Malta: Satabank Fined A Record €3 Million Over Money Laundering Breaches

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Satabank has been slapped with a record €3 million fine for widespread breaches of money laundering laws.

The bank has been on regulators’ radar ever since a joint inspection by the Malta Financial Services Authority and FIAU last year found extremely weak structures in place to prevent its clients from using it to launder potential proceeds of criminal activity.

This led regulators to come down hard on the bank, freezing all its funds and appointing EY to administer its assets. Police and financial regulators have since been combing through suspicious transactions with potential links to fuel smuggling, drug trafficking and trade with sanctioned countries.

One source familiar with Satabank’s operations said the bank felt hard done by the multi-million euro fine, particularly given the way Pilatus Bank had escaped any sanction by the FIAU.

Contacted about the FIAU fine, a bank representative said Satabank continues to operate under close supervision, and is focused on returning funds to customers under the controlled release procedure instructed by the MFSA.

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