FSA hands Aon record £5 million fine for financial crime failings

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LONDON - The UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) has fined Aon £5.25 million for anti-bribery and corruption systems and controls failings. The UK financial watchdog penalised the insurer and risk consultant for controls failings regarding "suspicious payments" to overseas firms and individuals. The penalty is the regulator's largest financial crime-related fine yet issued.

The charges relate to payments amounting to $7 million, made between January 14 and September 30, 2007. Aon failed to assess risks involved in payments to overseas clients and firms that helped the company win business, or to effectively mitigate those risks.

"The involvement of UK financial institutions in corrupt or potentially corrupt practices overseas undermines the integrity of the UK financial services sector," says Margaret Cole, director of FSA enforcement. "The FSA has an important role to play in the steps being taken by the UK to combat overseas bribery and corruption. We have worked closely with other law enforcement agencies in this case and will continue to take robust action focused on firms' systems and controls in this area."

The FSA highlighted Aon's co-operation with the investigation, earning the firm a 10% discount - going so far as to say Aon's proactive senior management efforts to uncover earlier failings were a model for industry best practices.

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