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UK regulators fine Santander £108m for anti-money laundering failures

UK regulators have fined Santander more than £100mn for anti-money laundering failures in its business banking division.

The Financial Conduct Authority said on Friday that it had fined the UK division of the Spanish bank £107.8mn for failing to manage its systems properly, which affected the way it dealt with 560,000 business customers.

The regulator found that between 2012 and 2017 the bank’s systems were not able to verify properly information provided by customers about their businesses.

“Santander’s poor management of their anti-money laundering systems and their inadequate attempts to address the problems created a prolonged and severe risk of money laundering and financial crime,” said Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA.

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The regulator pointed to one case involving an account belonging to a customer with a small translations business. The company expected monthly deposits of £5,000 but within six months it was receiving millions in deposits and quickly moving the money elsewhere.

Santander UK chief executive Mike Regnier said: “We are very sorry for the historical anti-money laundering-related control issues in our business banking division between 2012-17 highlighted in the FCA’s findings.”

He added: “While we took action to address our AML issues once they were identified, we accept that our AML framework at the time should have been stronger. We have since made significant changes to address this by overhauling our financial crime technology, systems and processes.”


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