May 5 (Bloomberg) -- Alpari U.K. Ltd., a U.K.-based online foreign exchange provider, was fined 140,000 pounds ($212,000) by the country's financial regulator for not having tight enough controls on money laundering.
The Financial Services Authority also fined the company's former money-laundering reporting officer, Sudipto Chattopadhyay 14,000 pounds, the regulator said in a statement today. The company, which had customers from "higher risk jurisdictions" such as Nigeria, didn't properly monitor customer accounts which grew from 400 to 11,500 between 2006 and 2008, the FSA said.
"These penalties serve as a reminder of the importance of maintaining effective anti-money-laundering controls -- something we have repeatedly stressed," Margaret Cole, the FSA's enforcement director, said in today's statement. "All firms should ensure that they minimize the risk of exposure to financial crime and we will continue to be extremely vigilant."
The FSA has been cracking down on how money-laundering controls are enforced at financial companies of all sizes. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, majority owned by the U.K. government, said in December it is being investigated by the FSA over its compliance with money-laundering rules. The regulator can criminally prosecute money laundering, the Court of Appeal ruled last year in a case that is being challenged.
Both Alpari and Chattopadhyay cooperated with the FSA and qualified for a discount on their fines. Alpari's fine would otherwise have been 200,000 pounds, the FSA said.
"No clients were impacted financially, and there is no evidence of any financial crime," said Julia Freedman, a spokeswoman for Alpari. "We've implemented all the FSA's recommendations and are confident we have now taken all the necessary steps
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