Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), has agreed to the forfeiture of $240 million, a fine of $480 million, and amend and extend its deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the Justice Department for an additional two years for conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).  This conspiracy, lasting from 2007 until2011, resulted in SCB processing approximately 9,500 financial transactions worth approximately $240 million through U.S. financial institutions for the benefit of Iranian entities.

John Dobson, CEO of anti-money laundering firm SmartSearch commenting on the fine, the second largest financial penalty of its kind ever imposed by the FCA said: “The news today that the FCA found “serious and sustained shortcomings” in Standard Chartered’s AML controls is just the latest high profile case where AML has come under the spotlight.

“Just last month estate agency chain Countrywide received a record fine from HMRC of £215,000 for failing to ensure its money laundering procedures and record-keeping were in line with regulations.

“Complying with AML regulations is a cumbersome process, and with regulations changing all the time, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest rules. But, thanks to a booming RegTech industry in the UK there are now a huge number of electronic solutions.

“Thousands of banks, estate agencies, law firms and other regulated businesses are now turning to electronic AML platforms to complete their AML checks, Global Sanctions and PEP screening.

“With the technology currently available, there is no reason for regulated businesses not to have correct AML processes in place. Plus, with the 5th money laundering directive stipulating that electronic solutions be used wherever possible, it is likely that electronic AML checks will soon become compulsory anyway.

“Electronic AML platforms save time, money and are more reliable than manual checks ever can be and with fines like this one being handed out to those not complying with AML regulations, is it really worth the risk?”

by Bill Boyle
IBS Intelligence Senior Editor