The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) on Tuesday said it imposed a fine of $3.02 million Dh11.1 million) on the bank Mirabaud (Middle East) Limited for having inadequate anti-money laundering (AML) systems and controls between June 2018 and October 2021.
The fine includes the disgorgement of $975,000 (Dh3.58 million), which represents Mirabaud’s economic benefit from its contraventions in the form of fees and commission. Mirabaud agreed to settle the matter, reducing the fine from $3.9 million (Dh14.322 million).
The DFSA said it found that weaknesses in Mirabaud’s AML systems and controls which meant that it processed transactions, for a group of nine interconnected client accounts managed by the same relationship manager, which raised a number of red flags related to suspicions of money laundering. The activities of the relevant customer accounts exhibited characteristics similar to those commonly seen in the layering phase of a money laundering operation, including:
The DFSA said it did not make a finding that any of these transactions were in fact money laundering.
However, the activity highlighted significant weaknesses in Mirabaud’s systems and controls and presented key indicators of potential money laundering that Mirabaud should have recognised and acted upon.
Although Mirabaud put in place AML policies and procedures, they were ineffective, it said.
DFSA added that when processing transactions for this group of interconnected customers, Mirabaud failed to consider information it held about them, including that which had been obtained as part of the bank’s customer due diligence. As a result, Mirabaud processed a significant volume of transactions for these customers, both in quantity and value, over almost three and a half years, despite the transactions being:
DFSA said these weaknesses also meant that Mirabaud failed to identify and report suspicious transactions, including transactions stopped by its compliance department due to inadequate responses to its enquiries. It also failed to revisit customer due diligence information it held about the interconnected customers when its accuracy and adequacy had been called into question.
A statement issued by DFSA said that it also found that Mirabaud failed to obtain suitable evidence of customers’ experience of financial markets, which was needed for the customers to be classified as Professional Clients. The DFSA identified a number of clients whose claimed experience of financial markets was based solely on an undocumented assessment of the client’s experience by the relationship manager seeking to onboard the client; the same or similar explanations as to why customers could not provide evidence of their experience were used repeatedly, calling into question their credibility.
The relationship manager responsible for these customers has since left Mirabaud, as have the individuals that held the roles of senior executive officer and chief compliance officer during the time these failings occurred.
“By failing to ensure that its AML systems and controls were effective, Mirabaud did not recognise clear indicators of potential money laundering or take the appropriate action when it had concerns about customers’ activity.
The level of penalty imposed on Mirabaud reflects the importance of AML compliance in maintaining confidence in the integrity of the DIFC,” said Ian Johnston, Chief Executive of the DFSA.
These quick and easy exercises can help sitting professionals relieve stress, reduce muscle tension, and stay active throughout the day
Procrastination can be a difficult habit to break, but it's definitely possible. By following these tips, you can start to take charge of your time and achieve your goals
Strong spending by tourists from the Emirates on shopping is attributed to the high per capita income of the residents.
Knowing your skin type is key to finding the right skincare products to help you look and feel your best