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China and Australia break AML records and Deutsche Bank pays $125M

China triples their AML related fines in 2020, Australian banks come in second for the highest value of fines and Deutsche Bank enters and ends another scandal.

Antonis Melis
January 15, 2021

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) issued 25 percent more fines in 2020 compared to previous years, with the total value almost 3 times higher than before.

Australian banks were often in the headlines last year which has put them just behind banks in the US for the highest value of fines received in 2020.

Deutsche Bank is also struggling to escape headlines as they enter a deferred prosecution agreement to corruption-based allegations.

More on these stories below.

China Tripled AML Penalties in 2020 Compared to 2019

In 2020, the PBOC issued nearly triple the amount of AML fines compared to the previous year, totalling CNY 628 million (£71 million).

According to Regulation Asia’s summary of PwC China’s report, most fines were handed to institutions and only a small amount, around CNY 20 million (£2.2 million), was directed towards individuals.

The PBOC issues 733 fines in total, which is a 25 percent increase from the previous year. These fines involved 417 institutions and their staff in 30 provinces and cities.

Despite the massive increase, when we consider the size of China it is likely that many institutions either got of lightly or did not receive a fine at all.

Find out more about these fines on Regulation Asia.

Australian banks get silver medal for fines

Australian banks managed to receive the second-highest total of fines from regulators by value in 2020, putting them just behind the United States.

It would be difficult to beat the United States as banks in the region amassed a total of $11.1 billion (£8 billion) in fines. However, Australia totalled $1 billion (£732 million), most of which came from the Westpac scandal.

Anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing incompetency’s were the biggest cause of the fines, as banks continue to struggle to bring their AML/CFT processes up to speed.

Legacy systems seemed to be their biggest downfall. Find out how to bring your compliance processes into the future with Napier’s Transaction Monitoring systems.

Deutsche Bank Will Pay $125 Million Over Bribery Violations

The bank that is now cutting ties with Trump is entering a deferred prosecution agreement to resolve charges that come from their efforts to win business in multiple countries.

For nearly seven years, Deutsche Bank were paying millions to consultants in countries like China, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Italy. These payments were listed as “referral fees” in the bank's records, but federal authorities in the US found that they were bribes paid to politically connected fixers that gave the bank access to foreign officials.

The bank agreed to pay more than $125 million (£91 million) to resolve the criminal and civil investigations into the payments and other practices.

“We take responsibility for these past actions, which took place between 2008 and 2017,” said Dan Hunter, a Deutsche Bank spokesman. “Our thorough internal investigations, and full cooperation with the D.O.J. and S.E.C. investigations of these matters, reflect our transparency and determination to put these matters firmly in the past.”

It seems the list of Deutsche Bank related scandals is endless. It will be interesting to see how many more weekly news blogs we mention them in.  

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