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Big money fines emphasize focus on AML compliance

Joe Mont | February 21, 2018

February has been a very bad month for anti-money laundering compliance. A series of high-profile AML failings offer evidence that, despite the regulatory retreat favored by the Trump administration and its new agency heads, big fines will still follow blatant rule violations.

A perfect illustration of the current landscape of financial crimes is the California-based subsidiary of Coöperatieve Rabobank U.A. It was gobsmacked earlier this month by a $368.7 million fine for laundering money for known Mexican drug cartels.

The bank pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy charge for impairing, impeding, and obstructing a government investigation by concealing deficiencies in its anti-money laundering program. It was also accused of obstructing regulatory examinations and monitoring by the Department of the Treasury and the Comptroller of the Currency.

The bank’s deficiencies were the subject of an earlier cease and desist order in December 2013.

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