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FCA fines Standard Bank £7.6m over anti-money laundering processes

The FCA has fined Standard Bank £7.6m over failures around anti-money laundering controls relating to corporate customers connected to ‘politically exposed persons’.

It is the first money laundering case brought by the FCA or FSA with a focus on commercial banking activity.

Between December 2007 and July 2011, Standard Bank, the UK arm of the South African firm Standard Bank Group, failed to have comply with anti-money laundering rules.

The FCA says the bank failed to take reasonable care to ensure all aspects of its anti-money laundering policies were applied appropriately and consistently to its corporate customers connected to political figures.

The regulator requires commercial banks to carry out due diligence on commercial banking transactions in order to intercept money laundering operations. It demands particular focus on politically exposed persons.

FCA director of enforcement and financial crime Tracey McDermott says: “One of the FCA’s objectives is to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system.

“Banks are in the front line in the fight against money laundering. If they accept business from high risk customers they must have effective systems, controls and practices in place to manage that risk. Standard Bank clearly failed in this respect.”

Thameside Financial Planning director Tom Kean says: “Bearing in mind that banking is a global process it is about time the FCA sent out a message that if you are going to operate an arm in the UK, you are going to have to play by the rules.”

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