Lax laundering controls cost Turkish Bank

Marion Dakers
THE UK unit of Turkish Bank has been slapped with a £294,000 fine for breaching money laundering regulations, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) said yesterday.

Turkish Bank (UK), whose parent firm is established in Northern Cyprus, failed to put in place anti-money laundering safeguards when providing services for overseas financial institutions, despite warnings from the FSA.

The watchdog said the failings were “not deliberate or reckless” but that the firm nevertheless “fell short of the standards we expect”.

The FSA paid a visit to Turkish Bank’s offices in 2010 as part of a broader review of how banks were dealing with the risk of money laundering.

Yesterday’s penalty comes weeks after HSBC was forced into an apology and potentially enormous fine in the US for its lax safeguards in Mexico.

“Turkish Bank’s correspondent banking business made it particularly vulnerable to money laundering risks and its failings exposed UK financial services to the possibility that money could be laundered through the UK,” said the FSA’s acting director of enforcement, Tracey McDermott.

The bank’s fine was cut in half due to its early co-operation.