Intesa penalty brings Central Bank fines to €6.8m

Italian life assurance firm Intesa Sanpaola has been fined €1m by the Central Bank for breaching money laundering and anti-terrorism laws — bringing total fines issued by the watchdog for breaches of money laundering rules this year to more than €6.8m.

The Central Bank said Intesa was fined €1m and reprimanded for four breaches of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering & Terrorist Financing) Act, 2010. Intesa admits the four breaches, the watchdog added.

There were “significant failures in Intesa’s controls, policies and procedures in respect of anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing” related to risk assessment, customer due diligence and suspicious activities, the Central Bank said.

At the time of the breaches, it sold life assurance products in the Italian and Slovakian markets and was authorised to carry on life assurance business in Ireland, the Central Bank added. Head of enforcement investigations, Brenda O’Neill said: “This case, and the level of fine imposed, reinforces the requirement that firms in all sectors must adopt robust and effective policies and procedures to prevent and detect money laundering and terrorist financing.”

The Central Bank said it judged the “seriousness with which the conduct is viewed, particularly given Intesa’s status as Ireland’s largest insurer operating on a cross border basis” as a factor in its imposition of a €1m fine.

The Central Bank investigation into Intesa is now closed.

Bank of Ireland was fined €3.15m in May this year after admitting 12 breaches of the act, while AIB was fined almost €2.3m in April after admitting six breaches. Ulster Bank was fined €3.32m in 2016 for similar breaches.

The Central Bank said it has levied €61m in fines since 2006, with 110 fines imposed in total. This brings it to over €6.8m in fines this year. Other fines imposed in recent years include a €4.5m charge against Springboard Mortgages for its failings in relation to the tracker mortgage scandal. Some 15 lenders have been caught up in the scandal which is expected to affect upwards of 30,000 customers wrongly put on more expensive loans when the Central Bank completes its review of two million tracker mortgages.

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