Satabank Penalized with €851,000 for Non-Compliance
Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) on Statabank has decided to fine the bank the sum of €851,000 after their appeal. The fine will now be 10 percent of the bank’s turnover rate.
Earlier this year in March, the bank was fined €3.7 million when it was found with the breaches in the anti-money laundering regulations. Malta Financial Service Authority and FIAU previously found many violations of the AML regulations and no strong measures were being taken to prevent the clients from launder money through them.
This puts the bank on the radar for financial crimes authority. This resulted in stringent actions against them by regulators and 12,000 accounts were frozen. EY was appointed to analyze all the assets of the bank. Police found out the suspicious transactions that fueled drug trafficking, smuggling, and trade with sanctioned countries. Billions worth of money has been passed through Satabank in suspicious activities. Since then, €130 million worth of reports on suspicious transactions has been found by the experts. The banking license of the bank suspended.
FIAU exposed “very serious and systematic violation” of anti-money-laundering regulations but it had also shed light on the bank’s “lack of commitment…to take anti-money-laundering requirements seriously”.
The bank defended itself by claiming that they were in the initial stages of operation and they were working towards developing the system. However, it took more time to develop the system than they had predicted.
After the proper investigation, it was discovered that the bank was in operations for three years and was able to gather over 150,000 customers. The regulators state that the penalty should be either €5 million or ten percent of their business’s turnover annually. Based on this, the fine has been reduced to €851,000.