The accounts were frozen because clients didn’t respond to requests rather than specific concerns.
Lloyds Banking Group has reportedly frozen about 8,000 offshore banking accounts as part of a crackdown on money laundering, a move that comes three years after the UK-listed lender asked people to prove their identity.
The figure of 8,000 was given in a report by the Financial Times; although the bank did not comment or confirm that figure.
The bank is acting to enforce tougher KYC rules, at a time of heightened worries about money laundering in a number of European jurisdictions.
HSBC, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland have also tightened controls in Jersey, the FT reported, citing unnamed sources.
“In January 2016, we began to contact certain expatriate banking customers to ensure we were provided with up to date information for our records, where customer information was missing. This was required to meet international regulatory standards. Over the last three years we have made multiple attempts to contact these customers, asking that they provide us with the necessary information,” the bank said in a statement emailed to WealthBriefing.
“Unfortunately, where a customer has not provided us with this necessary information we have had to freeze their account until we get the information. This is also to protect the customer, as it prevents anybody else trying to use the account if the customer has stopped using it or has moved address,” it added.
This publication understands that the move was made after changes in Jersey’s Money Laundering Order. The accounts were frozen because clients didn’t respond to requests rather than specific concerns.