S.Africa fines top four banks over anti-money laundering controls

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South Africa's Reserve Bank said it had fined the top four banks a total of 125 million rand over lax anti-money laundering controls.

The central bank said in a statement it had fined the South African unit of Barclays Africa Group 10 million rand, FirstRand 30 million rand, Nedbank 25 million rand and market leader Standard Bank 60 million rand.

“The administrative sanctions are not an indication that the banks in question have in any way facilitated transactions involving money laundering and the financing of terrorism,” the central bank said.

[DATA SBK:Standard Bank Group Ltd.] and [DATA NED:Nedbank Group Ltd.] said they were taking remedial measures to strengthen their controls, in an industry that is already seen as well regulated.

South African banks largely avoided the credit crisis that hit other lenders, thanks to tight supervision by the Reserve Bank.

The banks’ share prices shrugged off the news. [DATA BGA:Barclays Africa Group Ltd.] was up nearly 1 per cent, compared with a 0.4 per cent rise by Johannesburg’s Top-40 index. [DATA FSR:FirstRand Ltd.] had shed only 0.4 per cent at 0837 GMT.