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Release Date: 13th December 2021

To access the original FCA document, click here.


National Westminster Bank Plc (NatWest) has been fined £264,772,619.95 for failing to comply with money laundering regulations. This is the first time the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has pursued criminal charges for such failings. NatWest admitted guilt to three offences, highlighting significant lapses in monitoring the activities of a commercial customer, Fowler Oldfield, between 8 November 2012 and 23 June 2016. Despite initial understanding that no cash would be handled, approximately £365 million was deposited, of which around £264 million was in cash.

Key failings included:

The failures of NatWest’s systems and the lack of appropriate action on suspicious activities were critical in facilitating the laundering of large sums of money. The sentencing judge, Mrs Justice Cockerill, emphasised that while NatWest was not complicit in the laundering activities, their failures were crucial for its execution.

Key Takeaways for Other Firms:

In conclusion, the FCA’s action against NatWest underscores the importance of stringent anti-money laundering controls. Firms must ensure rigorous compliance to prevent financial systems from being exploited for criminal activities.

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