The Financial Conduct Authority has announced that it is to bring criminal proceedings against NatWest for money-laundering offences.
The case is the first criminal prosecution of a bank by the FCA under the money-laundering regulations, which require firms to “determine, conduct and demonstrate risk sensitive due diligence and ongoing monitoring of its relationships with its customers for the purposes of preventing money laundering”.
The failures, the FCA claims, arise from the handling of funds deposited into accounts operated by a UK incorporated customer of NatWest between November 2011 and October 2016. The regulator alleges that increasingly large cash deposits were made into the customer’s accounts. It is alleged that about £365 million was paid into the customer’s accounts, of which around £264 million was in cash.
No individuals are being charged as part of these proceedings.
In a brief stock exchange statement NatWest, which until last year was called Royal Bank of Scotland, said it had been co-operating with the FCA’s investigation. “NatWest takes extremely seriously its responsibility to seek to prevent money laundering by third parties and accordingly has made significant, multi-year investments in its financial crime systems and controls,” the bank added.