International

UK Banking Execs Arrested On Bribery Charges

Nigel Kirby, the deputy director of the National Crime Agency’s economic crime unit in the U.K., told a group of lawyers Monday (August 3) that the head of a London unit for a foreign bank has been arrested over bribery allegations.

Bloomberg, citing comments Nigel Kirby, deputy director of the National Crime Agency’s economic crime unit made during a speech, reported the official said the case has been referred to the prosecution following a seven-month investigation into potential corruption. Kirby noted that the bank’s customer relations manager in London was arrested as well. Kirby wouldn’t name the banker but said there are hundreds of finance professionals in London that could meet the description of the white-collar criminal. During the speech, Kirby said his agency was moving forward with new enforcement tools such as one that would require people to prove any asset that is worth more than $64,000 was acquired legitimately. It also vowed to bring more convictions on economic crimes.

The corruption case comes at a time when banks are facing calls to beef up thier systems to prevent scams and fraud. According to Bloomberg back in May, Megan Butler, director of supervision at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), said that banks have been wary of rolling out the latest technology to fight money laundering and fraud because they are afraid they will be punished by regulators if the new systems fail to identify any illegal activity. “Financial institutions are judged by the public on their ability to combat crime – not their spend doing it,” she said, according to the text of a speech she gave in London. Butler said the FCA is concerned with the outcomes of the investments, not how much the companies are spending. She noted that the banks next will need to use artificial intelligence, robotics, natural language processing and machine learning to identify potentially suspicious transactions.

Bloomberg, citing a survey from the FCA, noted that in a year’s time, banks turned away more than 1 million potential customers because of concerns over crime. The FCA found much of the financial lawbreaking to be happening online, with cybercrime accounting for close to half of U.K. crimes. The FCA said U.K. banks spend around $6.7 billion each year fighting financial crimes, which is more than the budget of its national prison system.

 

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