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Wednesday, Dec 08, 2021

Robinhood Faces Likely AML Settlement, Says U.S. Demanded CEO's Phone Records

Robinhood Faces Likely AML Settlement, Says U.S. Demanded CEO's Phone Records

Robinhood Markets Inc., dogged by fines and regulatory scrutiny, revealed several new inquires from state and federal watchdogs as it seeks to sell shares in one of the year’s most anticipated public offerings.
Among the fresh disclosures made in its registration statement: U.S. prosecutors demanded access to Chief Executive Officer Vlad Tenev’s mobile phone, New York is poised to penalize the brokerage for alleged money-laundering lapses and brokerage regulators called it out for not reporting trades.

Robinhood has grown accustomed to such attention, having faced sanctions, probes and angry lawmakers as its evolved from a hot startup to a firm that’s become ubiquitous for its popular trading app.

The firm’s rapid growth has been fueled by the legions of customers it added during the Covid-19 pandemic and because it’s the go-to destination for investors who want to trade hot stocks like GameStop Corp. But those same factors are why Robinhood is in Washington’s crosshairs, and the firm cautioned potential shareholders Thursday that new rules and penalties could pose myriad risks to the company.

The firm estimates that it may end up paying at least $15 million to settle allegations from the New York Department of Financial Services that it didn’t do enough to prevent money laundering and cybersecurity breaches. Robinhood disclosed it has reached a preliminary settlement, which will require the company to appoint a monitor — setting up potential compliance headaches. The California Attorney General’s Office separately subpoenaed Robinhood in April, seeking documents about its trading platform and business operations.
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