Monday 22 March 2021 7:59 am

NatWest £365m money laundering case linked to separate case involving infamous gold dealer James Stunt

Criminal money laundering charges against NatWest are linked to a separate case against 13 individuals based in cities around the country.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) started a criminal action against NatWest last week, making it the first bank to be charged under a 2007 money laundering law.

Read more: FCA starts criminal proceedings against NatWest for money laundering

The FCA accused NatWest of failing to monitor suspect activity by a client that deposited about £365m in its accounts over five years, of which £264m was in cash.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) first told Reuters that the FCA’s proceedings against NatWest involved the same accounts linked to the 13 individuals it has charged separately with money laundering offenses.

Fowler Oldfield, a gold dealership in Bradford that has since been liquidated, was the NatWest customer linked to the FCA action, according to reports.

Among the individuals the CPS has charged are former gold dealer James Stunt, who gained notoriety for his lavish lifestyle before going bankrupt, and two former Fowler Oldfield directors, Gregory Frankel and Daniel Rawson.

NatWest declined to comment on the CPS statement.

Read more: Treasury sells £1.1bn NatWest shares back to the banking group

Law firm Janes Solicitors, which is representing Stunt, declined to comment. Ian Lewis, a partner at JMW Solicitors which is representing Frankel and Rawson, said: “We are defending these criminal proceedings vigorously.”

When news broke of the investigation NatWest said it took preventing money laundering “extremely seriously” and was cooperating with the FCA investigation. If convicted, it could face an unlimited fine.

Fowler Oldfield was shut down following a police raid in 2016 and its assets are being held by police, a liquidators’ report in December 2020 said.

Stunt’s Mayfair-based gold bullion business Stunt & Co – which once supplied gold and silver souvenir coins to Formula One – has also been liquidated, according to Companies House.

It was raided by police at the same time as Fowler Oldfield, according to media reports.

NatWest representatives are due to appear in court in the FCA case next month. The CPS case is listed for trial in April next year.

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