Maire Tecnimont Group subsidiary Tecnimont Arabia has sued NatWest Bank in the UK high court for failing to prevent “push payment” fraud.

In 2018, a hacked email account from the bank duped Tecnimont Arabia into transferring as much as $5m into a bank account held with NatWest.

Before the fraud took place, NatWest did not freeze the bank account although there was very little activity and did not involve such a huge amount of transactions.

Despite being prompted of two internal fraud alerts at its UK location, NatWest allowed the bank account owner to transfer the stolen amount into various bank accounts in different countries.

The funds dispersed out of the NatWest account has become untraceable and have not been recovered.

The lawsuit

The lawsuit by Maire Tecnimont alleges that this fraud was a breach of bank’s obligations under UK regulations against money laundering and terrorist financing.

As a result, the Italian engineering firm has sued the bank for $3.76m plus interest and costs.

This amount was still left in the account when the first fraud alarm was triggered.

The legal action is being fronted by Robert Wynn Jones and John Sendama as the representatives of Maire Tecnimont from Mishcon de Reya law firm.

Legal representative Robert Wynn Jones said: “Maire Tecnimont confirms it is suing NatWest over its lamentable failure to prevent a push-payment fraud through which the company lost millions of dollars.

“The sudden appearance of such a large sum of money originating overseas into an essentially dormant bank account should have rung alarm bells.

“NatWest is a systemically-important UK bank with millions of customers. If it doesn’t have adequate safeguards to protect people against this kind of confidence scam, that is concerning for everybody.”