Wednesday 24 January 2018

More banks facing harsh fines as regulatory breaches probed

Derville Rowland
Derville Rowland
Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

More banks and financial institutions are facing the prospect of multi-million euro penalties following the landmark fine imposed on Ulster Bank for breaches of anti-money-laundering (AML) and terrorist-financing regulations.

It was fined €3.3m last week by the Central Bank, the largest single penalty meted out to a bank following the strengthening of the Central Bank's administrative sanctions powers (ASP) in 2013. Ulster Bank admitted the breaches.

The Central Bank is currently working through a pipeline of AML and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) investigations.

It is understood that banks, insurers and international money transfer companies are all included.

The Central Bank has imposed fines of almost €50m since 2006. However €10m of these - representing €5m fines imposed on both Quinn Insurance (in administration) and the former Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS) - were waived in the public interest.

The Law Reform Commission (LRC) is finalising a report on Ireland's Regulatory Enforcement and Corporate Offences which were widely criticised in the wake of the financial crisis. Last week, Derville Rowland, Director of Enforcement at the Central Bank, told the Law Reform Commission (LRC) it is vital that regulators are afforded the necessary tools to respond in a proportionate, measured and strategic manner.

"These must be comprehensive, coherent and well-drafted," said Rowland at the LRC's Annual Conference on Regulatory Powers and Corporate Offences.

The Bank will make appropriate use of all available enforcement and regulatory powers to pursue and promote these important outcomes," Rowland told delegates which included a number of senior judges.

Sunday Indo Business

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