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Guaranty Trust Bank Fined $815,000 by U.K. FCA for Failings

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Aug. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Guaranty Trust Bank Plc’s British unit was fined 525,000 pounds ($815,000) by the U.K. markets regulator for failing to have controls in place to prevent money laundering.

The Lagos, Nigeria-based lender’s unit failed to document risks posed by higher-risk customers when it set up a London office in 2008, the Financial Conduct Authority said in an e-mailed statement today.

“Banks are at the front line in ensuring the proceeds of crime do not enter the U.K. financial system,” Tracey McDermott, director of enforcement at the FCA, said in the statement. “GT Bank’s failures were serious and systemic and resulted in an unacceptable risk of handling the proceeds of crime.”

Guaranty Trust Bank opened a U.K. office in 2008 offering retail and wholesale banking to private and corporate clients, according to the regulator.

“We have fully co-operated with the FCA in its investigation and we have accepted the findings,” Ade Adebiyi, managing director of the U.K. unit, said in an e-mailed statement. “The FCA found no evidence that GTB UK did in fact handle any proceeds of crime.”

The bank received the FCA’s standard 30 percent discount for settling early.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy Hodges in London at jhodges17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lindsay Fortado at lfortado@bloomberg.net

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