South Africa: Reserve Bank fines Standard Bank R30m, imposes penalties on 4 other banks



Five banks in South Africa have been penalized for having weak control measures against money-laundering; this was discovered after a routine-check carried out by the Financial Intelligence Unit on Friday evening. The inspection, which requires the Authority to annually evaluate banks AI to ensure that sufficient measures on financial crime control are in compliance with the Financial Intelligence Centre Act has resulted on administrative sanctions on Standard Bank SA, GroBank, Ubank, Bank of China in Johannesburg, and HBZ by The South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

The SARB has said that the penalties were imposed on them due to flexibility identified in the systems regarding compliance with anti-money laundering control, and not because they found any trace of money-laundering or terrorist financing. However, the five banks involved have cooperated with the group and agreed to deal with the deficiencies identified.

According to a SARB spokesman, banks are informed prior to the commencement of the inspections which could last two to six weeks. The standard Bank of SA was given a penalty of R30m and is required to take corrective measures while R7.5m of the money is suspended until all measures are taken. Grobank was fined R5m and cautioned to avoid repetition. Bank of China was fined R2m, Ubank had a fine of R500,000, and HBZ Bank was only cautioned o ensure such deficiency does not repeat itself.