The City regulator has launched criminal proceedings against the Royal Bank of Scotland group for allegedly failing to comply with money laundering rules.
The Edinburgh-based RBS group, now known as NatWest is accused by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) of failing to adhere to the regulations between November 2011 and October 2016.
It is the first criminal prosecution under the money laundering regulations 2007 by the FCA, and the first prosecution under the regulations against a bank.
The case relates to the handling of funds from a single UK incorporated customer of the bank – which has not been identified.
The state-backed NatWest group, is accused of paying around £365m into the customer’s accounts, of which around £264m was in cash.
The FCA said in a statement: “The case arises from the handling of funds deposited into accounts operated by a UK incorporated customer of NatWest.
“The FCA alleges that increasingly large cash deposits were made into the customer’s accounts.
FCA claims that the NatWest group’s systems and controls failed to properly monitor and scrutinise this activity.
The banking group is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on April 14.
No individuals are being charged as part of the proceedings.
A NatWest group spokesman said: “The FCA has notified NatWest Group plc that it has commenced criminal proceedings against National Westminster Bank Plc for offences under regulation 45(1) of the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 for alleged failures…between 11 November 2011 and 19 October 2016, arising from the handling of the accounts of a UK incorporated customer.
“Since being notified of this investigation in July 2017, NatWest Group has disclosed that the FCA was undertaking an investigation into NatWest Group’s compliance with the MLR 2007. NatWest Group has been co-operating with the FCA’s investigation to date.
“NatWest Group takes extremely seriously its responsibility to seek to prevent money laundering by third parties and accordingly has made significant, multi-year investments in its financial crime systems and controls.