NatWest admits failing to comply with anti-money laundering law

NatWest. Credit: PA

Major retail and commercial bank NatWest has pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to comply with anti-money laundering legislation.

At a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, the bank’s chief executive Alison Rose said NatWest had “failed to adequately monitor and therefore prevent money laundering by one of our customers between 2012 and 2016”.

In laying out the charges, banking regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) previously said “increasingly large cash deposits” were made into the customer’s account.

Customers queue outside Natwest on the High Street, Worcester. Credit: PA

It marks the first time the FCA has launched a criminal prosecution under the money laundering regulations and the first time the rules have been used to prosecute a bank.

NatWest chief executive Alison Rose said NatWest takes its responsibility to prevent money laundering by third parties "extremely seriously".

“In the years since this case, we have invested significant resources and continue to enhance our efforts to effectively combat financial crime," she said.

“We work tirelessly with colleagues, other banks, industry bodies, law enforcement, regulators, and governments to help find collaborative solutions to this shared challenge.

“These partnerships are crucial to counter the significant and evolving threat of financial crime to society.”