Spain Fines Bank of Africa €1.67mn for Bad Governance

The Spanish branch of Moroccan banking group Bank of Africa is facing a fine of €1.67 million imposed by the Bank of Spain.

In a statement issued on July 17, the regulator explained that these sanctions decided since September 2019 are the result of “serious infringements” committed by BMCE Bank International (BBI) and its managers. Indeed, the subsidiary is registered as an active financial institution in Spain but has headquarters in London and Paris.

For failing to comply with governance rules and breaching rules on executive compensation, Bank of Spain fined BBI €600,000. Another €300,000 will be paid by the banking group for defaults in the in-house control body.

The sanction would have been heavier without the application of a 40% reduction in the penalty, per the applicable law in Spain.

The Head of BBI’s office in Madrid received a fine of €450,000 with a ban on holding administrative or managerial positions in any credit institution or the financial sector for 2 years in Spain.

Several directors of the subsidiary were sanctioned, including Othman Benjelloun, the group’s Chairman and CEO, who is fined €44,000.

The Moroccan group, in a press release published on July 20, according to the local Moroccan press, deplored the untimely publication of a sanction which was pronounced in September 2019. It also indicated that its managers had admitted to having been misled by the former managing director of BBI Spain and had taken steps to remove him from the management of the subsidiary’s business.

Let’s however note that the information is being brought to public attention for the first time. In its FY 2019 annual financial report, BBI did not mention the sanction.

(Ecofin Agency) – Idriss Linge

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