The Financial Services Authority (FSA) imposes a fine of ₤5.6 million against four (4) members of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBSG), namely: RBS Plc, NatWest, Ulster Bank and Coutts & Co., for failing to adequately screen their customers and the payments they made and received between the period 15 December 2007 and 31 December 2008. The 2007 Money Laundering Regulations (Regulations) provides that UK firms must maintain appropriate policies and procedures to prevent funds or financial services from being made available to those persons or corporations included in the HM Treasury sanctions list. The RBSG itself processed the largest volume of foreign payments in UK in 2007 raising the question that it could have facilitated transactions involving sanctions targets, including terrorist financing.
The fine is the biggest imposed so far by FSA as well as the first fine to have been imposed under the Regulations. The FSA wants to send the signal that the screening procedures enunciated under the law must be seriously followed to protect the integrity of the UK financial services sector.