Updated on Thursday, 9 September 2021 – 02:02
It concludes that its internal protocols had “shortcomings” but that the entity cannot be sanctioned
The Money Laundering Prevention Service (Sepblac) concludes, six years after the intervention and disappearance of the Bank of Madrid, the subsidiary of the Private Bank of Andorra in Spain, do not launder funds of illicit origin.
The dependent organism Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation now hold that has detected “deficiencies” in the protocols to detect deposits from criminal activities but it highlights that the entity has protocols “relevant in matters such as risk assessment and management, prevention bodies or communications to Sepblac”.
That is to say, that “without prejudice to the deficiencies that can be improved by the entity, It did have internal policies and procedures for the prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism. that had been subject to continuous improvement in the years immediately preceding the inspection. “” In this way, “asserts Sepblac,” it must be concluded “that the entity has not incurred in “any punishable act subject to serious infringements”.
The Private Bank of Andorra and its Spanish subsidiary were intervened in 2015., when the National Institute of Finance of Andorra (INAF), the country’s financial regulator, intervened the entities, which were being investigated by the United States for channeling funds allegedly from organized crime. Immediately afterwards, the Banco de Espaa appointed a team of auditors and Sepblac denounced the entities before the Prosecutor’s Office after detecting irregular operations.
Since then, the owners of the defunct Banca Privada de Andorra, the Cierco brothers, have won all the legal proceedings. The courts came to conclude that there is no evidence that “they allowed or facilitated laundering operations” in their entities or that “they deliberately and consciously decided that the control system was permeable and easily negotiable.”
Upon learning about the files through the criminal court and now also through the administrative one, the Ciercos have launched a multimillion-dollar claim against the Spanish State that rises to 250 million in damages while allude to political motivations for the liquidation of their financial institutions. Among them, the actions of the Government that presides Mariano Rajoy to get the accounts that the former president of the Generalitat, Jordi Pujol, and his family, they hid in it their bank of the Principality.
The new Sepblac resolution, to which EL MUNDO has had exclusive access, emphasizes that “after analyzing the entity’s manual” to prevent money laundering, “it must coincide in the existence of deficiencies detected by the inspection.” Thus, “its structure would contain relevant elements in matters such as risk assessment and management, customer admission policy, due diligence, information, internal control, guarantee of compliance, internal communications, communications by indication to Sepblac and systematic communications and organs Prevention (Regulatory Compliance Department and Prevention Committee) “. “Ultimately, and without prejudice to the aforementioned deficiencies that were susceptible to improvement by the entity,” he continues, the entity did have internal policies and procedures regarding the prevention of money laundering that have been subject to continuous improvements in the years immediately. prior to inspection “.
As an example of the operations analyzed, Sepblac points out that the Board of Directors of the Banco de Madrid unanimously approved granting credit to Russian citizens Andrei Petrov and Viktor Kanaikine, “allegedly related to a Russian mafia network.” Not surprisingly, the first of them was arrested in January 2013 in the framework of ‘Operation Clotilde’. Both were granted a mortgage loan of one million euros to finance the construction of a commercial premises in Lloret de Mar.
Said agreement was adopted “against the opinion of the Compliance Department, which in a report pointed out the impossibility of knowing the entity’s ownership or control structure and stated that there was not enough information to form a judgment on the admissibility or not of the client. “” However, the operation was accepted and was not carried out his communication for suspicious operation “.
Sepblac endorses the arguments used so far by the courts to exonerate the Banco de Madrid from money laundering operations, such as that “there are no elements that allow it to be considered” that the bank “had access to any information that implicated” the mentioned Russian citizens “with the legal proceedings” against them. At the same time that “a study was carried out by the corresponding control body that ruled that no signs of money laundering had been detected.” Being the “controls” of the bank, he emphasizes, “real and serious”.
At the time of the intervention, the bank had more than 300 million in customer deposits, 65 million in funds own assets and had assets managed in collective investment institutions of more than 1 billion.
Sepblac adds that “no higher than average risks were detected” in this and other investigated operations, such as those involving numerous Venezuelan Chavista leaders. Reason why “the Board of Directors of the Banco de Madrid had a favorable report from the Risk Unit as well as one of the Regulatory Compliance Department that it exists and it was not negative. “
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