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UK watchdog fines Nigeria's Guaranty Trust bank Stg£7.6M for significant AML failures

The UK subsidiary of Nigeria's Guaranty Trust Bank Stg was fined £7.6 million ($9.3 million) by Britain's financial watchdog for what it deemed to be more major shortcomings in its anti-money laundering systems and controls.

Internal and external AML deficiencies were repeatedly brought to GT Bank's attention, including by the FCA, but astonishingly, GT Bank refused to take the necessary steps to address them.

Tuesday, the watchdog issued a statement noting that Guaranty Trust Bank had not contested the findings and had decided to settle. This allowed the lender to receive a 30% decrease on the fine, which would have otherwise totaled £11 million.

Over the course of five years, from October 2014 to July 2019, it was determined that GT Bank failed to conduct proper customer risk assessments, frequently failing to assess or document the money laundering threats posed by its customers.

The bank also failed to adequately monitor consumer transactions and commercial interactions.

“These weaknesses were repeatedly highlighted to GT Bank by internal and external sources, including the FCA, but despite this, GT Bank failed to take appropriate action to fix them,” the FCA ruled.

In August 2013, the FCA fined GT Bank £525k for substantial and systemic failures in anti-money laundering controls.

Gbenga Alade, managing director of GT Bank UK, stated that the bank takes its anti-money laundering responsibilities very seriously and expressed sadness at the FCA's conclusions. He stated that the FCA has uncovered no genuine instances of money laundering suspicion.

“We would like to assure all our stakeholders and the general public that necessary steps have been taken to address and resolve the identified gaps,” Alade said in a statement.



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