management processes in Chicago:

She was thrilled to be given the opportunity to highlight the aforementioned benefits:

“It was exciting to be a part of the Chainalysis Law Enforcement Workshop in Chicago on March 23rd to discuss all things crypto and share what we are building at Asset Reality with a variety of public sector attendees. It was impressive to hear about recent investigations from the Local to Federal levels by forensic accountants and case agents.”

“I always enjoy discussing cryptocurrency at training events. Being able to demo Asset Reality’s platform and show how we are helping to solve common challenges in crypto management and disposal was even better. I look forward to our continued partnership with Chainalysis and future regional crypto training events.”

27th March - The Fraud Conference

Some of the team were also invited back to London for The Fraud Conference hosted by the Fraud Advisory Panel, INSOL Europe and the R3 Association of Business Recovery Professionals at the Royal College of Physicians in Regents Park, London.

Attendees were treated to several sessions discussing the impact of financial crimes like eco-fraud, romance scams or the threat of fraudulent activity in virtual worlds such as the Metaverse; before the final session of the day took a look at trust with our Chief Operations Officer for the Public Sector, Thomas J. Abernathy,

He was joined by Arun Chauhan, a Partner at Tenet Compliance, and Dr Ian Peters MBE, the Director of the Institute of Business Ethics. They discussed the erosion of confidence and integrity in our institutions, our professions and our wider society and the steps that should be taken to restore this for future generations.

TJ was thrilled to be returning to London for this conference:

“I’m always grateful for the opportunity to examine these kinds of topics alongside other incredible experts in our field. It was an absolute pleasure to discuss the importance of trust and integrity with Arun and Ian in London and I’m looking forward to continuing our ongoing relationship with the Fraud Advisory Panel.”


26th - 28th March - Off-Site Team Planning

While many of our leadership team were in London at the same time, we took the rare opportunity to gather the department heads in person. They reflected on the incredible achievements of the past quarter and began planning for Q2 and the remainder of 2023.

Aidan was thankful for the opportunity to spend some time with the team in person:

“Spending a few days in London with some of the Asset Reality team, honestly, I’m still a bit bemused to be surrounded by so many incredibly talented people who’ve opted to join our mission. Truly the global leaders in their field, joined by incredible tech talent - I’m still pinching myself that this once an idea on how to improve asset recovery and seized assets, now becoming a reality.”

“But aside from being bemused (and grinning like an idiot), enthusiasm and gratitude are the overwhelming emotions as I get to work with this incredible bunch of people to improve asset recovery and help victims of crime. A shameless shout out to this incredible bunch and the wider Asset Reality family that couldn’t join us, that makes all of this possible.”

Our Chief Operations Officer, Connor Filley, echoed a similar sentiment:

“I’m grateful to be able to gather with our team spread across multiple countries. The time spent in person invigorates and creates a connection that allows for wonderful remote and asynchronous work. Q1 ‘23 is a wrap. Time for Q2 and taking things to the next level.”

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