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DFSA fines Swiss bank over money laundering failings

DFSA said the key indicators pointed to potential money laundering that Mirabaud should have recognised and acted upon

Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has imposed a $3 million fine on Mirabaud (Middle East) Limited due to inadequate anti-money laundering systems and controls between June 2018 and October 2021.

The fine includes giving up $975,000, which represents Mirabaud’s economic benefit from its contraventions in the form of fees and commission. 

Mirabaud, a division of the Swiss Mirabaud Group, agreed to settle the matter, reducing the fine from $3.9 million, DFSA said in a statement.

According to DFSA, it found weaknesses in Mirabaud’s anti-money laundering systems and controls, which meant it processed transactions for a group of nine interconnected client accounts managed by the same relationship manager. This raised several red flags related to suspicions of money laundering. 

Although DFSA did not find any transactions that were money laundering, the activity highlighted significant weaknesses in the bank’s systems and controls. 

It said the key indicators pointed to potential money laundering that Mirabaud should have recognised and acted upon.

The relationship manager responsible for these customers has since left Mirabaud, as have the then senior executive officer and chief compliance officer.

DFSA CEO Ian Johnston said: “By failing to ensure that its anti-money laundering systems and controls were effective, Mirabaud did not recognise clear indicators of potential money laundering or take the appropriate action when it had concerns about customers’ activity.”

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