22 Jan 2020
Anti-money laundering (AML) penalties reached a record high of £6.2 billion worldwide last year, according to data from software company Encompass Corporation.
Globally regulators handed out 58 AML penalties, which is double the 29 issued during 2018, and reaching a significantly higher volume than the £3.2 billion imposed that year.
Regulators in the USA were the most active, handing out 25 penalties totalling £1.7 billion. The UK was next with 12 fines totalling £292 million.
The largest single fine was £3.9 billion, which was imposed by French authorities, while the average penalty rate for 2019 was £110.9 million.
Under half of penalties given out in 2019 were to banks, compared to two-thirds in 2018.
Commenting on the data, Wayne Johnson, CEO of Encompass Corporation, said: 'Since 2015, annual AML penalty figures have been steadily rising each year. Multi-million dollar fines have been commonplace for a while, but we are now seeing more penalties of one billion dollars or over, with two in 2019 alone.
'Historically, the majority of these fines have been given to banks, but this year the proportion was less than half, demonstrating that money laundering is now recognised as a general business issue, not just one that is specific to financial services.'