The Central Bank recommended measures for banks to combat the “restaurant money laundering scheme”

The Bank of Russia has developed recommendations for acquiring banks and payment aggregators to strengthen control over stores and restaurants for compliance with their real and declared activities. About it writes RBC with reference to the published document and the representative of the Central Bank.

Recommendations to banks are aimed at combating the “restaurant cash-out scheme” and minimizing risks in the field of terrorist financing. A representative of the regulator explained that the Central Bank has identified vulnerabilities in acquiring operations that allow the service to be used by “unscrupulous market participants.”

We are talking about two vulnerabilities, he clarified. In particular, a number of cafes and restaurants use acquiring services incorrectly. Companies registered cashless payment terminals and cash register equipment to third parties and used them to accept payments from customers. As a result, funds were transferred to the accounts of travel companies, large car dealerships, or to the accounts of citizens, and then the catering industry bought cash trading proceeds from them.

The second vulnerability is associated with participants in the shadow gambling business who operate under the guise of organizations providing legal services for crediting and debiting funds from citizens’ payment cards. A representative of the Central Bank noted that the document contains recommendations for banks on how to “refine their control systems in order to quickly identify such transactions.”

In particular, the regulator advises banks to assign MCC codes (merchant category codes, indicating the category of goods or services) to stores and service enterprises and ensure that the code corresponds to the declared activities of the company. To do this, acquiring banks need to periodically check stores and restaurants. In particular, they should pay attention to the number of payments per hour, day or month, their distribution throughout the day, transaction amounts, etc.

Banks are also recommended to indicate company data in payment messages, including tax identification number, POS terminal ID, etc. In case of suspicion of money laundering, banks should conduct an in-depth check of the client’s documents and increase attention to transactions. Termination of the contract is also permitted.

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