FCA has at last issued its final notice which publicly censures Mohammed Ataur Rahman Prodhan, former CEO of Sonali Bank UK. FCA had already taken regulatory action against both the bank and its MLRO in relation to AML failings that happened from 2012-2014. Mr Prodhan was responsible for the establishment and maintenance of effective AML systems and controls, but had failed to assess and mitigate risks, to allocate responsibilities clearly and to oversee the MLRO. This resulted in staff not appreciating the need to comply with AML requirements, and the MLRO being ineffective in monitoring their compliance.
FCA fined the Bank £3,250,000 and imposed a restriction on new business and its MLRO £17,900 and a ban on carrying on the compliance oversight and money laundering reporting controlled functions/SMFs. These were imposed in 2016, and FCA also decided, in 2018 to fine Mr Prodhan £76,000. Mr Prodhan appealed to the Upper Tribunal, and the case has taken a while to be resolved mainly as a result of the pandemic and Mr Prodhan’s return to Bangladesh. Eventually, FCA agreed to settle the proceedings by issuing a public censure, while making clear that it still considered a fine would be appropriate, but the exceptional circumstances including the fact the Mr Prodhan has returned to Bangladesh where he is no longer employed and where personal circumstances made it not possible for him to travel to the UK to appear before the Tribunal, meant that FCA felt a fine, which it would in any event by unlikely to be paid or be capable of enforcement, would not be fair.