BNP Paribas in Belgium has been slapped with a €15 million fine by the country's central bank, the National Bank (NBB), for significant anti-money laundering (AML) failings. The NBB found that the bank had not implemented adequate measures to combat money laundering between 2014 and 2019.
Belgium's largest bank, BNP Paribas Fortis, was found to have failed in developing effective internal control policies and had a flawed verification process for customers involved in precious metals trading. Inspectors discovered egregious flaws in the bank's protocols for detecting and reporting potentially illicit transactions.
The NBB noted that BNP Paribas Fortis used incomplete and inappropriate transaction-monitoring rules that did not properly account for risks associated with specific financial products, clientele, payment destinations, and delivery methods. The bank's measures for identifying suspicious transactions were deemed insufficient.
In a statement, BNP Paribas Fortis acknowledged that the investigation by the NBB pertained to a period before June 2019, and the reported shortcomings had since been resolved. The bank emphasized that these deficiencies did not have any negative impact on customers or third parties, as confirmed by the NBB's decision.
Since the investigation, BNP Paribas Fortis has embarked on a comprehensive remediation path to strengthen procedures, systems, and internal control measures related to anti-money laundering prevention. The bank expressed its commitment to applying the highest standards in combating money laundering and contributing to the security of the financial system.
The fine imposed on BNP Paribas Fortis serves as a stern reminder to financial institutions regarding the importance of robust anti-money laundering measures. Authorities are closely scrutinizing banks' compliance efforts, emphasizing the need for thorough risk assessment, effective transaction monitoring, and prompt reporting of suspicious activities to combat money laundering effectively.
By fLEXI tEAM