The TSB in New Zealand has agreed to pay NZ$3.85m (US$2.67m, €2.27m) in penalties after acknowledging a failure to comply with anti-money laundering rules.

The bank and the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank, this week presented the settlement for approval by the high court, five years after TSB was formally warned for risk assessment and compliance failures, online news service Stuff reported.

Richard May, for the Reserve Bank, said: “It was not suggested there has been actual financing of terrorism or money-laundering occurring”.

But the breaches were serious, because they concerned “the adequacy and effectiveness of the very processes by which an entity such as TSB is required to comply with the act and ensure it is complying …

“To put it another way, if these controls aren’t in place or aren’t operating effectively, then it could not have known if financing of terrorism or money-laundering was occurring.”

TSB lacked adequate procedures, processes and controls, failed to review its AML programme, and did not conduct a risk assessment of its real estate business as it was supposed to do, he said.

Emmeline Rushbrook for TSB said it did not set out to break the law, nor were the breaches condoned by its board. The bank had been working with the Reserve Bank for more than a year to understand the nature and extent of the breaches and try and resolve them appropriately.

Presiding judge, Justice Jillian Mallon, reserved her decision.

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