Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Bermuda fines trust provider over money laundering failures

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Trust and fiduciary services provider Estera has been hit with heavy penalties by the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) after it failed to address anti-money laundering issues in its internal processes.

The hefty fine of $500,000 (£400,000; €447,000) relates to the Jersey-headquartered firm’s failure to comply with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CTF) legislation in the British Overseas Territory.

The BMA had expressed concerns over the company’s practices back in 2016.

Not compliant

The regulator said: “The company was acquired from a group in January 2016 and is licensed to conduct trust business by the [BMA].

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“Following an on-site inspection conducted by the [BMA] in late 2016, a number of deficiencies in the company’s [AML/CTF] programme were identified. These were historic and pre-dated the acquisition. The [BMA] required these deficiencies to be rectified by 31 December 2017.

“The remediation was not, however, completed within that timeframe.”

However, Estera said that it has now addressed the issues the BMA identified. The firm said: “The fine relates to missing the deadline for the documentary remediation of historical client files. Our client records have now been fully updated and independently reviewed and Estera Services (Bermuda) Ltd can confirm the portfolio is compliant with regulatory requirements.

“Estera has invested significant capital and resources to implement enhanced client-related procedures to maintain the highest standards of compliance.”

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Estera’s previous owner, Appleby, was the victim of a cyber attack in January 2016, which leaked confidential information in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal shook the offshore world.

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