RBC sets up team to scrutinize Panama data: CEO

Wed Apr 6, 2016 1:05pm EDT
 
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By Matt Scuffham

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) is reviewing its records after being named in leaked documents that appeared to show a Panamanian law firm's clients evaded taxes and laundered money, Chief Executive Officer Dave McKay said on Wednesday.

RBC, Canada's biggest bank, is one of several financial institutions named in data that emerged following an investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The bank and its subsidiaries were associated with 378 shell companies registered in the Mossack Fonseca law firm's data.

At the bank's annual meeting, McKay faced several questions from shareholders who were unhappy about the impact they felt the allegations had on the bank's reputation. One investor described the effect as "catastrophic".

“I am equally unhappy RBC has been dragged into this," McKay told reporters after the meeting.

McKay said RBC had not been accused of any illegality or wrongdoing and reiterated that it had controls in place to prevent illegal activity. He also said the bank had so far not been able yet to verify the data, which goes back decades.

"We don't have access to this data, this data goes back 40 years, we don't have understanding of this information and we have teams now going through our businesses trying to determine where the relationships may exist," he told reporters.

In a separate matter, McKay confirmed RBC was not the unnamed Canadian bank fined C$1.1 million by the country's financial intelligence agency on Wednesday for failing to report a suspicious transaction.

McKay also said he expected oil price gains since the beginning of the year to hold, addressing concerns about the effects of a longtime slump on the bank.   Continued...

 
A Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) logo is seen on Bay Street in the heart of the financial district in Toronto, January 22, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch