The apparent dubiousness of western banks raises issues about how they help and support politicians in developing countries like Nigeria to launder money stolen from government treasury.
In response to the news that British bank Standard Chartered PLC settled money laundering allegations with New York regulators by agreeing to pay $340 million in fines and submitting to monitoring, Heather Lowe, legal counsel and director of Government Affairs at Global Financial Integrity, released the following statement:
They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over-and-over-again and expecting a different result. The settlement today is a prime example of that.
In 2004, Standard Chartered was forced to submit to monitoring by regulators for significant anti-money laundering deficiencies. The recent activity alleged by the New York Department of Financial Services was happening while the first round of monitoring was already in place.
Clearly, monitoring is not an effective response in this case.
Ms. Lowe continued:
A fine is a cost of doing business, especially when it’s $320 million for $250 billion worth of transactions. The question everyone should be asking is, ‘are the people who have been participating in the bank’s illicit activity since 2004—not just the CEO, but also the department managers—still working for the bank and why?’