Banking group fined over lax controls

Royal Bank of Scotland has been fined £5.6m after lax controls put the banking group at risk of laundering money for terrorists.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) said part-nationalised RBS and its NatWest, Ulster Bank and Coutts arms all failed to screen their customers and payments against the UK financial sanctions list between December 2007 and December 2008.

The breaches of money laundering regulations resulted in an "unacceptable" risk that the group could have carried out transactions involving sanctions targets, the FSA said.

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Director of enforcement and financial crime Margaret Cole said: "The involvement of UK financial institutions in providing funds, economic resources or financial services to designated persons on the sanctions list undermines the integrity of the UK's financial services sector.

"By failing to screen relevant customers and payments against the HM Treasury sanctions list, RBS left itself open to the risk that it was facilitating terrorist financing."

The banking group would have faced an even larger 8m fine if it had not co-operated with the FSA.