London-based FinTech ePayments has announced it is winding up the business, after three years of regulatory scrutiny over anti-financial-crime failings.
At its height, ePayments customers placed almost £180 million ($211 million) in funds with the company.
However, problems were spotted in 2019, just a year after the start-up began trading, with regulators stepping in a year later.
A statement on the company’s website says, “ePayments has begun the process of closing its doors and entered [sic] into an orderly, solvent wind-down.”
For the past three years, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has placed severe restrictions on the company after identifying weaknesses in its anti-financial-crime controls.
ePayments admits it has now thrown in the towel, but appears to blame the UK’s worsening economic outlook, rather than its own failings.
“We have over this period been working hard to ensure [anti-crime measures] are up to the required standard,” the announcement continues. “But in these extremely challenging and unprecedented global economic conditions, and with the business being restricted for such an extended period, we can no longer sustain the business to build back to what the FCA require and a ‘business as usual’ state.”
Instead, the company will “focus entirely” on providing customers with refunds and “working through the process” of closing their accounts as the business shuts down.
It is also urging them to withdraw any money still held in its wallets.
“Your funds with us remain in safeguarded accounts,” says ePayments, adding that the FCA “is aware of our decision and this communication”.
In the wake of the Ukraine invasion, sanctions against Russia, and fears over organised criminals using the UK to launder illicit cash, some parts of the money transfer and payments industry have come under much greater scrutiny.
According to Bloomberg, ePayments’ shares are held by a holding company in the Channel Islands. Also according to Bloomberg, the company has a subsidiary in Moscow, and “the vast bulk of its revenue has come from outside the UK”.