The 5 Most Sensational AML Fines of 2020
If AML fines were a stock, they’d be a bull market!
In 2020, the monetary value of anti-money laundering fines rocketed: up by over 26% on 2019’s fines, and totaling a cool $10.4 billion.
That’s roughly the GDP of the entire island of Fiji, and higher than the GDP of another 36 nations around the globe!
It’s a number that’s increasing constantly: in 2019, AML fines stood at $8.14 billion – almost double the $4.27 billion in fines issued during 2018.
Which nations are paying the price?
With the notable exception of the States and northern Europe, it’s the Asia-Pacific region that’s bearing the brunt of the fines.
From 2015 onwards, the countries topping the AML Fine Charts have been:
- USA – $4,348,701,664
- Malaysia – $3,900,000,000
- Australia – $921,587,910
- Sweden – $550,169,770
- United Kingdom – $199,306,927
The fines that made history
With the AML fines levied in 2020 surpassing any previous year by a staggering margin, it was the big financial institutions which were paying the price.
These 5 will go down in history as the big hitters in ‘The Fine Club’:
- Goldman Sachs 1MDB scandal (USA, Malaysia) – $2.9 billion + $2.5 billion – In 2020, Goldman Sachs received its first-ever AML fine since its establishment in 1869. The fine was not only the first for the investment bank, but also the biggest in the history of the USA.
- Westpac Bank Miscellaneous AML violations (Australia) – $900 million – AUSTRAC fined Westpac Bank with countless AML violations, including 19 million worldwide transactions, many of which involved overseas paedophile networks in South-east Asia.
- SEB Nordic banks scandal (Sweden) – $150 million – Swedbank joined the Fine Club due to serious deficiencies in its management of money-laundering risk within its Baltic operations.
- Deutsche Bank Jeffrey Epstein and Nordic bank scandals (USA) – $150 million – The Deutsche Bank colossus was involved in two separate scandals with EU and USA regulators in 2020. In Europe, the bank received a $16 million penalty (Nordic banks’ scandal). The USA case involved the late Jeffrey Epstein (convicted for sex trafficking and other abuses), and highlighted a lack of KYC compliance and risk monitoring.
- Commerzbank Miscellaneous AML breaches (UK) – $50 million – The German Commerzbank burst onto the Fines List last year after failing to conduct adequate KYC on thousands of its customers.