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S.African banks fined for lax anti-money laundering controls

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

South Africa's central bank fined four of the country's biggest commercial banks on Wednesday for weak controls against money laundering and financing for terrorism.

The banks -- including Absa, FirstRand, Nedbank and Africa's largest operator Standard Bank -- were charged a total of 125 million rand ($11.8 million).

Standard Bank was found to have failed to meet its obligations to report cash transactions above 24,999.99 rand ($2,374) to the financial intelligence centre.

It was also criticised for slack controls for detecting property associated with terrorist activities.

The bank said in a statement it had taken "immediate remedial action to address the issues identified" and has initiated a programme to address the bank's findings.

"The required action plans will be closely monitored and progress will be tracked and reported to the (South African Reserve Bank) on a regular basis."

In January, the British division of Standard Bank was fined 7.6 million pounds ($12.8 million) for lax anti-money laundering controls.

Absa, FirstRand and Nedbank, were also penalised for keeping inadequate customer verification details and transactional records.

The Reserve Bank said all were co-operating and working with it to "address the identified compliance deficiencies... and have undertaken to remediate the identified shortcomings."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140416/safrican-banks-fined-lax-anti-money-laundering-controls