UK Fines GTB Branch Over Money Laundering Control Lapses

GTBank Under Probe For 'Breaching' Customers’ Data
Photographer: Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images
The Financial Conduct Authority (FAC), in charge of regulating the financial service industry in the United Kingdom, has fined a Guaranty Trust Bank(GTB) located in the UK over lapses in its security control on money laundering.

The FCA imposed monetary penalties of £7.7 million “for serious weaknesses in its anti-money laundering (AML) systems and controls between October 2014 and July 2019,” according to a statement by the Watchdog on Tuesday.

GTB was fined for falling short of its obligation to track customer transactions and business dealings according to the expected standard, adding insiders and external sources continually pointed the flaws to GTB but the financial institution did nothing about it.

Mark Steward, FAC’s executive director of Enforcement and Market Oversight said “GT Bank should have acted quickly to put in place adequate AML controls following its fine in 2013 but it failed to do so. GT Bank did not develop a plan that was capable of addressing its AML weaknesses, exposing it and the broader market to financial crime risks for a prolonged period,”

“’ Firms must protect themselves and those dealing with them from financial crime risks, especially money laundering. The FCA is determined to ensure the market for financial services is safe, clean, and trusted with robust systems and controls in place to stymie financial crime.”

The watchdog, which regulates the conduct of 50,000 companies in the country, expects financial institutions it oversees to put in place functional AML controls to prevent individuals and organizations from acquiring assets illegally and making use of financial services to evade checks by regulatory bodies.

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The document said “GT Bank has not disputed the FCA’s findings and agreed to settle, which means it has qualified for a 30 per cent discount.”, the fine would have amounted to  £11 million if it had not been discounted.

The Managing Director of GTBank UK, has addressed this issue by assuring its stakeholders and customers that the necessary steps needed to be taken have been taken to resolve the identified gaps. He said “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,”

The watchdog, which regulates the conduct of 50,000 companies in the country, expects functional AML controls to be installed by the firms it oversees.