Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath has said that the fact that three of the State’s main High Street banks have now been fined in the past eight months suggests a serious problem in the sector in implementing anti-money laundering and terrorist financing compliance measures.
“Today’s decision to fine Bank of Ireland follows on from Ulster Bank’s €3.2 million fine last October, and last month’s €2.3 fine of AIB.
“This new finding is extremely worrying and there now appears to be a trend emerging in the Irish banking sector suggesting that compliance and governance measures are not up to scratch. The Central Bank and the Minister must now assess whether this is a systemic issue across the industry and whether it applies to other areas of regulatory compliance.
“If banks are not taking their due diligence and anti-money laundering responsibilities seriously, the question must be asked: what other areas of governance are they failing to adhere to?
“The Central Bank again need to be commended for taking a tough stance on these failures but it is yet another embarrassing development for the Irish banking industry in a time where it is trying to recover its reputation.
“Money laundering and terrorist financing are very serious crimes. The Gardaí and Revenue Commissioners can only tackle them when they are reported in a timely manner.
“If we want to stamp it out, the banks must do their job and report it as soon as it becomes known to them.
“If the banks are to take their obligations seriously, they must allocate the necessary resources to investigate suspicious activity.
“Fines of this nature undoubtedly damage the reputation of Irish banks. While progress has been made in recent years regarding their international standing, findings of this nature from the Central Bank do not help the situation.
“It is crucially important that all banks pay attention to their due diligence and governance obligations, allocate the required resources, and report suspicious activities in a timely manner,” concluded McGrath.