Sunday 15 January 2017

Agricultural Bank Of China Fined $215M For Falsifying Transaction Documents

Agricultural Bank of China has agreed to pay a $215 million penalty for falsifying transaction documents involving China & Russia and trying to cover up US dollar trades with sanctioned Middle East Countries.

The New York State's Department of Financial Services (DFS) said that officials of the Chinese bank's New York branch were found to have masked U.S. dollar transactions that would have revealed violations of trade sanctions and money laundering laws. The Bank officials also silenced a whistle-blower who attempted to carry out internal investigations.   That action led to the officer's resignation in 2015.

DFS further discovered that certain Invoices involving China and Russia appeared to have been falsified. Other documents suggested that U.S. dollar trades were made with Iranian counterparties, and included information indicating dollar transactions made for the benefit of a sanctioned Iranian party.  The DFS also accused the Chinese bank of conducting dollar transactions involving an Afghan Bank client associated with narcotics traffickers and illicit cash flows.

U.S. regulators have been taking stringent measures on money laundering breaches in recent years.

In 2014 BNP Paribas in France was ordered to pay $8.9 billion fine for transactions involving clients in sanctioned countries.

In 2015, the Construction Bank of China received a warning from U.S. regulators for alleged money laundering violations, though no fine was imposed.

According to the Financial Times, the latest fines on the Agricultural Bank of China are the first such penalty on an Asian bank beside Japanese banks.

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