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Bank's €3m penalty for failings on money laundering

By Dearbhail McDonald

Published 01/11/2016

Ulster Bank Ireland has agreed to pay a €3.325m fine to the Central Bank in respect of anti-money laundering (AML)and terrorist financing failures.

The penalty is the highest imposed by the Central Bank for anti-money laundering breaches. The breaches, admitted by Ulster Bank Ireland DAC (formerly Ulster Bank Ireland Limited) occurred over a six-year period until this year.

Ulster Bank was reprimanded for breaches of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering & Terrorist Financing) Act 2010.

The Central Bank said the breaches identified significant failings in Ulster Bank's AML and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) in respect of outsourcing of governance and control of AML/CFT, risk assessment and customer due diligence (CDD).

Director of enforcement, Derville Rowland, said the breaches were "concerning" as they point to "unacceptable weaknesses" in key aspects of its AML framework, systems and controls.

"It is imperative that it vigorously applies the highest levels of anti-money laundering compliance in order to protect, not only itself, but its customers and the wider financial system," she said.

Ulster Bank is the third financial institution in as many weeks to be levied with a fine by the Central Bank.

Last month, KBC Bank Ireland was fined €1.4m and reprimanded for breaches of certain financial regulations. Days later, the Central Bank of Ireland imposed a fine of €1,15m on Capita Life and Pensions Services (Ireland) Limited for conducting unauthorised business.

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