Dubai’s Mashreqbank hit with $100 mln fine in US over Sudan sanctions

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New York financial regulators on Tuesday hit Dubai’s Mashreqbank with a $100 million fine due to transactions with Sudan that violated US sanctions, officials said.

The fine was one of several actions by US regulators requiring the bank to fix lapses in its processes to ensure its overseas branches comply with US sanctions.

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The breaches involved the bank’s London office handling payments through the US financial system without making clear they were going to a Sudanese entity, violating the 1997 sanctions Washington imposed on Khartoum for its support of terrorism, according to the documents.

The fine by the New York State Department of Financial Services “resolves the Department’s investigation in illegal and non-transparent payments related to Sudan that Mashreqbank processed through financial institutions in New York state, including Mashreqbank’s own New York branch, between 2005 and 2014.”

Between 2005 and 2009, the bank processed prohibited payments totaling more than $4 billion, according to federal and New York state authorities.

The bank’s “actions to circumvent those regulations were illegal and dangerous and will not be tolerated in an institution that has enjoyed the benefits of doing business in New York,” Acting DFS Superintendent Adrienne Harris said in a statement.

The Federal Reserve also took action against the bank, with a “cease and desist order” that requires the bank to present a plan to correct deficiencies in its operations.

The Fed said the order “requires Mashreqbank to implement an enhanced program to ensure global compliance with US sanctions administered by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.”

Meanwhile, OFAC found the bank in violation of the sanctions “in lieu of a civil monetary penalty” since the company agreed to make changes and has cooperated with the investigation.

Read more: Sudanese bank launches first green sukuk for renewable energy

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