Topic: FCA fines Ghana International Bank Plc £5.8m for failings in its anti-money laundering controls
Subject of Enforcement: Ghana International Bank Plc
Date of Notice: 23/ 06/22
Overview: The FCA has fined Ghana International Bank Plc (GIB) £5,829,900 for poor anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing controls over its correspondent banking activities.
Penalty: £5,829,900 fine.
Original Notice: GIB provided correspondent banking services to overseas banks. This allowed them to provide products and services they would not otherwise be able to, including making payments in different currencies and across borders.
The FCA requires banks to do extra checks on their correspondent banking customers to reduce the higher risk of money laundering and terrorist financing associated with the service.
However, between 1 January 2012 and 31 December 2016, GIB did not adequately perform the additional checks required when it established relationships with the overseas banks and failed to demonstrate it had assessed those banks’ anti-money laundering controls. GIB also failed to undertake annual reviews of the information it held on the banks it had a relationship with, failed to give staff adequate training on how to scrutinise transactions properly and did not establish appropriate policies and procedures for staff.
In December 2016, the FCA visited GIB to review its financial crime controls. As a result of concerns identified during this visit, GIB voluntarily agreed not to take on new customers. This restriction remains in place. GIB continues to work with the FCA and an independent expert to improve its financial crime controls.
No evidence of actual money laundering was detected, though the risk of money laundering as a result of these deficient systems was significant. GIB did not dispute the FCA’s findings and agreed to settle at the earliest possible opportunity, which meant it qualified for a 30% discount. Otherwise, the FCA would have imposed a financial penalty of £8,328,500.
Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA, said:
‘Firms are gatekeepers of the financial system and have vital obligations to ensure they are not used to facilitate or perpetrate financial crime. These failings meant that GIB was unable to identify and assess the risks posed by its correspondent bank customers and properly scrutinise transactions worth £9.5 billion processed on their behalf during the relevant period. Ensuring firms strengthen their anti-money laundering controls and enforcing failures to comply remain high priorities for the FCA.’
Topic: FCA seeks re-trial in insider dealing case
Subject of Enforcement: Stuart Bayes and Jonathan Swann
Date of Notice: 22/06/22
Overview: The Financial Conduct Authority will pursue a re-trial of Stuart Bayes and Jonathan Swann for insider dealing offences.
Mr Bayes and Mr Swann were charged with insider dealing. Mr Bayes was also charged with improperly disclosing inside information, or encouraging another, whilst being an insider, to engage in dealing.
The alleged offending took place between 2 May 2016 and 10 June 2016 and involved trading in shares in British Polythene Industries plc (BPI), ahead of an announcement that RPC Group plc was to acquire BPI. During this period, Mr Bayes was employed by RPC Group plc, and Mr Swann worked as a tenancy support officer.
The total profit from the insider dealing was approximately £138,700.
Mr Bayes and Mr Swann appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 11 February 2021.
Insider dealing is punishable by a fine and/or up to 7 years’ imprisonment.
Penalty: Re trial for insider dealing
Original Notice: https://www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/fca-commences-criminal-proceedings-against-two-insider-dealing