Oppenheimer to pay £20m in penalties

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Wall Street broker Oppenheimer & Co. agreed on Tuesday to pay $20 million in penalties after parallel federal probes found its procedures to detect money laundering seriously lacking.

The New York Post reports that Oppenheimer aided and abetted the illegal activity of one if its customers, Bahamas-based Gibraltar Global Securities, by executing sales of billions of shares of penny stocks, according to its settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Gibraltar wasn’t licensed to do business in the US and Oppenheimer knew or recklessly turned a blind eye to the fact that it was trading on behalf of Gibraltar’s clients, the SEC claimed.

'Despite red flags suggesting that Oppenheimer’s customer’s stock sales were not exempt from registration, Oppenheimer nonetheless allowed unregistered sales to occur through its account, failing in its gatekeeper role,' Andrew Ceresney, the SEC’s head of enforcement, said in a statement.

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SEC hits Oppenheimer with $20M in penalties

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