Kicking Off 2024: The Biggest AML Penalties of 2023

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Top AML Penalties of 2023
Top AML Penalties of 2023

As financial criminals find new ways to launder money, many banks, fintechs and other businesses are unable to keep up resulting in massive fines. While the total dollar value of AML fines in 2023 was somewhat smaller than 2022 it is still one of the largest in years. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the most significant fines in 2023.

Top AML Penalties of 2023

Binance: $4 Billion

Binance Holdings Limited, the operator of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance.com, pleaded guilty to various violations, including breaches of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and failure to register as a money-transmitting business. The imposed fine exceeds $4 billion, underlining the gravity of non-compliance in the crypto industry. Founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao’s resignation emphasizes the importance of maintaining an effective anti-money laundering program.

Crown Resorts: $450 Million

Facing a staggering $450 million penalty from AUSTRAC for past anti-money laundering (AML) failures at its casinos, Crown Resorts stands at a critical juncture. The proposed sum, if approved by the Federal Court, would mark the third-highest corporate penalty in Australian history. CEO Ciarán Carruthers asserts the organization’s commitment to rectify transgressions and uphold AML laws.

Deutsche Bank: $186 Million

Deutsche Bank and its U.S. affiliates incurred a $186 million fine from the Federal Reserve for inadequate efforts in addressing money laundering control issues. The Federal Reserve warns of more severe fines if deficiencies are not promptly rectified. Deutsche Bank commits to enhancing risk and data management systems to address the identified weaknesses.

Wells Fargo: $97m 

Wells Fargo will pay two fines totaling $97.8M for deficient oversight of sanctions compliance risks. The bank’s inadequate oversightenabled it to breach U.S. sanctions rules by providing a trade finance platform called Eximbills to a foreign lender that used Eximbills to process around $532M in prohibited transactions from 2010 to 2015. In turn, the Fed fined WFC a civil money penalty of $67.8M.

Specifically, the foreign bank used Eximbills “to process non-U.S. dollar trade finance instruments outside the U.S. financial system,” the release said. The transactions involved parties in jurisdictions that were subject to sanctions regulations.

Bank of Queensland: $50 Million

Regulators discover the Bank of Queensland’s breach of prudential norms and failure to adhere to AML regulations, resulting in a potential $50 million criminal penalty. An independent contract with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and AUSTRAC mandates additional funds retention until corrective measures are implemented.

Final Word

The regulatory landscape continues to evolve, emphasizing the imperative for financial entities to prioritize compliance with AML regulations. AI-powered AML can ensure that banks and fintechs are able to grow efficiently and effectively while remaining compliant and avoiding significant fines.

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