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Ukraine's Ukrsotsbank contests money laundering-related fine in court

JSC Ukrsotsbank filed an appeal with a district administrative court in Kiev against a 30.4 million Ukrainian hryvnia fine imposed on the lender by the Ukrainian central bank over financial monitoring irregularities, Financial Club reported.

The central bank imposed the fine in November 2018, arguing that Ukrsotsbank dispensed more than 1 billion hryvnia from accounts to customers without proper verification of their identity. The transactions, which the central bank believes had signs of money laundering, took place between May 2016 and September 2017.

The funds were transferred to the bank from accounts held by 80 legal entities in various banks and were further withdrawn from Ukrsotsbank by a group of 327 individuals and two legal entities, according to the report. Many of the individuals/entities were involved in criminal activities. In some cases, the funds were dispensed against fictitious ID documents or without any documents, the central bank was cited as saying.

Some of the transactions took place when Ukrsotsbank was owned by UniCredit SpA, Financial Club said. UniCredit sold its 99.9% stake in the bank to ABH Holdings SA in November 2016 and in exchange received a 9.9% stake in the company.

Uksrotsbank disagrees with the central bank's accusations, noting that the suspicious operations were identified independently by the lender before the regulator's inspection that resulted in the fine, and that the clients were denied service in most of the cases, Financial Club noted.

As of March 4, US$1 was equivalent to 26.91 Ukrainian hryvnia.