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A study by the CCP Research Foundation – which analyses banks’ so-called ‘conduct costs’ – revealed that the biggest 20 banks worldwide, including the biggest four in Britain, had paid or set aside £264 billion for fines in the five years to 2017. Britain’s biggest banks have paid out £71 billion for misconduct in the decade since the financial crisis. Much of these fines have related to money laundering but they were not prosecuted in the UK.

The biggest 20 banks worldwide, including the biggest four in Britain, had paid or set aside £264 billion for fines in the five years to 2017.

Lloyds is the bank that has suffered the heaviest penalties with at least £23.4 billion in conduct-related costs and write-offs since 2008.  RBS is second on the list. Its conduct and litigation costs since 2008, including amounts it has earmarked but not yet used, add up to £20.6 billion. The bailed-out bank also agreed to pay £3.6 billion to settle an investigation by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) for misselling mortgage-backed securities – the bonds at the heart of the 2008 crisis in America.

RBS and Lloyds were bailed out when the financial crisis broke out to the tune of £45.5 billion and £20.3 billion respectively.

Barclays avoided a UK state bailout – but only by taking £12 billion what looks like illegal emergency funding from the state of Qatar. The Serious Fraud Office is involved.

HSBC has forked out nearly £10 billion in fines and other costs for its conduct since 2008.

In the last few weeks – Standard Chartered, the British bank has been ordered to pay $1.1bn (£842m) by US and UK authorities to settle allegations for breaching sanctions against countries including Iran.

But it doesn’t end there does it – it just keeps on going.

In 2019 alone, leaving aside Standard Chartered, the Financial Conduct Authority has dished out fines to the financial services sector at the rate of more than one a month. In total, to the 9th April, they have fined the industry or people in it collectively to the tune of £272,487,887.

What is interesting here is the missing link. British banks are world leaders in shovelling trillions into tax havens, most of it to evade taxation but a very good chunk of it is pure money laundering. Tyrants, despots, mass murderers, terrorists, traffickers – they are just as good a customer as any as far as the banks are concerned. Here, the British government and its toothless Financial Conduct Authority fail in every sense of the word. Money laundering through British tax haven islands and crown dependencies is something the state approves of – hence the lack of fines or punishment dished out for it.

Donald Toon, director at the National Crime Agency, admitted that money laundering in the UK was “a very big problem” and estimated that the amount of money laundered here each year has now risen to a staggering £150 billion. I would think that is on the light side.

Susan Hawley is Policy Director of Corruption Watch. She worked for six years at the Corner House on corruption issues, having previously worked in the policy team at Christian Aid on ethics and corruption issues. Here is her take, (originally published a year ago), on money laundering by British banks.


Source: Blacklisted News

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