EMEA Daily: Meta Faces Fines; CloudPay, Visa partner


In major news from Europe, the Middle East and Africa today, South Africa’s competition regulator is seeking to sue Facebook for abusing its dominance in the social media industry, and the National UK Crime Agency has called for more cryptocurrency rules.

Additionally, UK-based platform Playter raised $1.7 million in seed funding, global payments provider CloudPay partnered with Visa to cut payroll payment cycles to seconds, and the Estonian unit of Swedbank AB is suspected in a money laundering investigation.

Meta faces fines for allegedly breaching anti-competition rules in South Africa

South Africa’s competition regulator is seeking to sue Meta Platforms, formerly Facebook, and its subsidiaries, WhatsApp Inc. and Facebook South Africa, for abusing its dominant position in the social media industry.

The Competition Commission has referred the complaint to the Competition Tribunal for action, the agency said. If Meta is found to have breached the country’s anti-competitive rules, the social media giant would be fined 10% of the company’s revenue made in the republic and its exports for the previous year.

UK Crime Agency calls for tougher crypto regulations

The UK’s National Crime Agency has called for more regulation of cryptocurrency protocols that allow digital asset traders to mask their transactions.

The regulations would apply to decentralized “mixers” like Wasabi Wallet and Tornado Cash, which use smart contracts to obfuscate the visible chain of transactions between a sender and receiver. While crypto proponents say these tools offer more privacy, regulators say they could be used to aid criminal activity or to help governments avoid penalties.

BNPL B2B platform player raises $1.7 million

Playter, a UK platform that offers buy now, pay later (BNPL) billing to startups, has raised $1.7m in seed funding.

The London-based company announced the funding on its blog on Tuesday (March 15), saying it would use the money to support its growth over the coming months. Playter says its size and revenue has grown more than 1,000% in the past few months.

CloudPay, Visa partner for faster payroll cycles

Global payment provider CloudPay has partnered with Visa to reduce payroll payment cycles from two to three days to mere seconds, according to a joint press release issued Tuesday.

The digital payment approach makes payroll payments to employee debit or credit cards through Visa’s real-time push payment platform, Visa Direct. Transactions are made via Visa Direct to any 16-digit debit or credit card number, for employees who choose this option rather than receiving the money in their bank account.

Swedbank in other money laundering legal issues

The Estonian unit of Swedbank AB is suspected in a money laundering investigation, after a special white-collar crime investigator from the Central Criminal Police of Estonia informed the bank that Swedbank AS had been summoned.

Estonian investigators question whether the bank has been involved in money laundering and other criminal offences, noting that the bank said it is “cooperating with authorities” and sharing all information.

Banks fear Russia will target SWIFT system

Financial leaders are voicing fears of Russian cyberattacks on SWIFT after several of the country’s biggest banks were pulled from the payments messaging system.

Several senior executives overseeing cybersecurity at major banks say threats to SWIFT, which enables thousands of banks to send trillions of international payments each day, will increase if more Russian lenders are shut out of the system.

Strong 2021 earnings bring Volkswagen’s Porsche closer to IPO

An increase in group operating profits for Volkswagen AG is likely to be the catalyst for a fourth-quarter initial public offering (IPO) for its profitable Porsche high-performance sports car division.

Volkswagen posted group operating profit for 2021 of 19.28 billion euros ($21 billion), up from 9.68 billion euros the previous year, with Porsche contributing 5.01 billion to the profit. euros and Audi adding 5.55 billion euros.

Cyber ​​insurance predicts price hikes as cyber warfare fuels wave of fraud

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is reigniting concerns about the spillover effects of cyber warfare in this conflict, which is hitting global computer networks in an already poor cybersecurity environment.

Before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, cybersecurity was already a top concern as a wave of pandemic-era cybercrime continues to plague the financial services sector. The resulting chaos has companies searching for security solutions while worrying about rising cyber insurance premiums.

German court approves Ernst & Young class action lawsuit

A German court has opened a class-action lawsuit against accounting firm Ernest & Young LLP (EY) to hear the cases of investors in defunct payments company Wirecard AG.

Investors allege that EY failed in its duties during the audit of Wirecard, now bankrupt. The payments company collapsed in 2020 amid a scandal involving $2.1 billion in funds that probably never existed. This led to a series of investigations into what was one of the biggest corporate scandals in German history.

Lloyds will split its three units into five

Lloyds Banking Group will split its three units into five as part of a restructuring plan, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The report says CEO Charlie Nunn plans to reconfigure the UK bank’s management team, while investing $5.2 billion over the next five years in hopes of digitizing Lloyds and boosting revenue by commissions in sectors such as wealth management.

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