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FINRA fines 2 BNP Paribas companies over AML program shortcomings

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority fined BNP Paribas Securities Corp. and unit BNP Paribas Prime Brokerage Inc. $15 million for failing to implement an anti-money-laundering program and failing to properly supervise penny stock deposits and resales, as well as wire transfers, over a four-year period.

The independent regulator found that from February 2013 to March 2017, the companies did not develop and implement a written AML program that could detect potentially suspicious transactions. Until 2016, the companies' AML program did not include any surveillance targeting potential suspicious transactions involving penny stocks, even though they accepted the deposit of about 31 billion shares of penny stocks, worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

As part of the settlement, FINRA also required the companies to certify within 90 days that their procedures are reasonably designed to achieve compliance in these areas.