Report: Financial crime fines down in 2021; AML penalties drop 78 percent

Fines for corporate crimes last year fell by more than half to 8.7 billion euros (U.S. $9.9 billion) from 2020’s total of €20 billion (U.S. $22.6 billion), according to a report released by research firm AML Intelligence.

There were 67 corruption, bribery, and fraud fines issued in 2021 worth a total of more than €6 billion (U.S. $6.8 billion), the highest being a $2.5 billion penalty against airline manufacturer Boeing for fraud conspiracy charges relating to misleading regulators about the safety of its 737 MAX aircraft. The total is a drop from €9 billion (U.S. $10.2 billion) worth of fines issued in 2020.

The value of anti-money laundering (AML) fines dropped by 78 percent from €11.5 billion (U.S. $13 billion) in 2020 to just €2.5 billion (U.S. $2.8 billion) in 2021, with banks most frequently on the receiving end. Malaysia-based AmBank received the largest AML fine—2.83 billion ringgit (then-U.S. $700 million)—for its involvement in the 1MDB scandal, while other major penalties included €480 million (then-U.S. $575 million) against ABN AMRO and 264.8 million pounds (then-U.S. $350 million) against NatWest.

There were also 17 cases of firms and banks being fined for sanctions violations, with penalties totaling €115 million (U.S. $130.2 million). Mashreqbank received the largest penalty at $100 million for violating now-repealed Sudanese sanctions regulations in the United States.

Despite the decrease in fines against financial institutions compared to 2020, last year was still one of the top three in terms of enforcement records, said James Treacy, the report’s author.

The United States retained its reputation as the key global enforcer, accounting for nearly 39 percent (114 of 295) of overall fines in 2021 and almost three-quarters (73.8 percent) by value. India came in second with 34 fines, and the United Kingdom third with 30 (though the United Kingdom ranked second in fine value).


 By Neil HodgeWed, January 19, 2022, published on Compliancwe Week

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