A defunct Bradford jeweller is reportedly at the heart of a £365m Natwest money laundering criminal case that is currently underway.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) this week made the very first case against a UK bank under money laundering regulations.
The case arises from the handling of funds deposited into accounts operated by a UK incorporated customer of NatWest.
The FCA did not publicly name the customer, but a Financial Times report identified it as Fowler Oldfield, a Bradford-based jewellery wholesaler that was shut down after a police investigation in 2016, according to a person briefed on the investigation.
It said the name of the jewellery firm was first reported by Bloomberg.
The FCA alleges that increasingly large cash deposits were made into the customer’s accounts.
It claims that around £365m was paid into the customer’s accounts, of which around £264m was in cash.
The regulator says that NatWest’s systems and controls failed to adequately monitor and scrutinise this activity.
The FT reported that a judge in a court case heard in 2019 said the 122-year-old gold dealer was involved in “an extremely sophisticated” money laundering operation, with up to £2m in cash being delivered to the business each day.
NatWest is scheduled to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 14 April 2021.
No individuals are being charged as part of these proceedings.