15 banks fined for violating anti-money laundering, terror financing laws

By: News Desk      Published: 02:12 PM, 12 Jul, 2020
15 banks fined for violating anti-money laundering, terror financing laws

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has slapped heavy fines on 15 banks for violating anti-money laundering and terror financing laws, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Sunday.

The State Bank of Pakistan imposed the hefty fines on 15 commercial banks which amounted to Rs1.68 billion and it was imposed from March to June during this year.

The State Bank imposed fine on commercial banks for their offences which included: not recording customers’ data and violating foreign exchange laws as well as violating anti-money laundering and terror financing laws.

The State Bank has also issued a list of the banks. They are UBL, JS Bank, Meezan Bank, Faysal Bank, The Bank of Punjab, HBL, MCB, National Bank of Pakistan, Bank AlHabib, Habib Metropolitan Bank, Bank Alfalah, Askari Bank, Bank Islami, Punjab Provincial Cooperative Bank and the Zarai Taraqiati Bank.

Most of the banks violated customer due diligence rules while the Punjab Provincial Cooperative Bank and the Zarai Taraqiati Bank had violations under the anti-money laundering and terror financing rules.

The central bank advised these banks to strengthen their KYC/CDD processes to avoid similar violations in future.

The SBP, in its notification, said it fined MCB Bank Rs158.474 million, National Bank Rs269.810 million, Al Habib Bank Rs46.82 million, Habib Metropolitan Bank Rs22.85 million, Bank Alfalah Rs40.305 million, Askari Bank Rs29.814 million, Bank Islami Rs11.517 million, Punjab Provincial Cooperation Bank Rs81,500 million, Zarai Tarqiati Bank Rs147.250 million.

United Bank Limited Rs137.001 million, JS Bank Rs71.417 million, Meezan Bank Rs81.060 million, Faysal Bank Rs96.128 million, The Bank of Punjab Rs286.333 and Habib Bank Rs204.217 million were fined.

It may be mentioned here that Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh had said on Saturday last that Pakistan as a responsible member was ensuring the earliest completion of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Action Plan.

The adviser was delivering a keynote statement online to a high-level panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The panel discussed among others the overall efforts undertaken by member states to implement comprehensive international frameworks related to financial accountability, transparency and integrity critical to financing the Sustainable Development Goals.

Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh told the panel that Pakistan had made considerable progress in addressing the recommended actions of Mutual Evaluation Report which includes 15 Legal Amendments to meet technical compliance, updation of National Risk Assessment on ML/CT, implementation of AML/CFT measures on DNFBPs, CDNS and Pakistan Post, broadening the sanction regime etc.

He elaborated on the measures Pakistan has taken to strengthen the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Finance of Terrorism to bring financial institutions in line with FATF standards.

He said amendments to Protection of Economic Reforms Act (PERA) 1992 had been incorporated to restrict feeding of foreign currency accounts by non-tax filers. The Pakistan Remittances Initiative (PRI) has been launched to facilitate inflow of home remittance through formal channels.