- Dubai-based Mashreqbank has agreed to pay a $100 million fine to settle allegations it violated U.S. sanctions by illegally processing $4 billion in payments connected to Sudan between 2005 and 2009, and another $2.5 billion from 2009 to 2014, according to the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS).
- The Federal Reserve issued a cease-and-desist order against the bank for "having insufficient policies and procedures" to ensure compliance with U.S. sanctions, the central bank announced Tuesday.
- Mashreqbank will be required to provide a report on its anti-money laundering policies to the DFS.
Mashreqbank — Dubai's third-biggest bank, according to Bloomberg — oversees more than $44 billion in assets and counts at least 37 branches across the globe. It is licensed to operate in New York state, and its New York branch had roughly $1.5 billion in assets as of March, according to the DFS.
The U.S. designated Sudan a state sponsor of terrorism in 1993 and, four years later, President Bill Clinton imposed sanctions against the African nation's government for supporting terrorist groups, destabilizing neighbors and committing human rights violations.
The sanctions remained in full effect until 2017, and in limited effect until last year.
"The sanctions regulations exist to protect the national security of the United States, and Mashreq’s actions to circumvent those regulations were illegal and dangerous and will not be tolerated in an institution that has enjoyed the benefits of doing business in New York," said Adrienne Harris, the DFS's acting superintendent .
The New York regulator alleges Mashreqbank instructed its employees to omit certain details from SWIFT payment messages with other banks that could have linked the payments to Sudan.
Employees were required to record "Mashreqbank" as the ordering institution instead of the Sudanese institution, and put down "self" as the ordering customer instead of the Sudanese customer, according to the consent order, filed Oct. 26.
"Mashreq is committed to complying with all laws and regulations governing our industry and has been fully cooperating with its government regulators on this matter," a spokesperson for the bank told Bloomberg in an emailed statement.