The Central Bank has fined life assurance company Intesa Sanpaolo Life €1m and reprimanded it for four breaches of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering & Terrorist Financing) Act, 2010. 

At the time of the breaches, which Intesa admits, the company sold life assurance products in the Italian and Slovakian markets.

The Central Bank said it had identified "significant failures" in Intesa's controls, policies and procedures in respect of anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing.

It said the breaches occurred in July 2010 and continued on average for three years and 11 months.

Intesa is authorised to carry on life assurance business in Ireland and is the biggest "cross border" life insurer authorised by the Central Bank.

The company specialises in insurance contracts linked to investment funds and has about 400,000 customers. 

The Central Bank's head of Enforcement Investigations Brenda O'Neill said the bank has responsibility for monitoring and enforcing the compliance of life insurers based in Ireland.

She said this includes insurers, such as Intesa, which "passport" in order to operate in other EU member states on a freedom of services basis, without establishing branches in those other member states.

"This case, and the level of fine imposed, reinforces the requirement that firms in all sectors must adopt robust and effective policies and procedures to prevent and detect money laundering and terrorist financing," Ms O'Neill said. 

"Furthermore, firms must ensure such policies and procedures are updated in a timely manner in response to changing legal and regulatory requirements, emerging risks and evolving business models," she added.

This latest fine is the Central Bank's 110th settlement, bringing total fines imposed by the bank to over €61m since 2006.