NatWest has been fined £265 million ($350.9 million) for failing to prevent the laundering of nearly £400 million, in the first criminal money laundering case against a British bank.
A gang deposited hundreds of millions of pounds in cash at around 50 branches of NatWest, prosecutors for Britain’s financial regulator said on Monday, with at least one outlet receiving more than £40 million.
Couriers walked through the streets of towns across the country carrying bags of cash they deposited at the bank’s branches before the scheme was busted by police, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) told the judge at a London crown court.
One person in Walsall, central England, arrived at a branch with so much cash — £700,000 ($926,000) — that it burst the bin liners it was being carried in. The money had to be repacked in hessian bags, the FCA’s lawyer Clare Montgomery said, adding the cash did not fit in the branch’s floor-to-ceiling safes. The state-backed bank pleaded guilty in October to three criminal charges of not monitoring customer accounts adequately between 2012 and 2016.