SARB fines foreign exchange outlets for poor controls

Johannesburg – The South Africa Reserve Bank said on Friday it had fined five foreign exchange dealers for poor anti-money laundering controls aimed at combating criminal activities.

The outlets, known as authorised dealers in foreign exchange with limited authority (ADLAs) are licenced by the Reserve Bank to conduct limited foreign exchange services, including travel related transactions.

“The inspections found weaknesses in the control measures the ADLAs have in place to control anti-money laundering and combat the financing of terrorism,” the bank said in a statement.

Ayoba Foreign Exchange (Pty) Limited, Tourvest Financial Services (Pty) Limited trading as American Express Foreign Exchange Services, Imali Express (Pty) Limited, Forex World (Pty) Limited and Sikhona Forex were slapped with penalties ranging from R50 000 to R750 000.

The heaviest fine of R750 000 was imposed on American Express Foreign Exchange Services for failing to report cash transactions above R24 999.99 to the Financial Intelligence Centre, in terms of section 28 of the FIC

An amount of R250 000 of the penalty was suspended for 12 months on condition that the dealer was not found guilty of the same offence during the suspension period.

Some of the dealers were found to have failed to identify and verify clients’ details.

However, the Reserve Bank stated that the sanctions were “not imposed because the outlets were found to have facilitated transactions involving money laundering or the financing of terrorism but because of weaknesses in their control measures”.

In 2001, South Africa introduced the Financial Intelligence Centre Act which is aimed at detecting criminal and money laundering activities linked to financing of terror acts.

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