FSA warns of criminal gangs inside City banks

FSA warns of criminal gangs inside City banks

The UK's Financial Services Authority has repeated a warning that organised gangs of criminals are infiltrating British banks in order to carry out large-scale frauds.

The watchdog warned banks in November last year that criminals were applying for jobs in financial services firms in order to gain access to sensitive customer data. The FSA said there was evidence that organised crime groups deliberately placed agents inside banks to commit crime, particularly identity theft, and urged firms to carefully screen new staff.

Speaking at a financial crime conference in London yesterday, FSA chairman Callum McCarthy said there is increasing evidence that criminals are still getting jobs in banks in order to learn how to circumvent systems and controls to commit fraud. He said much financial crime was linked to drugs and people trafficking and terrorist funding.

McCarthy said that data protection laws made it harder to investigate staff frauds as it made data sharing unnecessarily difficult. He said the FSA will be involved in seeking a resolution to this.

Earlier this year a cyber crime gang tried to steal £220m from the London offices of the Japanese banking group Sumitomo Mitsui by hacking into the bank's computer system. Police from the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) foiled the attempt but it is still not clear how that gang managed to gain access to the bank.

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