Novum Bank, owned by a Dutch billionaire, has become the latest financial institution to be fined by Malta’s Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU).
Novum Bank was hit with a €89,000 fine and told to tighten up client checks, as the Maltese authorities continue with their tough, post-greylist approach to anti-money laundering (AML) deficiencies.
According to the FIAU, an inspection carried out in 2019 revealed that in one instance, Novum Bank failed to understand the reasoning behind a €16m transfer by one of its clients.
In addition, the AML supervisor further identified transactions ranging from €400,000 to €2m which it said had not been adequately scrutinised by the financial institution.
An outward payment of €16m also lacked supporting documentation explaining the parties’ motive behind the transaction, according to the regulator, who fined the institution during August.
The bank said that because of the limited volume of transactions conducted by corporate customers, it had sufficient knowledge for every single transaction that would be carried out.
However, the FIAU countered this, stating that independently of the volume of transactions processed, it is always important to monitor and understand the rationale behind transactions, even those backed by documented loan agreements.
This isn’t the bank’s first run in with the law. In 2018, Dutch regulators fined the bank, which launched in 2009, €1.75m for alleged licensing issues in connection with its operations in the Netherlands.
In addition, billionaire owner Marcel Boekhoorn was accused of financial crimes involving mafia links by Italian prosecutors in 2019.
Boekhoorn has denied the allegations.