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QFCRA Enforcement action against HCW Individual

The company was accused of conducting “an asset management business” without the regulatory body’s approval.

The Qatar Financial Centre’s Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) has taken “disciplinary action” against an individual linked to Horizon Crescent Wealth (HCW) for providing it with “misleading information”, the Qatari entity announced on Tuesday.

In its statement, the regulatory authority named Luis Laplana as part of a 2019 investigation into HCW for “serious legal and regulatory breaches.”

Laplana, an investment manager for two HCW clients, is now facing a QAR 546,182 (USD 150,000) fine in addition to “an indefinite prohibition from carrying out any function” for QFC’s firms.

Qatari financial firm banned from conducting new business

“The financial penalty and prohibition imposed on Mr Laplana followed the completion of an investigation, which found that Mr Laplana[…] knowingly and recklessly provided the Regulatory Authority with false, misleading or deceptive information or concealed information,” the statement read.

The regulatory body added action taken against Laplana “will serve as a strong deterrence to other individuals who are required to provide evidence in investigations by ensuring that the information they provide is not misleading”.

QFCRA had fined HCW QAR 30,000,000 for serious legal and regulatory breaches of the Anti Money Laundering and Combating Terrorist Financing Rules 2010 (AML/CFTR). 

An investigation had found that HCW conducted “an asset management business” without the QFRCA’s approval.

Another finding pointed to the company’s “deliberate steps to mislead the QFCRA regarding its activities”.

“While trust administration does not require authorisation from the QFCRA, HCW was nevertheless required to comply with the AML/CFTR,” QFCRA said in a statement in 2020.

To date, HCW’s accounts and those related to its customers remain frozen pending the investigation.

“The action taken emphasises the importance that the QFC and the State of Qatar places on protecting the financial system from illicit finance,” Michael Ryan, QFCRA’s CEO, said at the time.

The Qatari regulatory authority was established in 2005 to provide a broad range of regulatory powers including authorising, supervising and disciplining firms and individuals.

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