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Wise fined by Abu Dhabi watchdog over AML failings

Wise fined by Abu Dhabi watchdog over AML failings

Money transfer firm Wise has been slapped with a $360,000 fine by Abud Dhabi's financial regulator for contravening anti-money laundering rules.

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) found that Wise "did not establish and maintain adequate AML systems and controls to ensure full compliance with its AML obligations".

In particular, Wise failed to indentify and verify the source of funds and wealth from a number of high risk customers and only began carrying out checks above a high value payment threshold after it had already established a business relationship with those customers. Nor did it consider nationality or business category as part of its risk-based assessment and due diligence checks.

The FSRA’s review did not identify any instances of actual money laundering resulting from Wise’s AML systems and control failures.

Wise did not dispute the FSRA’s findings and agreed to settle at the earliest opportunity, which meant that it qualified for a discount of 20% on the financial penalty. Otherwise, the FSRA would have imposed a financial penalty of $450,000.

Emmanuel Givanakis, chief executive officer of the FSRA, says: “The FSRA is committed to ensuring that all regulated entities maintain high standards to address money laundering risks and, where appropriate, the FSRA will take strong action to ensure firms comply fully with the anti-money laundering requirements in ADGM.”

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