Bank of Tokyo to pay US $315 million for illegal activities

Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ was involved in bank transactions that violated U.S. economic sanctions against several countries, including Iran, Sudan and Myanmar. It then misled US authorities about its wrongdoings and as a result the Japanese bank will have to pay New York state $315 million in fines.

Last June the Bank of Tokyo was faced with a $250 million fine for stripping information from bank wires that could have allowed authorities to monitor transactions across Iran, Burma and Myanmar from 2002 to 2007.

However, New York’s Department of Financial Services conducted an investigation that shed light on the bank’s illegal actions, including how it pressured its consultant PricewaterhouseCoopers into watering down and removing warnings to regulators in a whitewashed report the bank submitted regarding illicit behavior.

The report resulted in PWC having to pay the regulator $25 million in August and refrain from certain work in New York for two years after altering its findings – that it carried out because of pressure from Bank of Tokyo executives.

As part of the most recent accord, the Japanese bank will be relocating its U.S. sanctions compliance and anti-money laundering operations to New York.

DFS superintendent Benjamin Lawsky said in a statement:

“BTMU employees pressured PwC into watering down a supposedly objective report on the bank’s dealings with Iran and other sanctioned countries,”

Adding:

”We, as a regulatory community, must work aggressively to reform the cozy relationship between banks and consultants.”