FCA fines bank over £3m for anti-money laundering failures

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The FCA has fined the UK arm of a Bangladesh-based bank £3,250,600 for failing to have adequate anti-money laundering systems in place over a four-year period.

Sonali Bank (UK) has also been prevented from accepting deposits from new customers for 168 days.

The bank’s former money laundering reporting officer Steven Smith has been fined £17,900 and banned from working in anti-money laundering or compliance roles at regulated firms.

The FCA says between August 2010 and July 2014 Sonali Bank (UK) failed to have proper systems in place to counter money laundering, despite weaknesses being flagged by the regulator.

The bank failed to properly carry out customer due diligence, identify politically exposed persons, and failed in its duty to file suspicious activity reports.

While under FCA investigation, Sonali Bank (UK) also failed to notify the regulator of an allegation of significant fraud.

FCA director of enforcement and market oversight Mark Steward says: “Fighting money laundering is an issue of extreme international importance.

“There is an abundance of guidance for firms on how to comply with anti-money laundering and financial crime requirements and no excuse for failing to follow it.

“The FCA will not hesitate to take action against firms and senior individuals who fall short of our standards. As in this case, such action may include using our powers to restrict a firm’s continuing business.”