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In 2015, the UK's Financial Conduct Authority fined Barclays Bank its then largest penalty for failings in its financial crime management obligations. Barclays had been one of the first major banks to install company-wide money laundering management software. But it doesn't help when those within the bank don't feed it the information it needs.
The European Union's Fourth Money Laundering Directive recognises the financial sector regulatory framework created in response to the global financial crisis. The three headline bodies are required to work jointly in a number of areas and, in relation to money laundering and terrorist financing, to produce a "Joint Opinion" every two years. Yesterday, it released the first. Here is our first look and, starting only four lines into the Executive Summary, there are important points to consider.
When India decided to remove, without warning, two large value notes from circulation and cancel their legality, Economists chugged their drinks and were delighted that India would be pulling back into some kind of order the unsustainable position that the vast majority of the money in circulation was held outside the banking sector, in cash. But behind the scenes, there was a shadow hunting through the depths of the data that the exercise generated. And now that shadow is found to have some large and sharp teeth.
Prosecutors in Panama have secured the remand, in custody, of Jürgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca, the founders of Mossack Fonseca, the legal and professional services group at the heart of the so-called "Panama Papers."
Their arrest last week does not relate to that but rather to allegations of money laundering related to political bribes in Brazil.
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, really has got the bit between its teeth in a way that few other anti-corruption bodies have managed elsewhere in the world. Yesterday, it brought two very high-profile figures before the court: a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Muhammed Dele Belgore and a former minister, Professor Abubakar Sulaiman. They have pleaded not guilty in a case that has already tested the will of government to let the EFCC act independently and will now test the judiciary with which both defendants have a long and close history.
The Law Society's Gazette is reporting that Mischon de Reya, a London law firm has been ordered to pay damages to its client which purchased a property from a fraudster. The case is going to appeal. Nigel Morris-Cotterill looks at the first instance judgment of a case that has enormous implications for KYC/Due Diligence for financial institutions. Part 1.
Business information service provider Thompson Reuters has agreed to issue an apology and to pay damages to the Finsbury Park Mosque in a case that has great implications for the financial sector and its data providers, particularly in relation to so-called "due diligence" databases, in this case the World-Check database that the company bought, as a going concern, in 2011. Read more for how this creates problems for FCROs.
The 1 Malaysia Development Fund, which recently received a 17m cash injection from China, despite frequent protestations that there are no money issues, is rapidly turning into a rich income stream for regulators or the governments onto which it passes its profits. After being ordered to pay a substantial penalty in Singapore, RBS Coutts has now been ordered to stump up a lot of Swiss Francs by the authorities there.
On 30 January 2017, the NYDFS superintendent, Maria Vullo, announced that Deutsche Bank would pay a fine of USD425 million for failures in counter-money laundering systems and controls, in an investigation closely linked with a similar investigation into the same facts by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority. What the NYDFS found is disturbing.
It has long been a bone of contention in London that, in particular, US, Japanese and German banks set up local systems to comply with their head office measures, even where those fall short of requirements in the UK. In the case of US and Japanese banks, it's been a matter of arrogance. In the case of German banks, it started off as arrogance but that was complicated by the creation of "passported institutions" where a number of financial institutions have argued that home regulation trumps UK law and regulation. The FCA has had enough of that nonsense and has issued its biggest fine to date for money laundering control failures.
German bank, Deutsche Bank has reportedly closed its correspondent relationships with National Bank of Kenya (NBK), a commercial bank. There are allegations of mismanagement and accounting fraud, plus suspicions of money laundering. Several members of the senior management team have left in recent weeks, not entirely voluntarily.