US financial services company Western Union has agreed to pay a federal penalty of $586 million (€545.2 million) after admitting to clearing transactions related to illegal online gambling activities.
According to the Financial Times newspaper, Western Union allowed agents to send money to illicit internet gaming operations in Costa Rica, thus violating US laws regarding anti-money laundering.
Western Union pleaded guilty to the named violations, which included “aiding and abetting wire fraud”, as well as failure to maintain an effective campaign in regards to anti-money laundering activities.
The company has also agreed to have its financial transactions monitored by an independent compliance auditor over the next three years to help ease any lasting concerns over its business practices.
In recent years, the firm has admitted to processing thousands of transactions for a host of global fraud schemes, with online gambling the latest addition to this list.
Bill Chandler, chief communications officer at Western Union, told the Financial Times that the company has “worked hard to put these investigations behind us”.
As a result of the fine, Western Union anticipates losses of $570 million for the 12 months to December 31, 2016.