The Financial Conduct Authority of the UK has imposed a fine of £264,772,619.95 ($350,730,786) on National Westminster Bank Plc (NatWest) for AML failings.
During 2012-16, NatWest failed to appropriately monitor the transactional activity of Fowler Oldfield, a jewelry business based in Bradford, UK. In this period, the jewelry business deposited over £365m ($484m) with the bank, including £264m ($350m) in cash. NatWest pleaded guilty to these failings in October 2021.
Some of the NatWest employees who handled the Fowler Oldfield cash deposits had reported suspicious activity to AML bank staff. These reports included many red flags such as the deposition of a large number of Scottish bank notes as well as notes with a musty smell. Additionally, some employees had reported suspicious behavior of individuals when depositing cash in NatWest branches. Unfortunately, these reports did not transform into any appropriate action. NatWest’s automated transaction monitoring system also incorrectly identified some cash deposits as check deposits. This was another significant failing which may have prevented ML identification since checks pose a lower ML risk than cash.
Source: Financial Conduct Authority, UK