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FCA investigating three more banks over money laundering

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Three more banks are being investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) over money laundering, it has revealed.

The regulator said it had recently fined a number of firms – in April, EFG Private Bank was fined £4.2m – and one person for failing to manage money laundering risk adequately.

The FCA said: “We continue to see serious weaknesses in firms’ management of their money laundering risks, including in their dealings with high-risk customers and politically exposed persons.”

The watchdog said it was working on ‘preemptive problem solving’ on money-laundering.

“We concentrate on identifying current and emerging financial crime risks, and on ensuring that an awareness of their implications and how to mitigate them is embedded in firms.

“This means the FCA will intervene early – for example by restricting a firm’s business until weaknesses in AML controls are corrected. In the past year, we have intervened in this way with four banks. This does not preclude us from taking formal enforcement action later,” it warned.

The FCA made the comments alongside the launch of its first annual report on anti-money-laundering.

It said emerging risks to FCA-regulated firms included the use of electronic money (e-money) issued in countries with ‘limited regulatory oversight’.

Addition risk is posed by the potential misuse of communications networks – particularly where firms and staff and end-consumers unaware of the risk and issues, the report said.

Other issues that may affect regulated firms include:

  • The risk that the ‘money service business’ (MSB) sector may be used to launder money or finance terrorism
  • Money laundering through trade in digital currencies 
  • Alternative banking platforms (also known as a payment platform or virtual banks) based in jurisdictions with limited regulatory oversight

FCA director of enforcement and financial crime Tracey McDermott said: “Anti-money laundering rules are in place to protect all of us from the actions of criminals. Firms must take their AML responsibilities seriously, and ensure they manage their money laundering risks adequately.

“We will do all we can to make sure they do.”


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