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Citi ads banned in Japan as regulator cracks down

THE JAPANESE financial regulator has launched disciplinary proceedings against US bank Citigroup over allegations that its policy to prevent money laundering is not strict enough.<br /><br />Japan&rsquo;s Financial Services Agency (FSA) ordered the bank to suspend all advertising of its products for one month at its 35 retail branches in the country. The regulator said the bank had not erected proper systems to prevent &ldquo;suspicious transactions&rdquo;, adding that the bank&nbsp; had shown &ldquo;a lack of understanding of the rules&rdquo;. <br /><br />Citigroup Japan apologised to clients and said it was &ldquo;determined to take necessary measures on the issues&rdquo;.<br /><br />It is the second time Citigroup has suffered such a punishment, after its private banking operations were suspended in 2004 over similar allegations. The impasse was only resolved when former chief executive Chuck Prince flew to Japan to make a public apology, bowing for seven seconds in atonement.