The anti-money laundering controls of a UK branch of the Spanish banking institution revealed’serious and persistent gaps.
Britain has fined the British arm of Spanish banking giant Santander nearly £108 million ($132 million) after exposing “serious and persistent loopholes” in its anti-money laundering controls.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), in a Friday statement, stated that Santander UK PLC had failed to properly supervise and manage its anti-money laundering systems between December 2012 and October 2017.
More than 560,000 customers of businesses were affected by the outages.
Santander did not contest the findings and was therefore eligible for a 30 percent discount, otherwise the fine would have totaled nearly £154 million ($188 million).
“Santander’s poor management of their AML systems, and their inept efforts to address them, created a long-term risk of money laundering or financial crime,” said Mark Steward (the FCA’s executive director of enforcement and market surveillance). .
“As part a commitment to prevent financial crime and reduce it, we continue to take actions against companies that fail implement anti-money laundering controls.”
Santander UK responded by accepting the conclusions and apologizing, stating that it had fully cooperated.
CEO Mike Regnier stated that “Santander takes its responsibilities in relation to financial crime extremely seriously.”
“We are deeply sorry to the AML-related control problems in our corporate bank division.”
He Santander UK acknowledged that it had taken immediate action to address the issues, but said that its systems needed to be stronger.
“We have since made significant changes to address this by reviewing our financial crime technology, systems and processes.”
The division now employs more than 4,400 people and is a key focus of Santander, the Spanish parent company.