$25m fine for Washington bank linked to PCC boss

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The Independent Online

A Washington bank, where Press Complaints Commission chairman Sir Christopher Meyer was a director until March, has been fined $25m (£14m) by US regulators for failing to monitor suspicious accounts.

A Washington bank, where Press Complaints Commission chairman Sir Christopher Meyer was a director until March, has been fined $25m (£14m) by US regulators for failing to monitor suspicious accounts.

The fine is the largest imposed by the US anti-money laundering watchdogs, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

It was handed to Riggs National Corporation for failing to report sudden withdrawals of tens of millions of dollars from accounts controlled by the Saudi Arabian embassy andSaudi officials. Riggs also admitted lap-ses in the handing of accounts held by people connected to the president of Equatorial Guinea.

The bank is controlled by Joe Allbritton, who fostered links among Washington's diplomatic community and through that became friendly with Sir Christopher, the British ambassador to the US until February last year.

In November, Sir Christopher became a non-executive director of Riggs. Soon after, it emerged that Riggs was being investigated by the regulators.

Sir Christopher resigned quietly in March, giving no explanation for his departure. When contacted by The Independent on Sunday, he declined to discuss his time with Riggs.

Sir Christopher became chairman of the PCC after the resignation of Lord Wakeham, who was forced to stand down over his connections to Enron.

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