FCA fines Commerzbank £37m for anti-money laundering failures

Jill Petzinger
Jill Petzinger, Germany Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
The FCA said Commerzbank had failed to carry out periodic due diligence on its clients and tackle ongoing weaknesses in its automated tool for monitoring money laundering risks. (Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images)

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has fined the London branch of Commerzbank £37,805,40 for not implementing satisfactory anti-money laundering (AML) systems and controls between October 2012 and September 2017.

The FCA said in a statement that Commerzbank London (CBK.DE) was “aware of these weaknesses and failed to take reasonable and effective steps to fix them despite the FCA raising specific concerns about them in 2012, 2015 and 2017.”

“Commerzbank London’s failings over several years created a significant risk that financial and other crime might be undetected,” said FCA executive director of Enforcement and Market Oversight Mark Steward in a statement.

“Firms should recognise that AML controls are vitally important to the integrity of the UK financial system,” he added.

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The FCA said that Commerzbank’s failures “persisted during a period when the FCA was publishing guidance on steps firms could take to reduce financial crime risk as well as taking enforcement action against a number of firms in relation to AML controls.”

The FCA said its investigation found that Commerzbank London had not carried out periodic due diligence on its clients, which resulted in a significant number of existing clients not being subject to timely checks.

It also accused the bank of not tackling ongoing weaknesses in its automated tool for monitoring money laundering risks on transactions for clients, and not having adequate policies and procedures in place when undertaking customer due diligence on clients.