x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Dubai's financial watchdog censures Saxo Bank Dubai

Breaking News: The Dubai Financial Services Authority has censured Saxo Bank Dubai Limited for failing to comply with the financial centre's laws and anti-money laundering measures.

Saxo Bank Dubai Limited, a subsidiary of the Danish investment bank, has been "censured" by the regulator of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) for failing to adhere to rules to prevent money laundering.

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) said Saxo Bank failed to perform due diligence on clients and monitor transactions, among other breaches.

"These failings increased the risk of [Saxo Bank Dubai Limited]'s Dubai International Financial Centre's business being used for the purposes of money laundering," the regulator said in a statement. "However, the DFSA found no evidence of any money laundering having taken place."

The DFSA has been increasing its anti-money laundering measures and monitoring over the last year, as governments around the world put greater pressure on Iran to stop its uranium enrichment programme.

In August, the DFSA froze the assets of Persia International Bank's Dubai branch in response to tougher sanctions from the European Union. Persia International is 60 per cent owned by Bank Mellat, which is a state-owned Iranian bank.

Today's censure did not involve any financial penalty, but Saxo Bank Dubai has agreed to appoint advisers to improve its monitoring and registration of clients, amended its internal controls and will pay a "proportion of the DFSA's regulatory costs".

Saxo Bank said it was working closely with the DFSA to rectify shortcomings.

In a statement the bank said: "Saxo Bank Dubai Ltd regrets the situation and fully accepts its responsibility, but believes that it has always acted in good faith. The Bank finds it unsatisfactory that it unintentionally has not met the DFSA's conduct of business rules despite external legal counseling. Saxo Bank Dubai Ltd has promptly cooperated with the DFSA and put new processes in place which ensures that the Bank fully meets local demands, which is among the world's most strict."