UK: Coutts Bank fined ?8.75m by the FSA

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Coutts Bank has been hit with an ?8.75m fine by the Financial Service Authority for anti-money laundering control failings.

Following a visit in October 2010 by the FSA to review Coutts' anti-money laundering systems and controls, the FSA’s investigation identified that Coutts did not apply robust controls when starting relationships with high risk customers and did not consistently apply appropriate monitoring of those high risk relationships. The FSA identified deficiencies in nearly three quarters of the PEP and high risk customer files reviewed.

Coutts agreed to settle at an early stage and therefore qualified for a 30% discount. Were it not for this discount, the FSA would have imposed a financial penalty of ?12.5m.

Tracey McDermott, acting director of enforcement and financial crime, said:

“Coutts’ failings were significant, widespread and unacceptable. Its conduct fell well below the standards we expect and the size of the financial penalty demonstrates how seriously we view its failures."

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