UPDATE 1-S.Africa fines top four banks over anti-money laundering controls

Wed Apr 16, 2014 4:42am EDT

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* Standard Bank, Nedbank say taking remedial measures

* Share prices largely unchanged (Adds bank reactions)

JOHANNESBURG, April 16 (Reuters) - South Africa's Reserve Bank said on Wednesday it had fined the country's top four banks a total of 125 million rand ($12 million) over lax anti-money laundering controls.

The central bank said in a statement it had fined the South African unit of Barclays Africa Group 10 million rand, FirstRand 30 million rand, Nedbank 25 million rand and market leader Standard Bank 60 million rand.

"The administrative sanctions are not an indication that the banks in question have in any way facilitated transactions involving money laundering and the financing of terrorism," the central bank said.

Standard Bank and Nedbank said they were taking remedial measures to strengthen their controls, in an industry that is already seen as well regulated.

South African banks largely avoided the credit crisis that hit other lenders, thanks to tight supervision by the Reserve Bank.

The banks' share prices shrugged off the news. Barclays Africa was up nearly 1 percent, compared with a 0.4 percent rise by Johannesburg's Top-40 index. FirsRand had shed only 0.4 percent at 0837 GMT. ($1 = 10.5563 South African Rand) (Reporting by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; editing by David Dolan)

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