ANZ pays US Treasury $5.75 million to settle alleged sanctions-busting violations

ANZ pays US Treasury $5.75 million to settle alleged sanctions-busting violations

ANZ has agreed to pay the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Asset Control (Ofac) US$5.75 million to settle alleged violations of US economic sanctions in trade finance transactions with counterparties in Sudan and Cuba.

The settlement relates to 31 transactions conducted over a two-year period between 2004 and 2006.

ANZ chief risk officer Chris Page says: "ANZ recognises that during the 2004 to 2006 period, the bank's compliance with US economic sanctions did not meet the high standards we expect.

"We've worked hard with regulators over the past three and a half years to comprehensively address the issues identified. This has included more robust policies and procedures, and a group-wide sanctions compliance training program for staff."

The bank has also committed to a technology investment programme to upgrade automated sanction filters and screening.

In October 2007 the US Government amended its International Emergency Economic Powers Enhancement Act significantly increasing penalties for breaches of US economic sanctions.

In January this year, Lloyds TSB was slapped with a $350 million penalty by the US Justice department for deliberately falsifying wire transfers destined for countries or individuals on US sanctions lists.

In may, The Bank for International Settlements provided final guidance on due diligence and transparency regarding cover payment messages in cross-border wire transfers.

The new rules are intended to clamp down on the use of cover payments to hide the identities of wire transfer recipients in support of regulatory initiatives on anti-money laundering and terrorism financing.

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