SFC fines iSTAR International Futures HK$3m for breaching anti-money laundering requirements

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 April, 2017, 8:35pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 April, 2017, 8:35pm

Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission has fined iSTAR International Futures, now known as Rifa Futures, HK$3 million over failures to comply with anti-money laundering requirements.

An investigation by the commission found that between January and July 2014 Rifa did not take sufficient steps to prevent money laundering when handling third party deposits. It failed to verify the identity of third parties before the transactions.

The regulator also found that the broker had failed to provide adequate anti-money laundering training to its staff and did not have an effective compliance function in place.

“The SFC considers that Rifa’s conduct was in breach of its obligation to take all reasonable measures to ensure that proper safeguards exist to guard against the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing associated with third party fund transfers,” the commission said in a statement.

The SFC further found that Rifa breached the Securities and Futures (Client Money) Rules on one occasion by effecting a payment from a client’s account to the account of one of its officers, which is banned by the law.

In deciding the appropriate penalty, the SFC took into account that Rifa employed the services of an independent firm to review its internal controls system.