Royal Bank of Scotland Group
"Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC agreed to pay $100 million in penalties over allegations that it violated U.S. sanctions against Iran, Sudan and other nations, in the latest move by regulators to crack down on money laundering. Federal and state agencies said Wednesday that RBS took steps to prevent payments it processed from being flagged as subject to sanctions. In many cases, RBS removed 'material references' to U.S.-sanctioned locations or individuals from payment messages, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. 'This action demonstrates our continuing efforts to aggressively enforce U.S. sanctions laws against Iran and other sanctioned parties,' Adam Szubin, director of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in a statement. In addition to the Treasury, RBS also settled with the Federal Reserve and the New York Department of Financial Services. The Financial Conduct Authority, RBS's U.K. regulator, assisted in the agencies' investigation of the bank. RBS said Wednesday that the fines stemmed from an investigation it initiated in 2010. The bank said it 'deeply regrets these failings' and has taken several steps to "address the shortcomings" in its controls, including reviewing all customer relationships in relevant countries, terminating certain client relationships, beefing up its anti-money-laundering compliance teams and other steps. RBS will pay $50 million to the federal agencies and $50 million to the New York agency, which agreed to not take further action against the bank over the alleged violations covered by the agreement. The agreement also calls for RBS to beef up its policies to prevent such activity from occurring. RBS has terminated several employees who allegedly engaged in the misconduct, including its former head of Asia, Middle East & Africa global banking services and the former head of its money-laundering prevention unit for corporate markets, according to New York officials. The bank declined to comment or assist a reporter in contacting those people. In addition, eight employees had bonuses taken back…The Treasury Department said RBS interfered with U.S. sanctions from at least 2005 to 2009. Separately, the New York Department of Financial Services said in a consent order that, from at least 2002 to 2011, RBS conducted more than 3,500 transactions through New York banks involving Sudanese and Iranian customers and beneficiaries. The U.S. Justice Department and U.S. District Attorney's Office in New York have completed criminal investigations of RBS and aren't taking action against the company, RBS said." (Wall Street Jounral, "RBS to Pay $100 Million Over Alleged Violations of U.S. Sanctions," 12/11/13)
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group owns ABN AMRO, which also does business with Iran. U.S.-based Citizens Financial Group also is owned by The Royal Bank of Scotland Group.
"ABN AMRO Bank, now owned by Royal Bank of Scotland Group, agreed in 2006 pay $70 million in penalties assessed by U.S. regulators related to alleged dealings with entities from Iran and Libya." (Daily Mail, "Obama to target Lloyd's of London in plan for tougher sanctions on Iran," 10/2/09)
"A new line of investigation has focused on banking relationships. In December, ABN Amro paid $80m in penalties after it was found to have violated rules on dealing with Iran and Libya, while UBS paid $100m in 2004 after admitting breaches of rules on transactions with Iran, Libya, Cuba and Serbia. Both ABN Amro and UBS have reduced their Iran operations, as has Credit Suisse. But it has emerged that the Justice Department is probing three more banks - HSBC, Standard Chartered and France's BNP Paribas... The Royal Bank of Scotland also operates in Iran, but it is not believed to be the subject of any US regulatory interest." (The Independent, “UK banks caught in Iran sanctions probe,” 2/5/06)
Iran’s carmaking and shipbuilding sectors are growing quicker than domestic banks can keep up with. In order to function, these industries rely on European loans. Banks providing them include HSBC, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, Standard Chartered and Royal Bank of Scotland. Some, however, have begun to show caution. Swiss bank UBS has said it was stopping business in Iran because the commercial climate looked unattractive. Credit Suisse has said it will not offer loans to new Iranian clients. (Daily Times, “Iran’s bravado on UN sanctions may ring hollow,” 2/2/06)