Citigroup shuts Banamex USA, pays $140m in fines

GMT 03:53 2015 Thursday ,23 July

Arab Today, arab today Citigroup shuts Banamex USA, pays $140m in fines

Banamex USA
New York - AFP

Citigroup said Wednesday it will shut the US branch of its Mexican subsidiary Banamex and pay $140 million in fines for inadequate programs to combat money laundering.

Citigroup said it had opted to close Banamex USA after concluding it "has not been able to operate to the scale necessary to generate consistent quality earnings."

Operations of Banamex USA will be wound down "subject to a satisfactory liquidation plan," Citigroup, the fourth-largest US bank by assets, said in a statement.

The California Department of Business Oversight said the fines were needed because Banamex USA continued to engage in new violations of federal bank secrecy and money laundering rules.

Those failings flouted requirements under a 2012 consent order between Banamex USA and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the California agency.

"Banamex agreed three years ago to correct numerous weaknesses in its anti-money laundering program. It has failed to do so," said Jan Lynn Owen, commissioner of the California agency, in a separate statement.

"This new agreement holds Banamex appropriately accountable for its continued violations."

The move affects 300 workers in California and Texas. Banamex USA has assets just over $500 million and deposits of about $460 million, Citigroup said.

Citigroup said it was focused on working with affected employees to locate jobs "both inside and outside of Citi."

Citigroup has faced a number of probes over Banamex after it announced a charge of about $235 million in February 2014 due to uncovering "significant" fraud on the books of oil contractor Oceanografia after having lent it $585 million through a Banamex unit.

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