The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has begun criminal proceedings against National Westminster Bank Plc over offences under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 (MLR 2007).
The regulator alleges that NatWest failed to adhere to the requirements of regulations 8(1), 8(3) and 14(1) of MLR 2007 between 11 November 2011 and 19 October 2016.
This is the first criminal prosecution under the MLR 2007 by the FCA and the first prosecution under the MLR against a bank.
These regulations require the firm to determine, conduct and demonstrate risk sensitive due diligence and ongoing monitoring of its relationships with its customers for the purposes of preventing money laundering.
The case arises from the handling of funds deposited into accounts operated by a UK incorporated customer of NatWest. The FCA alleges that increasingly large cash deposits were made into the customer’s accounts. It is alleged that around £365 million was paid into the customer’s accounts, of which around £264 million was in cash.
It is alleged that NatWest’s systems and controls failed to adequately monitor and scrutinise this activity.
NatWest is scheduled to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 14 April 2021.
In a statement, the bank said: “NatWest Group takes extremely seriously its responsibility to seek to prevent money laundering by third parties and accordingly has made significant, multi-year investments in its financial crime systems and controls.”