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The chairman of NatWest bank has apologised to shareholders for failing to implement adequate anti-money laundering measures between the years 2012 and 2016.
Howard Davies, the chairman of NatWest, warned that the Russia-Ukraine conflict is likely to impact energy and food bills, contributing to a rise in inflation.
NatWest was fined £264 million after pleading guilty last year over breaches of anti-money laundering regulations.
The chairman told shareholders at the bank’s annual meeting: “NatWest Group takes its responsibility to prevent and detect financial crime extremely seriously.
“We deeply regret that we failed adequately to monitor one of our customers between 2012 and 2016 to prevent money laundering.
“And while the case has now come to an end, we continue to invest significant resources in the ongoing fight against financial crime and fraud.”
His apology comes as the chairman warned the upcoming year would be difficult for customers with the cost-of-living crisis.
He said: “Inflation, which was already on a steep trajectory at the end of 2021, looks set to continue to rise as the reverberations from the invasion of Ukraine have a direct impact on prices – especially of energy and commodities.
“We are very conscious of the effects this will have on the increased cost of living for many of our customers, and we are committed to helping them where we can.”
Updating shareholders, which includes the UK Government with a stake of 48%, chief executive Alison Rose said it was supporting humanitarian efforts in Ukraine with £2.5 million in donations from the bank.
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