UK Fines GTB $9.3m Over ‘Weak’ Money Laundering Control System

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A United Kingdom-based financial watchdog, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has fined the British subsidiary of Nigeria’s Guaranty Trust Bank £7.6 million ($9.3 million) over weak money laundering control system.

The FCA in a statement on Tuesday said the bank failed in its anti-money laundering systems and controls.

It stated that the failures were highlighted by the bank’s internal and external sources, Reuters reports, adding that GTBank failed to take appropriate measures to fix the system despite warnings.

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“These weaknesses were repeatedly highlighted to GTBank by internal and external sources, including the FCA, but despite this, GTBank failed to take appropriate action to fix them,” the FCA said.

According to the FCA, the bank did not fault its findings and had agreed on settlement.

The bank also confirmed in a statement that it had reached settlement with the FCA and accepted the findings in relation to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) controls in its operations between October 2014 and July 2019.

A statement by the bank’s Managing Director, Mr. Gbenga Alade, on Tuesday, said the bank had cooperated fully with the FCA investigation and had agreed a penalty of £7,671,800.

He said the amount was calculated by reference to a proportion of the revenues of GTBank UK over the relevant period and included a 30 per cent discount for early settlement.

The statement reads in part, “As a responsible financial services institution that is committed to best practices, GTBank UK takes its AML obligations extremely seriously.

“We note with sincere regret the FCA’s findings regarding AML control gaps in our operations in the past and we are very sorry for this.

“We would like to assure all our stakeholders and the general public that necessary steps have been taken to address and resolve the identified gaps.

“Whilst there was no direct customer impairment arising from the period under review (and the FCA’s findings do not include any instances of suspected money laundering.)

“We have since reinforced our AML control framework and implemented changes in our AML processes in line with best practice with a view to ensuring that the highest standards are maintained in our operations.”

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