fine of 108 million pounds in Santander in the United Kingdom for deficient controls

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London (AFP) – The British branch of Spanish banking giant Santander has been fined 107.8 million pounds (125 million euros) in the UK for “serious and persistent shortcomings in its anti-money laundering controls”, the financial regulator (FCA) announced on Friday.

“Santander’s mismanagement of its anti-money laundering systems and inadequate attempts to resolve issues have created a prolonged and serious risk of money laundering and financial crime,” said Mark Steward, an official. FCA, in a statement.

The alleged facts occurred between December 31, 2012 and October 18, 2017, a period during which the bank failed to correctly verify the information provided by its professional customers on their activities and to control the adequacy of the sums deposited, according to the regulator .

In one case, for example, a small translation company opened an account, with estimated monthly deposits of £5,000. But in less than six months, she began to receive millions which were quickly transferred to other accounts.

While the account was recommended for closure by the bank’s money laundering control teams in March 2014, the account remained open for more than two years before it was finally closed, the FCA said.

The case is not isolated and the financial authority says it has identified several other accounts thus exposed to “a serious risk of money laundering”, having allowed nearly 300 million pounds in total to pass through accounts finally closed .

“Santander takes its responsibilities in terms of financial crime very seriously”, reacted in a press release the general manager of the bank in the United Kingdom Mike Regnier, saying “sorry for these past control problems related to the fight against money laundering silver”.

“We have since made significant changes to address these issues by reforming our technology, systems and processes to fight financial crime,” he added, noting that more than 4,400 of his employees are now dedicated to the prevention of financial crime.

Santander did not challenge the FCA’s findings, which accordingly applied a 30% reduction to the nearly £154million fine it would otherwise have imposed on the bank.

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