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Lusa - Business News - Angola: Swiss regulator reprimands Carlos São Vicente's bank

Geneva, Sept.24,2020 (Lusa)- The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) said on Thursday that Syz Bank has violated anti-money laundering regulations "in a very important business relationship" with a client in Angola.

In the note, the Swiss financial market regulator explained that the case arose following an investigation against Syz Bank, which specialises in wealth management, in February to investigate information it received regarding possible violations of international anti-money laundering rules by a client who is not identified by the regulator, but who the Swiss specialised press says is the Angolan businessman Carlos São Vicente and adds that it was the bank itself that reported the case to the authorities.

"During the investigations, FINMA found that the bank did not make sufficient efforts to investigate the substantial growth of the client's assets" and that it did not address questions "that should have raised suspicions, even though the client is identified as having links to politically exposed persons (PEP) and the relationship is classified in this category.

The client's transactions, FINMA adds, "were sometimes in the tens of millions," but the bank did not clarify them.

"Due to these failures, FINMA reprimanded the bank for having failed in its duty of 'due diligence' in relation to the fight against money laundering; the anti-money laundering processes were inadequate in relation to the relationship with this client," adds the text consulted by Lusa.

At the same time, the note concludes, "FINMA recognises that the bank has fulfilled its statutory reporting obligations, which has allowed the criminal authorities to investigate this case and has taken several steps in response to this case in order to restore full compliance with the regulations.

Angolan businessman Carlos São Vicente was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of embezzlement and money laundering crimes, among others, according to a source from the Attorney General's Office (PGR).

Carlos São Vicente was heard on Tuesday for the second time for about seven hours at the National Directorate of Investigation and Penal Action (DNIAP) and was taken to Viana prison in Luanda.

At stake is an investigation involving a Carlos São Vicente bank account frozen in Switzerland on suspicions of money laundering with about $900 million, (€752 million), according to a Swiss blog that follows judicial matters in that country.

Angolan judicial authorities have ordered the seizure of several buildings of the AAA group, owned by Carlos São Vicente, which is being investigated in Switzerland for embezzlement and money laundering.

Angola's National Asset Recovery Service issued a statement announcing the seizure of the AAA buildings, the IU and IKA hotels, located across the country, and the IRCA building in Luanda.

The attorney general justified the seizure with evidence of embezzlement, economic participation in business, influence peddling and money laundering, crimes for which he was indicted about two weeks ago.

After the buildings, the National Asset Recovery Service announced the seizure of the 49% minority stake of AAA Ativos in Standard Bank Angola, where the businessman is a non-executive director, having requested the suspension of functions for the duration of the process.

The attorney general requested the freezing of accounts and seizure of assets of Irene Neto, daughter of the first Angolan President, Agostinho Neto and sent letters rogatory to Portugal and Luxembourg requesting the collaboration of the judicial authorities in these investigations.

The AAA, led by Carlos São Vicente, is one of the largest Angolan business groups, operating in the area of insurance and hospitality.



Agency : LUSA

Date : 2020-09-25 09:35:00


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