Bank penalty

NatWest RBS fined £265m for money laundering

RBS and Alison Rose

Alison Rose: deep regret

National Westminster Bank, trading north of the border as Royal Bank of Scotland, has been fined £264.8 million at a hearing at Southwark Crown Court for three offences under the money laundering regulations.

The offences related to operational weaknesses between 2012 and 2016, which meant that NatWest did not adequately monitor the accounts of a UK incorporated customer.

The fine, which includes a 33% discount for the bank’s early guilty plea will be met from existing provisions, with a small additional provision to be taken in NatWest’s Q4 2021 financial accounts.

It was in line with expectations when the bank announced third quarter results in October and took a £294m litigation and conduct charge, including a provision for the fine after the bank pleaded guilty earlier that month to failing to prevent the laundering of nearly £400m.

News media have said the client at the centre of the case is collapsed Bradford-based gold dealership Fowler Oldfield, which was shut down following a police raid in 2016.

Today’s hearing brings an end to the case against NatWest and the Financial Conduct Authority has confirmed that, provided no further evidence comes to light, it will not take action against any individual current or former employee of NatWest in respect of this case.

NatWest said it is not aware of, and is not anticipating, any other authority investigating its conduct in this matter.

NatWest CEO, Alison Rose, said:  “NatWest takes its responsibility to prevent and detect financial crime extremely seriously. We deeply regret that we failed to adequately monitor one of our customers between 2012 and 2016 for the purpose of preventing money laundering.

“While today’s hearing brings an end to this case, we will continue to invest significant resources in the ongoing fight against financial crime.”

NatWest shares fell 1.6p or 0.74% to 214.25p.

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