Following NatWest pleading guilty to failing to prevent alleged money laundering of nearly £400m, anti-money laundering specialists at SmartSearch offer comments
John Dobson, CEO of SmartSearch said, “To have a bank the size of NatWest pleading guilty to money laundering charges is unprecedented, and hopefully will be a wake-up call for the industry.
“Change is long overdue. Despite tools being readily available to prevent this illegal activity, currently 99 percent of ill-gotten gains are successfully laundered by criminals, and regulated businesses need to do much more to prevent this.
“If the moral obligation to stop terrorists, drug smugglers and sex traffickers legitimising their money isn’t enough motivation, through this case the FCA has shown it is willing to severely punish those who don’t take their responsibilities seriously.
“While the fine hasn’t been announced, it is almost certain to be more than the £400m that NatWest allowed to be laundered through it’s systems.
“To genuinely prevent money laundering, regulated businesses need to be much more proactive in doing away with outdated systems and methods of ID verification, and invest in technology that is fit for purpose.
“The tech has long been available to quickly and efficiently verify customers and prevent this type of activity, banks just need to adopt it. Without disrupting the customers’ experience, this software will flag the cases that need further attention and save the banks time and effort.
“Banks can get set-up quickly and easily, so there is no excuse for them not to shore-up their anti-money laundering defences.”