MEXICO CITY Jan 28 Wall Street's
industry-funded watchdog FINRA on Tuesday fined Mexican bank
Grupo Financiero Banorte $475,000 for inadequate
money-laundering controls and for failing to register certain
foreign workers who were bringing foreign money to the U.S.
A U.S. unit of Banorte, Mexico's No. 4 bank by
assets, opened an account for a customer with reported ties to a
drug cartel and did not "detect, investigate or report the
suspicious rapid movement of $28 million in and out of the
account," the FINRA statement said.
FINRA said it suspended Brian Anthony Simmons, the former
anti-money laundering and chief compliance officer of the bank's
U.S. unit, Banorte-Ixe Securities International.
The fine also reflected the bank's failure to register about
200 to 400 so-called "foreign finders" who get paid for bringing
non-U.S. business to the bank.
In a separate statement, Banorte said it recognizes that any
inadequacy is unacceptable. The bank "has improved its systems
to correct the points outlined by the regulator," it said.
Regulators worldwide are cracking down on money laundering
controls just over a year since HSBC paid a hefty $1.92
billion to settle U.S. charges that it allowed Mexican and
Colombian cartels to launder drugs proceeds.