Britain’s financial watchdog has fined the UK subsidiary of Nigeria’s Guaranty Trust Bank US $9.3 million for what it says are further failures in its anti-money-laundering systems and controls.
“These weaknesses were repeatedly highlighted to GT Bank by internal and external sources, including the FCA, but despite this, GT Bank failed to take appropriate action to fix them,” the Financial Conduct Authority said in a statement on Tuesday.
The watchdog said GT Bank has not disputed the findings and agreed to settle, making it eligible for a 30 percent discount on the fine, down from the original US $13.3million.
“GT Bank’s conduct is particularly egregious as this is not the first time that the bank has faced enforcement action in relation to its AML controls,” the statement said.
Gbenga Alade, managing director of GT Bank UK, said the bank takes its anti-money laundering obligations extremely seriously and noted the FCA’s findings with sincere regret, adding that the FCA found no instances of suspected money laundering.
“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,” Alade said in a statement.
In August 2013, the FCA fined it 5 US $627,323 for running afoul of the regulations.
“Banks are at the front line in ensuring the proceeds of crime do not enter the UK financial system,” Tracey McDermott, the FCA’s director of enforcement, said at the time. “GT Bank’s failures were serious and systemic and resulted in an unacceptable risk of handling the proceeds of crime.”
The bank said then that it had complied with the fine and addressed the issues.