Royal Bank of Scotland has been fined $100nillion by US regulators for violating US sanctions against Iran, Sudan, Burma, and Cuba.
The settlement follows a 2010 internal investigation by RBS into its historical US dollar payment processes and controls.
The violations took place between 2005-09, the US Treasury said.RBS said it “acknowledges and deeply regrets these failings”.
RBS found that bank procedures removed location information on payments made to US financial institutions from countries such as Iran and Cuba.
‘Flouting our law’
Bank procedures “instructed employees to list the actual name of the Iranian financial institution rather than the Bank Identifier Code in the beneficiary bank field of the payment instructions,” according to regulators.
This prevented information about the banks from being included in cover letters and forms sent to US clearing banks.
Those institutions then processed the payments, in violation of US sanctions.
US President Barack Obama has attempted to strictly enforce the country’s sanctions against Iran
Furthermore, RBS employees in the UK “received written instructions containing a step-by-step guide on how to create and route US dollar payment messages involving sanctioned entities through the United States to avoid detection”.
In total, more than 3,500 transactions, totaling approximately $523m, were routed through New York banks in violation of US sanctions.
The bank entered into agreements with the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and New York State Department of Financial Services.
“We will continue to take aggressive action against those who would flout our law,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S Cohen.
As part of its investigation, RBS bulked up its compliance workforce by 730 employees since 2011, bringing the total worldwide to 1,700.
It also instituted compulsory compliance training for all of its 120,300 employees. Agencies