Lombard Bank has insisted that a report which led the FIAU to fine it last month 'in no way suggests the existence of a suspicion nor the presence of money laundering.'

Times of Malta reported on October 31 that the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) had fined Lombard Bank €340,058 for breaches of anti-money laundering rules.  

In an explanation issued in a company announcement to the Malta Stock Exchange, Lombard explained that that the FIAU published excerpts from its findings thereby not disclosing the context around the individual cases examined. That left room for misleading and possibly also malicious
interpretations to be drawn.

"The conclusions of the FIAU report in no way suggest the existence of a suspicion nor the presence of money laundering," the bank said. 

It said it would be contesting the penalties and 'each and every finding' using all legal means for this purpose.

"While the Bank thanks its customers, shareholders and staff members for their continued loyalty and support it assures all stakeholders that it will continue to exercise strict adherence to all regulatory obligations and guidelines so as to ensure that it remains fully compliant at all times and this without the least exception," the bank said. 

The FIAU had found that the bank had breached five Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) provisions. In one case, it had failed to properly ascertain the source of funds of a client who was a politically exposed person. Inspectors also found three other files which lacked adequate information about the source of wealth. 

Inspectors also found that periodic reviews of many files were overdue and in its report the FIAU expressed concern that not all of the bank's documentation was centralised. 

Furthermore, they noted "serious shortcomings" in the way Lombard had scrutinised certain transactions taking place through the customers’ accounts.  

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