8.2.18 Your morning briefing

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The information you need to start your day, from PaymentsSource and around the Web:

'Very, very illegal'
Ahmad "Andy" Khawaja has reportedly profited from routing "dubious" businesses by credit card and banking rules via his company, Allied Wallet. He then used some of the profits to make millions of dollars in political donations to Hillary Clinton before switching to Donald Trump, reports the Associated Press, which attributed its reporting to "thousands" of internal company documents.

Allied Wallet's clients reportedly included offshore gambling operations that masked their businesses behind other websites, another business that threatened to imprison people if they didn't pay back loans they never took out, and a fetish phone sex business. Allied's executives often used dummy companies to hide these businesses, including in cases where Allied's staff found these business' activities to be "very, very illegal," according to the AP.

Khawaja initially donated to $4 million to Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, during the 2016 election cycle, according to the AP; then donated to Republicans after the election, including a $1 million donation to Trump's inauguration committee.
Does Paytm have an AML problem?
The Reserve Bank of India has asked Paytm Bank to stop onboarding new customers after making "observations" about Paytm's customer acquisition and Know Your Customer adherence, reports Business Today in India.

Paytm's reported ban follows a similar ban against Airtel Payments Bank, which ended about a month ago.

The reserve bank is reportedly concerned about Paytm's data storage security. Paytm is often the subject of political disputes in India, most recently concerning possible data storage deregulation.

$1 billion fare
Asian ride hailing app Grab has drawn a fresh $1 billion investment from a group of mostly U.S.-based investors, reports Reuters, citing unnamed sources.

Grab will reportedly use the funds to expand its myriad initiatives that it's adding to Grab's core car service app. Grab recently launched a sandbox for developers in food, travel and payments and debuted Grab Financial to directly offer financial services to consumers.

The new investment follows another $1 billion infusion from Toyota in June and a deal to take over Uber's Southeast Asian business early this year.

Google Pay picks up turf
Fresh off news of Apple Pay's expansion, Google Pay is also gaining ground. Google Pay is now available in Croatia, the app's third central European country, following the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The additions follow several strategic moves Google made this year to consolidate its mobile services, such as ticketing and P2P features, to stay competitive with Apple Pay, Zelle and Venmo.

FX marketing crackdown
The U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority is tightening marketing restrictions for fintech payment services that include currency conversions as part of their services.

Finextra reports the regulator is concerned that the companies are offering unrealistic exchange rates that mislead users.

The new exchange disclosure rules will fall under general regulations for payment services and electronic money transfer companies.

From the Web

Kroger may expand Visa credit-card ban to more stores
USA Today | Wed August 1, 2018 - Supermarket chain Kroger is considering expanding a ban on Visa credit cards, which it will soon stop accepting at Foods Co. stores in California. Foods Co., part of Kroger's California-based Food 4 Less Stores subsidiary, says 21 supermarkets and five gas stations in central and northern California no longer will accept Visa credit cards starting Aug. 14.

Blockchain, once seen as a corporate cure-all, suffers a slowdown
Los Angeles Times | Wed August 1, 2018 - Corporate America’s love affair with all things blockchain may be cooling. A number of software projects based on the distributed ledger technology will be wound down this year, according to Forrester Research Inc.

What can we learn from the Dixons data breach that blew up after disclosure
TechCrunch | Wed August 1, 2018 - European consumer electronics retailer Dixons Carphone’s apologetic admission yesterday that a 2017 data breach was in fact considerably worse than it first reported suggests disclosures of major breaches could get a bit more messy — at least under the early reign of the region’s tough new data protection framework, GDPR — as organizations scramble to comply with requirements to communicate serious breaches “without undue delay”.

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