Lloyds freezes 8,000 Jersey offshore bank accounts
Lloyds Banking Group was forced to freeze about 8,000 offshore bank accounts in Jersey after pursuing ID authentication for three years, Jane Connolly writes.
The Financial Times reports that the lockdowns occurred at the end of 2018 in order to comply with the island’s money laundering rules.
The bank reportedly did not have specific concerns about the accounts in question but had to take action when the account holders ignored repeated requests for information, such as certified copies of identity documents.
According to the FT, the frozen accounts comprised less than 5% of the bank’s total expatriate accounts.
A Lloyds spokesperson says: “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.”
Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man have been facing increased scrutiny and have responded to recent criticism by agreeing to provide clearer information about company ownership in tax havens.
The Jersey Financial Services Commission recently concluded a year-long consultation with further proposed revisions to bolster its local anti-laundering requirements.