Commendably, South Africa’s new Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill proposes that we take a bold step ahead of contemporary laws across Africa and beyond. Pertinently, clause 19(1) of the Bill proscribes the novel concept of cyberlaundering.
Cyberlaundering is the use of a computer to perform or assist an unlawful financial transaction or a relationship involving property or benefit, whether tangible or intangible, which is derived from criminal activity. Simply put, cyberlaundering is money laundering in cyberspace. The concept has been evasive and has defied regulatory grasp. Cyberlaundering has been problematic because the breadth of the current international anti-money laundering regime does not cater for it. The problem is compounded by the fact that the constituent acts of cyberlaundering continue to evolve and shape-shift as technology advances.
The implications of the cyberlaundering provisions in the Bill are far-reaching, particularly as it relates to the financial services industry. The industry would be concerned for the same reasons it is currently concerned about anti-money laundering laws. Alas this is but one of several implications. Considering the borderless nature of the internet and the increasing flow of financial transactions across multiple jurisdictions, the impact of this provision in the Bill will also transcend into the international sphere, where international anti-money laundering laws as well as international law all apply against the backdrop of other principles in cyber forensics and informatics.