BoI fined for breaches of money laundering rules

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The Independent Online

Bank of Ireland received its second fine from the Financial Services Authority in less than a year yesterday, as the regulator demanded it pay £375,000 for breaches in the anti-money laundering regulations.

Bank of Ireland received its second fine from the Financial Services Authority in less than a year yesterday, as the regulator demanded it pay £375,000 for breaches in the anti-money laundering regulations.

The latest penalty comes nine months after Chase de Vere, its UK financial adviser subsidiary, was fined £165,000 for producing misleading mailshots extolling the virtues of precipice bonds, without adequately alerting consumers to the risks. In a statement yesterday, the FSA said BoI was being fined for "failing to have in place systems to detect a series of high-risk, cash transactions worth approximately £2m, which were undertaken in breach of their policies and procedures".

The case involved the mis-use of bank drafts between 1998 and 2002, during which period large sums of cash were exchanged for drafts made payable to the BoI, thereby disguising the owner's identity.

The FSA criticised the bank's staff for not being suspicious, despite the customer's insistence that his name not be used on the cheques or correspondence relating to the transactions. The police are now investigating the case.

BoI would not comment on the details of the case, other than to say that its own review process had eventually caught up with the breach and brought it to the attention of the FSA. It said it had since devoted significant resources to investigate the matter, and to ensure there could be no recurrence.

The FSA acknowledged BoI's attempts to address the situation by awarding a smaller fine in relation to other money laundering breaches.

Bank of Scotland was fined £1.25m this year, while Abbey National was fined £2.32m last year for breaches of money laundering regulations.

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