The Supreme Court has ruled against Banco Santander and has imposed a penalty of 5.6 million euros for failing to comply with various sections of the law on prevention against money laundering. The case dates back to an anti-money laundering inspection carried out in 2013 and to a sanctioning file opened in 2015, as reported by El País, which has advanced the sentence, and has confirmed this medium.
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Specifically, the anti-money laundering service, Sepblac, in 2013 made a series of requirements to the bank on 143 securities accounts that resulted in an initial penalty of 10.5 million euros, on the understanding that there had been a series of breaches of certain recommendations made to the bank in those requirements. It was considered that six infractions had been committed by the entity.
The case then reached the National Court, who annulled four of the six infractions that had been reported to the bank, which left the amount of the penalty at 3.6 million euros. The last procedure that this fine has followed has been the Supreme Court. He was attended by both the bank and the State Advocacy itself, with individual appeals on the judgment of the National Court.
The high court has partially upheld that made by the Lawyers, although reducing the initial request. The end result is that the Bank is sentenced to three penalties that add up to fines of 5.6 million euros, although others for 4.9 million that the State claimed after the Sepblac investigation are canceled.
As the aforementioned newspaper explains, the sanctions refer to “breach of the obligation to identify the real owner” of an account, sanctioned with 2.6 million euros; for “not obtaining information on the purpose and nature of the business relationship”, which carries another million euros; and for not complying with “the obligation to communicate possible indications”, which carries another penalty of two million. The case has dragged on for more than eight years due to differences in interpretation about who is responsible for identifying the owners of the bank accounts. In this case, these clients were not directly from Banco Santander, since it operated as an intermediary.
This is what the entity has accepted in this process. Bank sources consulted by this means indicate that “the procedure shows an interpretative difference on the definition of the degree of evidence necessary for communication due to suspicion”. In addition, they add, “these are accounts opened in the name of financial entities subject in turn to the obligations of prevention of money laundering, so that the identification of customers was guaranteed”.
The bank indicates after the Supreme Court ruling that it reiterates “its commitment to detecting and preventing financial crime and money laundering and scrupulously complies with the regulatory obligation to submit suspicious activity reports to regulators and to make up for any deficiencies that the authorities may point out. ”