German police this morning raided Deutsche Bank offices in Frankfurt as part of an investigation into money laundering. "The trigger for the investigation were documents published last year as part of the so-called Panama Papers and 'offshore leaks' disclosures, where millions of records detailing the use of tax havens to shield wealth were passed to an international consortium of journalists." While the myth of the lone brave investigative journalist continues to live, the reality is that journalist is now a business also about data and data science — and also a business that depends in part on whistleblowers. The work of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in piecing together offshore accounts and corridors in tax havens are now bearing fruit, with Deutsche Bank back in the news yet again. As we've consistently noted, Deutsche Bank's problems run deep, far beyond anything that Christian Sewing or his erstwhile boss John Cryan could fix. The bank's share price has dropped over 50 percent so far in 2018. Deutsche Bank was recently named as one of the correspondent banks dealing with Dankse's now-infamous Estonian branch, though this incident is reported as being linked to the Virgin Islands. Last year, the bank agreed to pay $630 million to settle with US authorities over alleged laundering of assets of Russian clients to the value of $10 billion.
Revolut has plans to offer its services in the Asia Pacific region, announcing yesterday that it applied for and received a money remitter licence in Singapore. The London-based fintech says it is also working with Singapore authorities to shape the forthcoming Payment Services Bill, given its experience in London — suggesting that open banking is going to be a global experiment. The bank also said it has received a full banking licence in Japan, and has already entered partnerships with Rakuten, Sompo Japan Insurance and Toppan. Japan also offers an advanced digital asset ecosystem, which will be a good fit for Revolut's offerings. The Times of London reported recently that Revolut was in talks with Softbank that may result in a new funding round to raise $500 million — and Revolut's new licence in Japan may give credence to that report.
Skype co-founder Geoffrey Prentice has raised $105 million in the first big funding round for his latest venture, which is a microlending business in Southeast Asia, intensifying the battle for the region's vast unbanked population." Like his other co-founders — most famously Taavet Hinrikus who founded Transferwise — Prentice subsequently moved into the fintech arena. His new business is called Oriente, and is based in Hong Kong. "Oriente was started in 2017 by Geoff Prentice, a Skype co-founder and ex-Chief Strategy Officer, Hubert Tai, a founder of Ping An's Lufax and Chinese unicorn dangdang.com, and investor Lawrence Chu," says TechCrunch. "The trio came together when Prentice moved on to Atomico -- the VC firm started by Skype's founders after they sold to eBay -- and Chu, then with investment firm BlackPine, invited him to invest in Lufax where he bumped into Tai."
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