Global anti-money laundering (AML) fines at banks and financial services firms soared to $2.2bn (£1.6bn) last year, fives times higher than in 2019, as regulators have stuck to tougher lines on the industry, according to reports.
In its latest review Kroll, a governance and risk consultancy, found that watchdogs levied almost $1bn of AML fines in 17 large actions in the first half of 2021. As a result global AML penalties are on track to hit last year’s total of $2.2bn, according to the Financial Times, up from £444m in 2019.
“Investigations were not paused for Covid-19,” Claire Simm, head of financial services compliance and regulation at Kroll, reportedly said.
“The value of fines has surged,” Simm continued, “as regulators impose tougher penalties, continuing to send the message that despite any obstacles, enforcement remains a top priority.”
The majority of the fines relate to failures in AML management, inadequate suspicious activity monitoring and customer due diligence, as has been the trend since the study began in 2016.