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Ireland’s Central Bank Hits Western Union with €1.75m in Fines

Aarti Maharaj | May 20, 2015

The Central Bank of Ireland has imposed a hefty fineon Western Union Payment Services in Ireland after the company failed to comply with anti-money laundering and terrorist financing (AML/CFT) regulations, said the Central Bank.

This move by Ireland’s Central Bank comes at a time when governments and regulatory watchdogs are cracking down on AML/CFT efforts around the globe.

Under Irish regulations, companies are required to maintain proper controls that can effectively track and mitigate anti-money laundering risks. But the Central Bank said that Western Union failed to show that it had “robust” controls that identify “suspicious activity.”

Derville RowlandThe Central Bank’s director of enforcement, Derville Rowland, said that the fines levied on the financial service giant have increased after similar failures occurred in the firm’s controls. In addition to the laundry list of violations, the lack of effective customer due diligence and comprehensive training of third parties resulted in the hefty fines.

“The level of the €1.75m fine imposed reflects a significant increase to penalties imposed previously by the Central Bank for failures in respect of a firm’s anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism procedures,” said Rowland.

The firm’s third-party compliance program has been investigated by the Central Bank as well. When a vendor is contracted, it is expected that companies put in place the appropriate outsourcing controls—this was not the case at Western Union, the Bank said.

“The obligations imposed on firms and management apply equally in situations where activity is outsourced on an intra-group basis as it does to situations where activity is outsourced externally.”