DFSA fines Mirabaud $3m for AML failings

The Middle East branch of Swiss wealth manager Mirabaud has been hit with a US$3 million fine by Dubai’s financial watchdog for its inadequate anti-money laundering (AML) systems.

The fine issued by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) refers to the period between June 2018 and October 2021.

It also includes a $975,000 disgorgement for the economic gains made in fees and commissions. However, the fine was reduced by $900,000 due to Mirabaud agreeing to settle.

According to the DFSA’s investigations, weaknesses in Mirabaud’s AML systems allowed it to process transactions from nine connected accounts managed by the same relationship manager, something which raised red flags for the regulator as evidence of potential money laundering.

“These weaknesses also meant that Mirabaud failed to identify and report suspicious transactions, including transactions stopped by its compliance department due to inadequate responses to its enquiries,” stated the regulator.

“[Mirabaud] also failed to revisit customer due diligence information it held about the interconnected customers when its accuracy and adequacy had been called into question,” it added.

Money laundering is a sensitive topic in the UAE currently, given that it was placed on the Financial Action Task Force’s so-called grey list for AML and counter-terrorist financing in March 2022.

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