Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank has been fined £25,000 for transferring the Jersey-based assets of a dead client abroad without necessary permissions.
The bank admitting one count of "intermeddling," an offence under the Jersey probate laws relating to the transfer of a deceased person's assets or estate without first having the lawful authority to do so.
The deceased client’s accounts totalled more than £10,000, so a Jersey Grant should have been applied for in the Royal Court of Jersey and then presented to the bank, with instructions as to where the funds were to be transferred, in advance of the money being paid out, according to Ogier partner Julie Melia.
Instead, a bank employee paid the money to a UAE account following a request from a UAE Court without first insisting that the Jersey Grant be obtained.
The case underlines the importance of following the correct procedures, Ms Melia said.
"This is a case where a major bank has had to pay a fine, and suffer the disruption of a criminal prosecution and sustain the associated reputational damage for not following the Jersey probate rules,” she said.
The Royal Court accepted that there had been no intention by the bank to deprive the heirs of the assets in this case or to evade Jersey stamp duty, but an administrative error still resulted in a criminal offence being committed.