UK watchdog fines Queen`s bank almost 9 mn pound

Last Updated: Monday, March 26, 2012 - 22:25

London: Britain`s financial watchdog on Monday
handed Coutts, the private bank which counts Queen Elizabeth
II as a client, an 8.75-million pound fine for failing to
ensure it was not handling laundered money.

The Financial Services Authority said it had fined the
company, a division of the state-rescued Royal Bank of
Scotland, because it did not have the proper checks in place
when it started relationships with high-risk customers who
were considered vulnerable to corruption.

"The FSA has fined Coutts & Company 8.75 million pound
(USD 13.9 million, 10.5 million euros) for failing to take
reasonable care to establish and maintain effective anti-money
laundering (AML) systems and controls relating to high risk
customers, including politically exposed persons," it said in
a statement.

"The failings at Coutts were serious, systemic and
were allowed to persist for almost three years. They resulted
in an unacceptable risk of Coutts handling the proceeds of
crime," the FSA added.

The failings took place between December 2007 and
November 2010, according to the watchdog, which had visited
Coutts in October 2010 as part of a review into banks`
management of high money-laundering risk situations.

In a separate statement, Coutts added that it had
cooperated "fully and openly" with the FSA throughout the
investigation.

"We are disappointed that Coutts & Co did not meet the
FSA`s standards with regard to establishing and maintaining
effective AML controls in relation to high risk clients," said
Rory Tapner, boss of RBS Wealth Management.

"Since the FSA first raised its concerns, we have
implemented a number of improvements to prevent any recurrence
of these failings. Regulatory reforms continue apace.

"We remain committed to ensuring that our systems and
controls are robust and counter the risk of financial crime in
all the markets in which we operate."

PTI



First Published: Monday, March 26, 2012 - 22:25

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