Stockbroker fined €280,000 for money laundering breaches

Crackdown: Central Bank director of enforcement and anti-money laundering Seána Cunningham

The Central Bank

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

STOCKBROKER Campbell O'Connor has been fined €280,000 by the Central Bank for breaching money laundering and terrorist financing rules.

There were five breaches of the rules, with an original fine of €400,000 reduced to €280,000 because the firm agreed a settlement.

The company has already said it plans to close down in June, citing "the ever-increasing complexity of doing business in a changing regulatory landscape which does not favour smaller firms".

The Central Bank said it probed the Dublin stockbroker after a themed inspection.

The inspection identified failings in the firm's anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism framework.

The breaches of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 included a failure to conduct an appropriate money laundering risk assessment.

It also included the failure to monitor and scrutinise customer transactions.

Staff were not trained to identify suspicious transactions, the Central Bank said.

There was also a failure to ensure arrangements were in place with third parties whom the firm relied on to conduct customer due diligence measures on the firm's customers.

Central Bank director of enforcement and anti-money laundering Seána Cunningham said: "This is the first enforcement action taken against a stockbroker for breaches of the CJA [Criminal Justice Act] 2010, and is a timely reminder to the wider financial services sector that anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism compliance is, and will remain, a key priority for the Central Bank."

Campbell O'Connor's anti-money laundering framework was not fit for purpose for a six-year period.

Ms Cunningham said: "The investigation found that the firm failed to assess key risks facing its business. For example, the firm failed to undertake any assessment of terrorist financing risk at all."

She said the firm placed too much reliance on personal knowledge of its customers in assessing risk. Ms Cunningham said the role of financial service providers in detecting and reporting in this area is "vital in safeguarding the financial services sector from criminal and terrorist activity".

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