NatWest bank has pleaded guilty to failing to prevent alleged money laundering of nearly £400m by one customer.

NatWest stated that it regretted not being able to adequately monitor, and prevent money laundering between 2012-2016 by any of its customers.

This offence was first committed by a British bank that is backed by the state, previously known as Royal Bank of Scotland.

At a court hearing, lawyers stated that NatWest would be subject to a substantial fine.

The case was brought by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which alleged the bank failed to monitor suspect activity by a client that deposited about £365m in its accounts over five years, of which £264m was in cash.

In March 2007, the FCA announced the first criminal case against a bank in accordance with a 2007 law on money laundering.

According to the FCA, NatWest did not adhere to anti-money laundering laws in relation to Fowler Oldfield Ltd’s account from 7 November 2013 to 23 June 2016.

Fowler Oldfield, a 100-year-old jeweller with a Bradford base was closed in 2016 after a raid by the police.

FCA prosecutor Clare Montgomery QC told Westminster magistrates that when Fowler Oldfield was taken on as a client by NatWest, its predicted turnover was said to be £15m per annum.

However, it deposited £365m over the space of almost five years.

The bank wouldn’t accept cash deposits, she said. However, it deposited £365m, with around £264m in cash.”

She said that at its height, Fowler Oldfield deposited up to £1.8m a day.

A court judge was informed that the most likely sentence for this offense is a large fine.

NatWest remains 55% taxpayer-owned after receiving a £45bn bailout at the height of the 2008 financial crisis.

Alison Rose, chief executive of NatWest said that “NatWest plays a crucial role in deterring and preventing financial crimes and we take very seriously our responsibility for preventing money laundering by third-parties.”

“In the years that have passed since, we have made significant investments and are stepping up our efforts to combat financial crime.

Jonathan Fisher, who is a Bright Line Law Senior Lawyer and specializes in money laundering, stated that the FCA has taken “a lot of scalps”.

The message to financial institutions was clear. A criminal investigation may be brought against you if your money laundering processes are flawed. NatWest had to accept the loss and should now be able to move on.

Continue reading at BBC…

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