Coutts bank fined by UK watchdog

Coutts bank fined by UK watchdog

LONDON - Agence France-Presse
Coutts bank fined by UK watchdog

Queen Elizabeth II is seen at a March 23 visit to the Manchester convention center.

Britain’s financial watchdog on March 26 handed Coutts, the private bank which counts Queen Elizabeth II as a client, an £8.75-million fine for failing to ensure it was not handling laundered money.

The Financial Services Authority said it had fined the company, a division of the state-rescued Royal Bank of Scotland, because it did not have the proper checks in place when it started relationships with high-risk customers who were considered vulnerable to corruption.

“The FSA has fined Coutts & Company £8.75 million ($13.9 million) for failing to take reasonable care to establish and maintain effective anti-money laundering (AML) systems and controls relating to high risk customers, including politically exposed persons,” it said in a statement.

“The failings at Coutts were serious, systemic and were allowed to persist for almost three years. They resulted in an unacceptable risk of Coutts handling the proceeds of crime,” the FSA added.

The failings took place between December 2007 and November 2010, according to the watchdog, which had visited Coutts in October 2010 as part of a review into banks’ management of high money-laundering risk situations.