Federal bank regulators are preparing to impose fines on Riggs Bank as soon as this week for not reporting millions of dollars in suspicious transactions at its embassy banking division, and have notified bank officers and directors that they may be sanctioned individually, according to people familiar with the investigation.
Those notified include Chairman Robert L. Allbritton; his mother, Barbara B. Allbritton, a director; and the nine other members of the bank's board, according to the sources.
The penalties would come as the FBI, bank regulators and three congressional committees continue to delve into Riggs's international banking relationships, particularly its two-decade role as chief banker for the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington.
Investigators are looking at the Saudi accounts for evidence of money laundering, which is the use of complex transactions to hide the origin or destination of funds related to illegal activities such as drug smuggling or terrorist acts. The investigators have reached no conclusions about the reasons for the transactions in the embassy accounts, including the personal accounts of the Saudi ambassador, Prince Bandar bin Sultan.