The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has fined private bank Coutts £8.75 million (€10 million) for failing to take reasonable care to establish effective anti-money laundering systems and controls relating to high risk customers.
The FSA said these failings persisted for almost three years, were “serious” and “systemic”, and resulted in an unacceptable risk of Coutts handling the proceeds of crime.
The FSA said it found failings in nearly three-quarters of files it reviewed that related to high risk customers. These shortcomings included failing to gather enough information to establish the source of wealth of high risk customers and failing to adequately scrutinise transactions on high risk accounts.
“Coutts’ failings were significant, widespread and unacceptable. Its conduct fell well below the standards we expect and the size of the financial penalty demonstrates how seriously we view its failures,” said Tracey McDermott, acting director of enforcement and financial crime.
Coutts agreed to settle at an early stage and qualified for a 30% discount on its fine, which would otherwise have been £12.5 million.
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