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Portuguese bank fined in the US under money laundering laws

bpiPortugal’s ‘Banco Português de Investimento’ (BPI) has been fine by a US agency over the bank's deliberate lack of attention to anti money laundering controls.

The financial regulator, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network said the Portuguese bank violated internal control mechanisms for money laundering and that BPI "had enough warnings; there is no excuse.”

The fine was a small but embarrassing one and has attracted worldwide media attention as the keywords 'bank' and 'Portuguese' are much in the limelight currently.

The fine is $125,000, just over €95,000, for "willful and deliberate violations.”

The US agency added that the Portuguese bank admitted having violated some rules of the Bank Secrecy Act, legislation that requires financial institutions to cooperate with regulators in detecting money laundering mechanisms, therefore BPI had accepted the fine.

"This was just a failed internal process, the bank recognised this," said an official source at BPI. The failures "have been corrected in the past year since the last assessment.”

A press release from the US agency stated, "despite repeatedly being told by regulators in 2005 and 2006 of serious concerns in relation to its anti-money laundering program,(sic) BPI failed to address these and other deficiencies."

A 2011 survey "found the same problems that had been detected five years ago, when state and federal authorities issued warnings and requested that corrective actions were taken by the bank.”

The regulator found there to be a failure within BPI in three areas; internal control, external audit and training.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network says that "officials at BPI enabled clients to make transactions without checking and retaining certain identifying information and allowed clients to make money transfers using expired identification documents."

Jennifer Shasky Calvery, the director of the US agency said that "BPI had received enough warnings from state and federal regulators and even its independent auditor."

"There is absolutely no excuse for a financial institution to ignore such warnings and make the American financial system vulnerable to money laundering and terrorist financing,' added Calvery.

BPI stressed that the relationship between banks and the American regulators is healthy, as in 2013 the agency had given BPI permission to open offices in Newark, New Jersey, and Fall River, Massachusetts.

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Comments  

0 #1 Santoscarlos 2018-10-30 12:49
You should also look at how they handled the aid money for the fires in 2017, no smoke without fire

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