Queens bank Coutts fined €8.75 million for deficient oversight

Coutts & Co of Britain, which is also the queen's bank, has been fined €8.75 million for failing to maintain effective controls on accounts of high-risk customers and to prevent money laundering.

The Financial Services Authority yesterday said that the failures were "serious, systemic and allowed to persist for almost three years."

Coutts, part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, specialises in private banking and wealth management and offers free current accounts to customers who invest at least €250,000. In 2011 Coutts reported an operating profit of €321 million.

According to the FSA, the institution, owned by taxpayer-backed Royal Bank of Scotland, failed to institute proper checks when it started relationships with high-risk customers, considered vulnerable to corruption.

The fine was the heaviest yet, by the FSA in connection with anti-money laundering issues, and was the second time Coutts had been fined in four months.

It was struck with a £6.3 million penalty in November for flouting regulations when offering risk advice to customers on the AIG Enhanced Variable Rate Fund.