AIB Slapped With Fine for Compliance Failures as IPO Looms

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Allied Irish Banks Plc, preparing for what could be one of the biggest share sales in London this year, was fined more than 2 million euros ($2.2 million) by the Irish central bank over compliance failures in relation to anti-money laundering and terrorist financing laws.

The central bank fined AIB about 2.3 million euros and reprimanded it for six breaches of the law, which the lender has admitted to, the regulator said in an emailed statement Tuesday. AIB said separately that the settlement related to issues occurring between July 2010 and July 2014.

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Stricter anti money-laundering reforms introduced for real estate agents and lawyers

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Real estate agents, lawyers and accountants will soon face tougher anti-money-laundering rules under a bill introduced to Parliament today.

The reforms will require companies to put in place systems which guard against money laundering and to carry out due diligence on customers, including identity verification.

A first tranche of reforms was passed in 2013 and covered banks, financial services and casinos.

The bill introduced today will extend anti money-laundering obligations to lawyers, conveyancers, accountants, real estate agents, the sports and betting industry, and businesses that deal in high value goods such as cars, jewellery or art.

The reforms were fast-tracked following the release of the Panama Papers last year, which raised concerns about the use of New Zealand’s foreign trusts to hide money.

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Anti-money laundering law extension balances cost to businesses

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Lawyers, conveyancers, accountants, real estate agents, and sports and racing betting are now subject to money laundering legislation after it was fast-tracked in the fallout from the Panama Papers last year.

The second phase of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act was introduced by Justice Minister Amy Adams on Monday.

Banks, casinos and financial service providers were already covered, but the amendment extended the law to cover more professions.

This move was accelerated last year after the release of the Panama Papers and the Government launching the Shewan Inquiry into New Zealand’s foreign trust regime.

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Where next for anti-money laundering regulation?

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The UK’s actions surrounding the EU’s Fourth Anti Money Laundering Directive will be a key indicator of its planned approach in the period following the referendum

When it comes to anti-corruption legislation, the United Kingdom is considered a world leader. Its tough UK Bribery Act is viewed as one of the ultimate global standards for tackling bribery. Indeed, in relation to anti-money laundering (‘AML’) regulation, the UK has a reputation of going above and beyond the recommended standards. For example, it has adopted an ‘all crimes approach’ to current European AML governance meaning there is no minimum level of predicate offence below which acts need not be reported.

Yet in a post- Brexit world, it is fundamental that the ability and will of the UK to maintain such tough standards doesn’t waiver, with the country eager to attract new foreign investment and sustain current levels of growth. As the European Commission urges member states to bring forward the implementation of the Fourth Money Laundering Directive (‘4MLD’) to the end of 2016, this could prove a significant test for exactly which direction the UK will head once it exits the EU. Will the UK introduce the Directive given that Prime Minister, Teresa May, has indicated that she’s unlikely to trigger Article 50 until 2017, or will it press pause and take a completely new stance?

Tackling terrorist financing

As part of a series of Anti-Money Laundering Directives, the EU 4MLD aims to tackle tax evasion, terrorist financing and money laundering. This fourth directive introduces several key changes to the 2007 UK Money Laundering Regulations and includes provisions to introduce a Beneficial Ownership Register for legal entities, trusts and companies. The 4MLD also implements harsher requirements for both Simplified and Enhanced Due Diligence and advocates bigger responsibilities for senior managers as well as extending the definition of politically exposed persons (‘PEPs’). While until recently EU member states were given until June 2017 to introduce the 4MLD into national legislation, the European Commission in its action plan against terrorist financing, urged member states to bring forward the date of implementation to the end of 2016 and improve the exchange of information between countries.

Of course, post referendum it remains unclear whether the UK will continue to implement new EU regulation, particularly once Article 50 has been triggered and latterly the European Communities Act repealed. While it may eventually still choose to maintain equal standards, any reluctance to implement similarly strict principles in the next two to three years could prove problematic. Hesitancy from the UK to continue to be part of any enhanced practices implemented by EU member states could have a knock on effect on the success of the 4MLD and significantly hinder the ability to investigate international money laundering.

Whether the 4MLD is adopted or not, it will be vital that the UK maintains its tough stance and does not feel commercial pressure to relax its financial controls in order to encourage investment in the UK. Continuing its membership of organisations formed to combat financial crime, such as the FATF (Financial Action Task Force), will play a fundamental role in ensuring this is the case, as will continuing to follow guidance and standards set by such organisations.

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SIFIU launches anti-money laundering program

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THE Solomon Islands Financial Intelligence Unit (SIFIU) finally launched and coordinated another major Anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) National Risk Assessment (NRA) program that commences Monday this week.

The Risk Assessment work may take up to six months to complete and requires the cooperation of both the private and the public sector.

A one full day workshop held at the IBS hotel Wednesday this week was part of the NRA work.

The Solomon Islands has had one NRA in 2009 and the exercise that is currently undertaken is the 2nd one the country is going through.

The full-day intensive workshop held on Wednesday was conducted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) consultant and financial intelligence expert, Neil Jen Sen, with the support of SIFIU officials and the Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI).

 

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Nordea flags Danish anti-money-laundering probe

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STOCKHOLM– Nordea Bank AB said Friday the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority has criticized the bank’s Danish unit in its anti-money-laundering-probe and will hand over the matter to the police for further investigations and possible sanctions.

The regulator started its probe in June 2015 and its findings are related to the bank’s earlier reported deficiencies in the area, it said.

“The deficiencies within anti-money-laundering are known to us and we have in close dialogue with the authorities addressed these in the action plan that we launched last spring,” said Nordea Chief Executive Casper von Koskull.

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DOJ resets anti-money laundering probe vs Kim Wong

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This was after Wong sought more time to submit his counter-affidavit in response to the complaint over the controversial $81-million laundered money from the Bank of Bangladesh which slipped through the Philippine financial system through the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC).

Based on the nine-page complaint filed by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), also facing a case for violation of Section 4 (a) and (b) of Republic Act (RA) No. 9160, otherwise known as the the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 is Chinese national Weikang Xu.

Section 4 (a) holds accountable for money laundering any person who transacts or attempts to transact a monetary instrument or property which represents, involves, or relates to, the proceeds of any unlawful activity; while section 4 (b) covers any person who performs or fails to perform any act despite knowledge that any monetary instrument or property involves the proceeds of any unlawful activity and, therefore, facilitates the offense of money laundering.

Bank CEO defends Canada’s anti-money laundering practices

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The Bank of Montreal’s CEO is defending the Canadian banking sector’s anti-money laundering practices following reports linking a major Canadian financial institution to a Panamanian law firm at the centre of a data leak on the use of offshore tax havens.

Bill Downe says Canadian banks have “dramatically” beefed up their anti-money laundering controls over the last seven to 10 years at the request of various governments around the world.

“I would say that the current Bank Secrecy Act anti-money laundering provisions, particularly involving U.S. dollar accounts, are extremely robust,” Downe said in an interview following the bank’s annual shareholder meeting in Toronto on Tuesday.

 

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FCA launch crackdown on money laundering in wake of Panama papers

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The FCA confirmed it has written to a “number of firms” about disclosures in the Panama papers, including those on the regulator’s Systematic Anti-Money Laundering Programme.

A spokesperson said, “We are working closely with a number of other agencies who are also looking at this.

“As part of our responsibility to ensure the integrity of the UK financial markets we require all authorised firms to have systems and controls in place to mitigate the risk that they might be used to commit financial crime.”

The spokesperson added that the FCA has published its annual Business Plan, which identifies financial crime and anti-money laundering activity as one of its priorities for the year.

Other areas of focus include pensions, wholesale financial markets, advice, innovation and technology, the treatment of existing customers and firms’ culture and governance.

John Griffith-Jones, chairman of the FCA said, “We remain determined to ensure that markets work effectively and fairly and, where necessary, we will use our enforcement powers to reinforce our policy objectives and to provide effective deterrence from irresponsible behaviour.”

Tracey McDermott, acting chief executive of the FCA added, “On financial crime, we will continue to actively protect consumers and markets from the criminals who seek to exploit them. We will take tough action against wrongdoers, working closely with industry and law enforcement to do so. We will also take steps to help people to protect themselves against crime through our ScamSmart campaign.

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Many Vancouver real estate firms failing to follow anti-money laundering laws

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New evidence suggests that dozens of Metro Vancouver real estate firms are failing to adhere to anti-money laundering laws.

Vancouver’s hectic, high-priced real estate market can be a great place for money launderers to ply their trade, which is why federal financial regulators decided to investigate 80 realtors and real estate brokers.

“Nobody is watching the henhouse other than the foxes,” BC NDP Leader John Horgan said. “(Housing minister) Rich Coleman has said over and again, ‘We’re in touch with the market because we talk to the Real Estate Board.’ That’s important but we need more than that.”

Of the 80 realtor offices investigated by the federal money-laundering watchdog, 55 had significant or very significant deficiencies when it came collecting key information from buyers.

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