Federal and state regulators slapped an Italian bank operating in New York with $1.3 billion in fines and penalties for laundering about $67.6 billion through the US financial system — in part by rigging its own computer systems to get around US sanctions laws.
Unicredit, which is the largest bank in Italy and has an office near Times Square, had its compliance group change its own anti-money laundering systems so that transactions from clients in Iran, Sudan, Cuba, Myanmar and Libya wouldn’t get reported to government regulators, according to a settlement agreement with the New York Department of Financial Services.
Bank employees were instructed not to use “any Iranian names” and to strip the names of Iranian sea vessels off a internal documents from 2002 to 2011, according to terms of the deal released Monday.
“We are facing serious pressure from the US to reduce/stop business …. We are walking a ‘fine line’ especially on the Iran issue,” one senior executive wrote to the CEO at the time, Alessandro Profumo, according to the consent agreement.
Also participating in the $1.3 billion settlement agreement is the Justice Department, the US Treasury, the Manhattan DA’s office, and the Federal Reserve in New York.