Over $350m of AML fines made in last four months

Between the start of May and the end of August this year, there were 20 Anti-Money Laundering (AML) related penalties handed down globally, totalling fines of over $352.5 million.

This is according to market analysis carried out by Encompass Corporation, which found that during the same period in 2018, four fines totalling $707 million were handed out.

The automated Know Your Customer (KYC) solution provider also revealed that $339.3 million of fines given to banks and $13.1 million to firms in other industries. The largest monetary fine was $336 million and the average was $18.5 million.

The latest figure takes the total value of AML fines this year, from 1 January to 31 August, to $8.07 billion – approximately 4.3 times the amount handed out over the same period last year ($1.87 billion).

Wayne Johnson, co-founder and chief executive of Encompass, commented: “As 2019 runs on, we have seen yet another fine in the hundreds of millions, and we expect to see more large penalties over the remainder of the year.

“As we have noted previously, multi-million dollar fines are commonplace these days, as evidenced by the fact that seven of the 20 penalties given out from May to August were $1 million or higher.”

In the year to date, around two-thirds of AML penalties were given to banks, but approximately a sixth were imposed on companies in the gambling, gaming and cryptocurrency sectors – highlighting the increasing attention these industries are getting as channels for money laundering.

Large AML fines are often predominantly associated with the US and UK, since both countries have transparent regulatory cultures and active regulatory bodies, but in the last four months Encompass recorded activity from regulators in multiple jurisdictions, with the largest fine originating from Belgium.

“Given the current pace, we still think there is a good chance that 2019 could break the record set in 2014 for the highest value of AML fines given out in a year,” added Johnson.

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