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Anti-Money Laundering Control: GTBank Found Guilty, Set to Face Penalty

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Anti-Money Laundering Control: GTBank Found Guilty, Set to Face Penalty

Anti-Money Laundering Control: GTBank Found Guilty, Set to Face Penalty
January 11
08:39 2023

Guaranty Trust Bank UK Limited (GTBank UK) said it has reached a settlement with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), after accepting findings in relation to historical Anti-Money Laundering (AML) controls in its operations from October 2014 to July 2019.

Britain’s financial watchdog fined the UK subsidiary of GTBank 7.6 million pounds ($9.3 million) for what it said were further failures in its anti-money laundering systems and controls, Reuters disclosed.

The bank cooperated fully with the FCA’s investigation and has agreed a penalty sum of GBP7,671,800, which 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 FCA’s investigation focused on GTBank UK’s AML controls and steps taken by the subsidiary to remediate it to ensure they operated in line with the relevant requirements.

The findings were final, and no further action was anticipated in respect of this matter.

The FCA acknowledged in its findings that GTBank UK had spent considerable time and resource in order to bring its AML standards up to the required level.

Commenting on the issue, Managing Director of GTBank UK, Mr. Gbenga Alade, 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.”

He further stated: “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.”

“The Guaranty Trust Banking Group, including GTBank UK, is fully committed to the fight against all forms of financial crime and to continuing to meet all applicable financial crime regulations and legislation globally.

“Our AML policies and controls, together with our overall risk management strategy, are regularly reviewed and revised to ensure that they remain relevant and current in line with the evolving regulatory requirements,” the bank stated.

The FCA had in a statement said: “During the relevant period, GT Bank failed to undertake adequate customer risk assessments, often not assessing or documenting the money laundering risks posed by its customers.”

It stated that the weaknesses were repeatedly highlighted to GTBank by internal and external sources, including the FCA, but GTBank failed to take appropriate action to fix them.

The FCA had already fined GT Bank 525,000 pounds in August 2013, for serious and systemic failings related to anti-money laundering controls.

The FCA stated that GTBank did not dispute its findings and agreed to settle, thereby qualifying for a 30 per cent discount on the fine, which would otherwise have amounted to 11 million pounds.

 

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