UK financial watchdog fines Santander $132 million

A Santander office building in London.

Luke MacGregor | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority said on Friday it had fined Santander £107.7 million ($132 million) for “serious and persistent” gaps in the Spanish bank’s anti-money laundering controls for more than 560,000 business customers.

The FCA said that between 31 December 2012 and 18 October 2017, Santander’s U.K. arm failed to properly oversee and manage its anti-money laundering systems.

Santander had ineffective systems to adequately verify the information provided by customers about the business they would be doing, the FCA said.

“In one case, a new customer opened an account as a small translations business with expected monthly deposits of 5,000 pounds. Within six months it was receiving millions in deposits, and swiftly transferring the money to separate accounts,” Mark Steward, FCA executive director for enforcement, said in a statement.

Santander U.K. said it accepted the FCA’s civil regulatory findings in relation to anti-money laundering controls in its business banking division.

The FCA investigation has now concluded and no further action is anticipated by the U.K. watchdog or any other authority in respect of this matter, the bank said.

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