£23M fine for MT Global

Money transfer company MT Global has been fined £23.8 million for varius failings in AML policy.

MT Global, based in Luton, apparently offers financial services in 97 jurisdiction and claims to operate to the “highest degree of ethical standards”.

The fine is triple the previous record penalty imposed in the UK, which was £7.8M imposed by HMRC on Touma Foreign Exchange Ltd

HMRC said inan issuance “ These breaches are failures in carrying out risk assessments; having the correct policies, controls and procedures; conducting due diligence; and record keeping.” between July 2017 and December 2019.

The breaches related to risk assessments, record keeping and “fundamental customer due diligence measures”. It accused the business, run by Mazhar Hussain, 60, a Canadian, of flouting the rules on money laundering..

Nick Sharp at HMRC’s fraud investigation service, said: “Businesses who fail to comply with the money laundering regulations leave themselves and the UK economy open to attacks by criminals.

“Money laundering is not a victimless crime. Criminals use laundered cash to fund serious organised crime, from drug importation to child sexual exploitation, human trafficking and even terrorism.

“We’re here to help businesses protect themselves from those who would prey on their services. That includes taking action against the minority who fail to meet their legal obligations under the regulations as this record fine clearly shows.”

Questions remain over how the company will pay the fine. The most recent accounts for MT Global recorded net assets of £154,000.

Lawyers for MT Global said that the company had “lodged an appeal to the tax tribunal following HMRC’s decision”, HMRC’s official website states that there is no appeal presently.

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