BankAtlantic Bancorp Is Fined

It will shell out $10 million in a settlement over alleged money laundering.
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Florida-based

BankAtlantic Bancorp

(BBX) - Get Report

agreed to pay a $10 million fine to settle allegations it violated federal anti-money-laundering laws.

The bank said the settlement with federal prosecutors includes a deferred prosecution agreement, meaning the bank won't be charged with any wrongdoing if it improves its compliance procedures.

BankAtlantic, in a press release announcing the settlement, did not disclose the alleged violations. But prosecutors, in their own press release, said the violations stemmed from $50 million in "suspicious transactions" that occurred between July 1997 and April 2004.

Some of the bank transactions that drew the scrutiny of authorities included the movement of money identified as the proceeds from drug deals.

"Without the vigilance of banks, drug money can slip into the financial system, funding the drug trade and fueling the violence, corruption, and addiction that flow from illicit money,'' said federal Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator Karen Tandy.

The settlement also includes an agreement with bank regulators. The bank, which set aside money for a settlement in the fourth quarter of 2005, doesn't foresee any negative impact on earnings.

The settlement comes a week after BankAtlantic announced its Ryan Beck brokerage business would sell shares in an upcoming initial public offering.