By: Editorial Staff, Date: August 10th, 2021

As governments across the world are strengthening their efforts to crack down on money laundering, more and more financial institutions are finding themselves in the crosshairs. Recently, the British digital bank Monzo became the latest target of an anti-money laundering (AML) investigation, with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announcing in May of this year that it was investigating Monzo for potential breaches of British AML rules and financial crime controls. 

The investigation alleges that the breaches of AML rules took place between October 2018 and April 2021. Currently, the investigation is still in its early stages. If the investigation concludes that Monzo did indeed breach British AML and financial crime control rules, though, the company and its executives could face both civil and criminal charges. 

In a statement, Monzo said that it is fully cooperating with the investigation. “The prevention of financial crime is an issue that affects the entire banking industry and one which Monzo is taking extremely seriously,” the statement when on to say. “Over the past year, we have made major investments in our controls in this area as a priority and will continue to invest heavily in this part of the business. The FCA’s investigation remains at an early stage. Our operations are unaffected and we remain committed to serving our customers.”

Monzo certainly isn’t the only institution that has popped up on the FCA’s radar for potential AML rules breaches. Last May, the FCA sent letters to numerous chief executives of retail banks in the UK, warning that they may need to assess potential gaps in their AML checks to avoid investigation and possible criminal charges. These warnings came only months after the FCA announced that it would be commencing criminal proceedings against NatWest – a retail bank in the UK that was found to  violating AML rules. Now, depending on what the FCA’s latest investigation reveals, Monzo may be the next British bank to find itself in court defending charges of AML violations.

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