Following the stricter requirements of the new “know your customer” outlines, 8,000 offshore Jersey banking account has been closed after Lloyds requested proof of identity for three years.
The information that was required for the accounts included copies of certified identification documents. Following the freeze, Lloyds staff have been working 12 hours a day and extended hours on weekends to manage the issue. Lloyds commented “Over the last three years we have made multiple attempts to contact these customers, asking that they provide us with the necessary information”
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.
News of this comes as Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man come under scrutiny regarding accounts. The islands have agreed to present information that is clear about company ownership and tax havens.
This freeze of accounts comes at a time where banks are being pushed to carry out thorough due diligence on their customers after a string of scandals. To help in tackling money laundering the European Banking Authority have been granted greater powers to take action and ensure defences across the EU.
Last month $267m was recovered by authorities in accounts linked to the late Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha in an action that proved Jersey’s commitment to acting on money laundering crime.