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EXCLUSIVE: Massive drop in AML fines in 2021 as AML Intelligence launches Financial Crime Fines Review for 2021

By Elizabeth Hearst for AMLi

AML Intelligence has today launched its inaugural Financial Crime Fines Review for 2021. 

The report, which details financial crime fines given out across the world, focuses on three categories. These include: 

  • AML Breaches
  • Corruption, Bribery & Fraud
  • Sanctions Violations

Data compiled by AML Intelligence included fines from the United States, UK, India, Malaysia, the Netherlands and the Rest of the World, and highlights fines given out by regulatory bodies such as the US Department of Justice and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), as well as the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority. 

The United States remains the global enforcer in Financial Crime, dishing out 114 fines worth €6.4BN in 2021. The UK represents 10.2% of total fines given out in 2021 and recorded €700M in fines, bumped up by NatWest’s enforcement fine of €289M for their money laundering scandal. 

The report highlights 295 total FinCrime fines totalling €8.7BN were doled out in 2021, reducing from a record-breaking €20BN in 2020. Corruption, Bribery & Fraud accounted for the vast majority of fines given out in 2021, and represented 69.6% of total fines. 

Anti-Money Laundering fines decreased by 78% in comparison to the previous year, with €2.5BN given out in 2021. The 2020 figure of €11.5BN included the whopping €6.3BN fine levied on Goldman Sachs as part of the Malaysian 1MDB scandal. 

Speaking today, James Treacy AML Intelligence CEO said: “2021 saw a sharp reduction in fines across the 3 main categories, but especially in the AML fines which were notably down by almost 78% from €11.5BN in 2020 to just €2.5BN in 2021”. 

He added: “It may be too early to say that AML defences in the big banks are impacting the flow of dirty money through the banking system. However, they are now spending record amounts on financial crime compliance, and that coupled with the introduction of personal accountability regimes throughout the world seem to be having a positive effect – for now.”

You can access the full report here:

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