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Willis fined £6.9m for lack of crime control

The FSA has fined insurance broker Willis Limited £6.9m for failings in its anti-bribery and corruption systems and controls.

The fine is the biggest in relation to financial crime systems and controls to date.

Between January 2005 and December 2009, Willis made £27m-worth of payments to overseas third parties who assisted it in winning and retaining business from overseas clients.

The FSA found that Willis failed to ensure it established and recorded an adequate commercial rationale for the payments, failed to ensure adequate due diligence on the third parties was conducted and failed to adequately review its relationship on a regular basis.

The FSA says these failures contributed to a weak control environment and gave rise to an unacceptable risk that these payments could be used for corrupt purposes.

During the investigation, the FSA found $227,000 of payments made to two overseas third parties for business carried out in Egypt and Russia. Both have been reported to the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

As Willis co-operated with the FSA and agreed to settle at an early stage of the investig-ation, it qualified for a 30 per cent discount. Without it, the fine would have been £9.85m.

FSA acting director of enf-orcement and financial crime Tracey McDermott says: “The involvement of UK financial institutions in corrupt or potentially corrupt practices overseas undermines the integrity of the UK financial services sector.”

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