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Fed orders Commerzbank to fix money-laundering measures

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The US Federal Reserve on Thursday ordered German bank Commerzbank to undergo an independent audit to strengthen its anti-money laundering measures.

The independent evaluation should provide information to determine whether Commerzbank met US requirements to report "suspicious activity" between May and October 2012, the Fed said in a statement on its website.

In June 2012, Commerzbank and its New York branch concluded an agreement with the New York Fed that required the branch to improve compliance with US anti-money laundering policies and rules, including the Bank Secrecy Act.

But the Fed said Thursday that the branch of Germany's second-biggest lender had "failed to maintain appropriate and adequate internal controls for its correspondent banking business, including the failure to maintain an adequate risk-based compliance program to mitigate (bank secrecy and anti-money laundering) risks associated with the Branch's foreign correspondent accounts."

The Fed action did not inflict a penalty on Commerzbank but ordered the German bank to hire an independent consultant in 30 days acceptable to the US central bank. The findings of the review are to be used to develop a plan and programs that will improve the bank's compliance, the Fed said.

Commerzbank already has been the subject of investigations in the United States concerning transactions with countries under US sanctions, such as Iran and North Korea.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131017/fed-orders-commerzbank-fix-money-laundering-measures