Santander fined £107.8m by finance watchdog over money laundering failings

Santander UK has been fined £107.8 million over “serious and persistent gaps” in its anti-money laundering controls, the financial watchdog has announced.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said business banking customers were affected by anti-money laundering failures.

It said the bank “failed to properly oversee and manage” these systems, which impacted its oversight of more than 560,000 business customers, between December 2012 and October 2017.

Santander had “ineffective” systems to adequately verify the information provided by customers about the business they were doing, the FCA said.

The failures led to more than £298 million passing through the bank before it closed accounts.

The watchdog highlighted that, in one case, a new customer opened an account as a small translations business with expected monthly deposits of £5,000, but within six months was receiving millions in deposits and swiftly transferred the funds to separate accounts.

This account was recommended for closure by the bank’s anti-money laundering team in March 2014 but it was not acted on until September 2015 due to “poor processes”, the FCA said.

Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: “Santander’s poor management of their anti-money laundering systems and their inadequate attempts to address the problems created a prolonged and severe risk of money laundering and financial crime.

“As part of our commitment to prevent and reduce…

Read more…