The cross-party Treasury Committee has asked the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) why it took so long to prosecute NatWest Group PLC (LSE:NWG) for money-laundering offences relating to the police raid on Bradford-based jewellers Fowler Oldfield in September 2016.
NatWest pleaded guilty on 7 October to three counts of failing to properly monitor GBP365mln deposited into the account of the Bradford jeweller. The FCA said NatWest had failed to adhere to the requirements of anti-money laundering legislation in relation to Fowler Oldfield’s account between 7 November 2013 and 23 June 2016.
It is the first time a financial institution has faced criminal prosecution under anti-money laundering laws in the UK.
Mel Stride, MP and chair of the Treasury Committee, said he has written to the CEO of the FCA, Nikhil Rathi, seeking an explanation for why the prosecution took five years to come to a successful conclusion and to request further details on the case.
One of the questions raised in the letter is why the FCA decided not to prosecute any NatWest employees in the case.
NatWest will be sentenced on or before 8 December and could face a fine of up to GBP340mln.
NatWest shares were down 0.30% at 232.90p in early afternoon trade.