Lawmakers investigate timeline of NatWest money laundering investigation

LONDON, Oct. 20 (Reuters) – British lawmakers have asked the Financial Conduct Authority why it took five years to prosecute NatWest (NWG.L) for failing to prevent the laundering of nearly £ 400million (551.28 million), after the lender pleaded guilty earlier this month.

The bank admitted on October 7 three criminal charges of failing to adequately monitor accounts receivable between 2012 and 2016, the first time a bank in Britain has admitted to committing such a criminal offense.

“There are questions that remain unanswered, including why it took five years after the 2016 police raid to bring this case to fruition,” Mel Stride, chairman of the All-Party Treasury Committee, said in a statement. letter to FCA published Wednesday.

“We have received the letter and will respond to it shortly,” said an FCA spokesperson.

Stride said the committee is also looking into why no NatWest staff have been prosecuted.

The FCA in the case alleged that NatWest failed to monitor suspicious activity of a client who deposited around £ 365million into his accounts over five years, including £ 264million in cash.

NatWest could face a potential fine of around £ 340 million under the sentencing guidelines, although a judge will set the level of any fine later this year.

The bank publishes its third quarter results, in which it could take a provision against the expected fine, on October 29.

($ 1 = 0.7256 pounds)

Reporting by Lawrence White, editing by William Maclean and Louise Heavens

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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