UK FCA fines ex-Sonali Bank manager over anti-money laundering failings
05 Dec 2018

Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has fined the former boss of a Bangladeshi-headquartered London bank £76,400 for breaching anti-money laundering (AML) standards, it has been revealed, two years after it penalised the bank with a £3 million penalty over financial crime control failures.

On Tuesday, the FCA published its Decision Notice, saying Mohammad Prodhan had acted ‘without due skill, care and diligence’ and also considered his involvement in Sonali Bank UK’s (SBUK) failures to maintain effective AML systems.

Prodhan has taken the FCA’s notice to the Upper Tribunal, which is expected to rule on the matter.

SBUK’s misconduct resulted in a £3,250,600 penalty in 2016 after the FCA found that ‘serious and systematic weaknesses affected almost all levels of its AML control and governance structure.’

At the time, the watchdog noted that the bank had failed to comply with a number of issues pertaining to factors such as customer due diligence, the identification of politically exposed persons (PEPs) and making suspicious activity reports.

It also fined the bank’s former money laundering reporting officer (MLRO) £17,900 and banned him from performing the MLRO or compliance oversight functions at regulated firms.

“Mr Prodhan failed to take reasonable steps to assess and mitigate the AML risks arising from a culture of non-compliance among SBUK’s staff,” the FCA said in its Tuesday statement.

“Because of these failings, SBUK’s operational staff failed to appreciate the need to comply with AML requirements and the MLRO function was ineffective in monitoring their compliance. This led to systemic failures in SBUK’s AML systems and controls throughout the business.”

Sonali Bank in London did not respond with a comment by press time.

In an emailed statement to KYC360, sent through his lawyer, Prodhan said he was “very disappointed” by the FCA’s decision to pursue enforcement action against him.

“I bitterly regret that SBUK’s historic corporate failings with regard to AML continued during my tenure as CEO. However, the FCA is wrong to allege that I should be held personally accountable.

“Arriving from Bangladesh in 2012 as a senior manager with no prior experience of the UK regulatory system, I relied on my London based management team and SBUK’s internal governance arrangements to comply with and prioritise my numerous responsibilities … given the FCA’s findings against SBUK, and also its former Money Laundering Reporting Officer, it is plain that I was badly let down.”

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