British banking giant Barclays PLC was fined 72 million pounds ($108.5 million) by the U.K.’s market watchdog for failing to minimize the risk of financial crimes.
The fine relates to a 1.88 billion pound ($2.8 billion) deal arranged and executed by the company in 2011 and 2012, involving a number of “ultra-high-net-worth” and “politically exposed” clients, the Financial Conduct Authority said, in a statement. The fine, which is the largest of its kind imposed by the FCA, includes the $78.8 million in revenue that the bank generated, as well as a penalty of $29.8 million.
“While the FCA makes no finding that the transaction, in fact, involved financial crime, the circumstances of the Transaction gave rise to a number of features which, together with the PEP status of the individuals, indicated a higher level of risk,” the FCA said, in the statement. “Barclays went to unacceptable lengths to accommodate the clients. Specifically, Barclays did not obtain information that it was required to obtain from the clients to comply with financial crime requirements.”
Additionally, records of the transaction, which generated Barclays nearly $79 million in revenue, were kept strictly confidential, even within the bank. In a 37-page report, the FCA said that the transaction was commonly referred to within Barclays as an “elephant deal” because of the amount involved.
“Few people knew of the existence and location of the firm’s due diligence records which were kept in hard copy and not on Barclays’ systems,” the FCA said, in the statement. “This had a detrimental impact on how the Business Relationship was monitored by Barclays and also meant that Barclays could not respond promptly to the FCA’s request for this information.”
Barclays, already reeling under record-breaking fines imposed by U.S. and U.K. regulators for manipulation of foreign exchange markets, reportedly said that it had “cooperated fully” with the FCA and that it “continues to apply significant resources and training to ensure compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements.”