Central Bank fines Italian group Intesa Sanpaolo €1m

Fine for breaches of laws countering money laundering and terrorist financing

The Central Bank of Ireland has fined a division of Italian banking group Intesa Sanpaolo. Photograph: Alan Betson

The Central Bank of Ireland has fined a division of Italian banking group Intesa Sanpaolo. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

A division of Italian banking group Intesa Sanpaolo has been fined €1 million by the Central Bank of Ireland for four breaches of laws aimed at countering money laundering and terrorist financing.

An investigation by the Central Bank found “significant failures in Intesa’a controls, policies and procedures in respect of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing.”

The law to counter money laundering, the Criminal Justice Act, was enacted in July 2010, and the breaches by Intesa Sanpaolo Life DAC happened from then and continued for almost four years, the Central Bank said.

Intesa Sanpaolo is the largest cross-border life insurer authorised by the Central Bank and currently has some 400,000 customers across the European Union. At the time of the breach in question, it sold life-assurance products in the Italian and Slovakian markets.

Breaches identified

The Central Bank’s investigation followed an internal review of Intesa’s money-laundering controls, which identified suspected noncompliance with the Criminal Justice Act. Intesa notified the Central Bank in June 2014 of the suspected noncompliance.

Subsequently, the Central Bank identified breaches relating to risk assessment, customer due diligence, suspicious transaction reports and policies and procedures in place to deal with terrorist financing and money laundering.

“Intesa does not sell its life-assurance products in Ireland. However, this case highlights that firms authorised in Ireland and ‘passporting’ into other European Union financial markets remain subject to Irish [anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing] legislation,” said Brenda O’Neill, head of enforcement investigations at the Central Bank.

“This case, and the level of fine imposed, reinforces the requirement that firms in all sectors must adopt robust and effective policies and procedures to prevent and detect money laundering and terrorist financing,” she added.

Intesa is not the first institution to be fined this year for breaches of anti-money-laundering laws. In May, Bank of Ireland was fined €3.15 million while AIB was fined €2.275 million in April. Ulster Bank, meanwhile, was fined €3.325 million in November 2016 for similar violations.

According to the Central Bank, this is its 110th settlement since 2006 under its administrative sanctions procedure, bringing total fines imposed by it to more than €61 million.