NatWest faces criminal action over money laundering offences

imageStock Markets41 minutes ago (Mar 16, 2021 09:20)

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People maintain social distance while they queue outside a Natwest bank in Wimbledon

By Tom Wilson and Iain Withers

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s financial regulator has launched criminal action against NatWest over allegations it failed to detect suspicious activity by a customer depositing nearly 400 million pounds ($553 million) over five years, mostly in cash.

The case is the first criminal action taken against a British bank under a 2007 money laundering law, carrying a maximum penalty of an unlimited fine.

The Financial Conduct Authority said it was bringing the proceedings after NatWest’s systems failed to adequately monitor and scrutinise activity over an account held by a UK customer between November 2011 and October 2016.

Around 365 million pounds was paid into the unnamed customer’s accounts, of which around 264 million pounds was in cash, the watchdog alleged.

NatWest will appear in court on April 14, the FCA said. No individual was being charged, it added.

NatWest had previously disclosed in its 2020 annual report that it had been notified in July 2017 of an FCA investigation under the money laundering law in relation to “certain money service businesses and related parties”.

The case threatens NatWest with further costs for past misdeeds at a time when it has been trying to clean up its image under CEO Alison Rose, who took over in 2019.

The bank – which remains 62% state-owned after a bailout in the 2007-09 financial crisis – rebranded from the scandal-tainted Royal Bank of Scotland (LON:NWG) name last year.

The company’s shares fell 3% in early trading and were last down around 1%, compared to a more than 1% gain for the FTSE 350 banks index.

The bank said on Tuesday it was cooperating with the investigation.

“NatWest Group takes extremely seriously its responsibility to seek to prevent money laundering by third parties and accordingly has made significant, multi-year investments in its financial crime systems and controls,” it said.

NatWest faces criminal action over money laundering offences

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here