The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today announced that it has lodged criminal proceedings against NatWest for money laundering offences.
The regulator said the bank had failed to show risk sensitive due diligence and monitoring of its relationships with customers for the purposes of preventing money laundering.
The case arose from the handling of funds deposited into accounts operated by a UK incorporated customer of NatWest.
The FCA alleged that large cash deposits of around £365m were paid into the customer’s accounts, of which around £264m was in cash.
NatWest’s systems and controls unit is under fire for allegedly failing to monitor and scrutinise this activity.
The watchdog said its action was the first under a 2007 UK money laundering law, and the first such prosecution against a bank under the same rules.
The bank released a statement this morning, which said that it has been cooperating with the FCA’s investigation.
“NatWest Group takes extremely seriously its responsibility to seek to prevent money laundering by third parties and accordingly has made significant, multi-year investments in its financial crime systems and controls,” the bank said.
NatWest is set to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 14 April. No individuals are being charged as part of the proceedings.