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Ex-MLRO loses whistle-blowing claim against Coutts

Jan 07 2013 Martin Coyle, Compliance Complete

A money laundering reporting officer who blew the whistle on allegations of widespread money laundering involving Mexican drug cartels at U.S. bank Wachovia has lost an employment hearing against Coutts, the private banker. Martin Woods, former MLRO at U.S. bank Wachovia, lost a preliminary employment tribunal claim against the bank, part of the Royal Bank of Scotland, over a job it offered him in 2011 in its AML compliance unit. Woods, who is now the AML compliance officer at Thomson Reuters, claimed the bank withdrew its temporary job offer because senior Coutts managers had concerns about his whistle-blowing at Wachovia. He was claiming an unspecified amount from the bank which denied the allegations. At the London Central Employment Tribunal pre-hearing Woods' case was thrown out on legal grounds. Coutts claimed successfully that Woods could not be described as a "worker" under the Employment Rights Act 1996 because the job offer was conveyed through a recruitment agency to

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